9 responses to “Post-Mastectomy Blues”

  1. Clare

    I’m guessing that you speak for most women when you write about the pain of “losing” your breasts. This is a very tough thing. It’s cancer, it’s major surgery, and it’s losing some of yourself. It’s OK to mourn. I just wish I lived closer so I could make us a couple of margaritas. Of course, I’d have to drink them both. But I would do that for you.

    Seriously, you are in my thoughts every day.

  2. Ellen

    I agree with Clare. You’ve had exactly 1 month to prepare for this (if “preparation” even is the right word), you are intensely aware of your body, and you just had major surgery. The truth is: you don’t *ever* have to move on, get over it, or be the “good” breast cancer patient, if the feelings don’t come.

    Lots of prayers and love from your other, now distant, neighbors

    E (and G by proxy)

  3. Mary

    hiya Catherine,

    Thanks for writing the complexity of your experience into the universe – my universe, to be very particular. There is so much that is conspiring to bathe you in a happy pink glow of Ra Ra cancer survivorhood. Actually, having the courage to fully appreciate the complexity of experiencing both cancer and the profound change that the bilateral mastectomy brings, is an astounding and breathtaking leap into the unknown. During my post-mastectomy very rocky road, and I don’t actually think there is a POST to Mastectomy, at all, I took a lot of comfort from reading what other smart and quirky women had to say. In particular, I got a lot out of Catherine Lord’s “The Summer of Her Baldness” http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Her-Baldness-Improvisation-Constructs/dp/0292702574
    So if you can take comfort in the love that so clearly surrounds you, then so be it. And on the days that you can’t, then so be it. Yoga, long walks, your cat, your friends, your new body – all will address you over the coming months. And in the anger, or the sadness, there will also be hope and joy.

  4. Suzanna Walters

    Sweetie – i think it would be a bit strange to be sunny and optimistic after major surgery and dealing with cancer. But then we Jews know better than to be sunny and optimistic. it’s a cliche but trust me when I say grieving is at once the most banal and universal experience and the most personal and idiosyncratic. there’s no way to do it but your own.

  5. Nan

    Oh by all means, cry! My heart aches for you, Catherine. I wish I could take away your blues… At the same time, I agree with the comments above: you have experienced a real loss… and grieving is an appropriate way to deal with that loss. I hope you give yourself lots of time and space to experience your own grief in your own way. Sending healing wishes and hugs your way. -Nan

  6. Andrew


    There is no analogy adequate enough to make me feel a) like I truly understand the complexity of emotion you must have felt the last month and b) like I have something witty to say. (I used it all up on postcards.)

    That said, Robert and I are thinking of you, your physical pain, your meditations on your body and identities, your temporary limitations imposed by recovery–and we both know that with all of those things, you still loom large in our long-distance relationship mirrors (uh…I guess I meant that you have lots of power or that you take up lots of space in our hearts…or something more eloquent…words escape me.–but five points for an automotive metaphor, no?).

    Just know we are thinking of you.

    Andrew and Robert

  7. Laine

    I, too, am often shocked by what is done to the human body in the service of “health.” Much of it feels barbaric and monstrous, and none of it seems connected to any true sense of healing. It’s almost like patients must first survive the disease and then survive the cure.

  8. Zak

    well, i’m catching up with old posts and just wanted to say: Hooray for pessism! We win.

  9. Zak

    …er, pessimism, that is.

    I should not have been over-optimistic about my late-night typing skills.

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