Yesterday I tried two approaches in the What (Not) to Wear experiment. We had the in-laws round for coffee (no bra, no softie, – no discernible discomfort on their part or mine. Good old in-laws). Then later we went to a barbecue with good friends – me in my bra and softie. Again, no discernible reaction from anybody – but I was uncomfortable. The pressure of the bra straps was sore after a few hours. Also, I was hoping that the fairly discreet top I was wearing would sit better – it had looked a bit off-centre when I was swinging free underneath – but it didn’t really. The softie did not fit too well on my chest because of temporary swelling that wasn’t present in the immediate post-op period. As a consequence, it felt bigger than my boob, and I wasn’t sure I had quite positioned it right. The fabric of my top still seemed a bit skewed to me, though I doubt anybody else noticed.
But, oh dear, the nasty things that emerge from within when I think ahead. My next clinic appointment to get histology results looms (Tuesday 3rd). This in itself has sent me down a bit emotionally: I think I associate the clinic with Bad Things. Unsurprising, since the two visits I have made there have been fairly horrid. I am not at this point really considering the worst news I might come home with (cancer in the lymph nodes, and therefore a recommendation of further surgery, radio, chemo –); I am bothered enough about the likely offer of hormone treatment. Firstly, how will They get it right, since I am neither clearly pre- or post -menopausal? Secondly, will they be able to offer me Tamoxifen, as I had that deep vein thrombosis in pregnancy? Does this mean I might have to settle for a second-best option? And thirdly, how bad are the side effects going to be?
And this is where my inner body fascism shows. I am certainly bothered about the possibility of nausea, body thermostat going haywire, etc. etc; but what I am most bothered about is the thought of getting FAT. Although I don’t regard any of my overweight friends as ill-disciplined, badly educated slobs who don’t know how to look after themselves, what emerges is that this is my view of fat people in general. And I might beat myself up with this stick if it happens to me. Just now, the idea of getting fat is more troubling than the fact that I have lost a breast; maybe since the latter might evoke sympathy and understanding, whereas the former doesn’t. At least not from myself.
I like being slight and on the small side – it is perhaps my main virtue (if that’s what it is), given that I am not beautiful in any classic sense. (And if you do comment on this post, please don’t give me the spiel about “inner beauty”, because I know all that). I am delighted that I am currently actually a bit thinner than daughter number two (who, like her older sister, looks terrific to me). I also don’t want to get over-preoccupied with food the way I did in my brief overweight period in my student years. The anxious binge/starve cycle is no fun at all. Good food is one of life’s chief pleasures.
Of course lots of women put on weight in their fifties,and I might have struggled with weight issues anyway, without all this cancer rubbish. But I will so resent being catapulted into it for my own good.
So much for my militancy about the shape of women’s bodies. Sorry, sisters. 5:2 diet, here we come —