The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jodie Butt Headshot

Boys, Boobs and a Whole Lot of Honesty

Posted: Updated:
RIBBON
shutterstock

Recently someone told me that I had to keep writing and that I should keep being as honest as possible.

Whilst I wholeheartedly agreed, nodding repeatedly whilst sipping on my red wine, I was shamefully hiding the fact that sometimes it's hard to keep it up. Don't get me wrong there are days when I could talk about it non stop but then there are other days, more quiet, reflective days, when I just want to shut up. Put on my 'I'm fine' hat and just ignore stuff. But, as I've said before, the main problem with being such a loud mouth with a massive "oh crap, I'm overcoming breast cancer" banner and a pet C-Monkey in tow, is that when you want to be quiet... you kind of can't be.

The other thing that struck me was the word 'honest.' At the beginning I was brutally honest, there was a rawness to it all. I think this was partly because of the shock at everything that was happening, the cancer news, the appearance of C-Monkey, the mastectomy and the aftermath of it all. Back then I just couldn't stop blurting it all out, loudly, to anyone, in graphic detail... I look back at that now and know it was the right thing to do because it massively helped me at the time. It gave me an outlet at 4am in the morning when C-Monkey was doing cartwheels on my pillow and ripping up my bras. But now, well now lets just say I'm a bit more self aware. I know that people are reading this, that there are opinions being made, judgements even. The effect of that has meant that I've unwittingly started to self edit. I didn't mean to, but I am. I'm more cautious about what I write, even to some extent what I say to people. I don't want to offend anyone. I want my friends and family to continue to be proud of me and not be horrifically shocked or embarrassed by what I say or do - I think they've had enough of that with the TV appearance and boob cookies?! I'm also acutely aware that my nan will be reading this (hi nan, love you, promise I'll try to keep the swearing down!)

I shouldn't worry what people think of me but yes, I admit it, I actually do. It matters a lot. So maybe my writing, my brutal honestly has eased off somewhat, maybe I have been waiting until I can write positive things rather than just wailing "EVERYTHING IS STILL CRAP AND I AM SO TIRED OF IT!" whenever I want. Seriously though, who wants to hear that? I'd be bored of me. Wailing is not fun. So no there will be none of that. But maybe I should go back to being a bit more honest. Afterall when I first got the news all I did was frantically search for someone like me, someone I could talk to and although there were endless forums I just found them all so deeply depressing. I just couldn't engage with them.

There didn't seem to be anyone like me, someone who just wanted to life as normal as possible, didn't want to wallow but kind of was. Someone who could keep laughing at the crazy ridiculousness of it all, drink a little, cry a bit, talk about boys and jobs and how the hell anything would ever be the same?? I had a million questions from the stupid and inane to the serious and heavy, but just couldn't find anyone to help me answer them. So I started writing. Being honest.

So here I am giving myself an honest kick up the bum and starting over. Deep breath, and go... Ok, so, my next operation is now mid Feb. It'll be my fourth within a seven month period. Lots of people don't understand why I'm having another operation, my usual brush off response is that things just need to be sorted, things haven't quite gone as well as expected but that I'm fine, it'll be fine, I'm fine blah blah blah... yawn. That's probably what I'd be writing right now actually.

But the honest truth is, boobs are bloody complicated. There I was happily bouncing about before the whole C-Monkey accident thinking that boobs were nothing more than lovely big lumps of jigginess with bits on top. But no, they are seriously complicated things. This is something I have hugely underestimated.

I mean when I was little it was pretty easy to make boobs. All you needed was a few pairs of socks to stuff down your top, or anything that you could mould into two lumps... play dough worked quite well, as did sand, little boob shaped sand castles complete with shells for the naughty bits. You see, easy. In real life though, not so much.

So then the operation, numero four. The problem is this, essentially leftie is still a bit too small. This feels like a ridiculous admission given that I feel like I have a giant jelly tot stuffed in me, but he is. The skin has stretched even more and he needs to be made a bit bigger. There's also the problem of him... um how to say this... migrating away somewhat... You see this Leftie seems to a bit shy, he is rapidly making a bid for freedom and is trying to hide under my armpit whilst doing do. In short he's just sort of nudging me under my arm, which is really uncomfortable, and needs to be firmly put back in the right place. If he isn't sorted out god knows where he'd end up? Who wants a boob on their back, that is a scenario I'm not willing to even think about! So he needs to be made a little bit bigger and with the help of a few internal stitches (ouch) hopefully he'll stay put.

But it doesn't end there. This will actually be the first time I've had both done at the same time. Yeap even Righty isn't quite right, yet. Despite the lift and the little implant that's been put in, Righty is still... well, flagging somewhat. My own boob is quite literally, letting me down. (Sigh). So he'll be lifted a bit more and reshaped a bit too. The hope is that eventually, with a little bit more attention here and there, they will both match and I really will have the best boobs possible.

I say possible because they still won't be my boobs, not completely. That's still a hard pill to swallow. As much as I quite like the new perkiness and the way they've suddenly made me look a bit slimmer (oh yeah, random but true!) they still won't be my old boobs. I can't even say they'll be better because they probably won't. In truth, the real honest painful truth, is they wont. They will have scars and even after those fade they will still be a bit different. The reality is that I will always have one real and one fake. Actually I'll have one fake and one who's identity is a bit confused... half and half if you like. To the casual observer they won't look any different, if anything they'll look pretty perky and amazing, but I'll know the truth. I'll know what it took to get them.

On the plus side, one other life thing that's been suffering from all this has had a nice surprise. Boys. Now boys and boobs have had a love affair for as long as the world has existed. Boys are seemingly mesmerised by these two dangling things, the mere sight of them can bring joy into their life and make the world a better place.

This always proved to be quite handy for us girls. The hypnotic power of our greatest assets could get us out of most situations and in to lots of others too, if you know what I mean. And I loved mine. As I've said before I think they were my best feature. Anyway, one of the things that goes through your head when you hear you have cancer is how your love life will be affected. Well, it went through my mind anyway. As a thirty something single girl, this was a major concern. I mean, for a start I could rule out the next six-nine months at least! Love life officially cancelled. No Mr Right or any Mr Wrongs. Just me, alone, single and bored. Only C-Monkey to cuddle up to and he hates to cuddle, and he snores, badly.

But after that, well then what? What happens when life starts over? How would I tell someone I wanted to be with that I may have to do a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw for a while? How do you even start that conversation? For those of you who know SATC you'll know that Miss Bradshaw was a fan of the bra in the bedroom approach. Miranda, Sam and Charlotte regularly got their boobs out in many a sex scene, but not Carrie, she was a bra in bed kind of a girl all the way. So I decided a while ago that should the situation ever arise again (?!) I would adopt the Carrie way.

But in order to even give that a go I'd have to get my confidence back, get out there, find a boy to like me, then face telling him... then do the Carrie thing. I appreciate this all sounds very superficial and stupid, but when you haven't had 'fun' in a really long time (thanks C-Monkey) and you really do want to meet your Mr Right eventually, it does occupy an awful lot of your thinking space.

Recently I got to put the Carrie into action. I'm not quite ready to be that honest, just yet (hi again nan!). Suffice to say that the guy in question told me that not being able to have something, just makes you want it all the more. So maybe Carrie was on to something, sometimes it's ok to hide the goods away. It seems boys actually quite like it.

So if I could go back in time and relate some of this to the freaked out, frightened and totally confused me, the one frantically searching the internet at 4am in the morning searching for answers and just becoming a sobbing mess... I'd say this - No it won't be the same, they won't be the same, but that doesn't mean it will be awful. It's all down to you. You will find the strength to hold on to who you are, and that's what really matters. Keep writing, keep being honest, oh and keep a nice bra handy too ;0)

Honesty and boobs, who knew it could be so complicated!

Around the Web

Breast Cancer UK - Home

Breast Cancer Care | Information and support for anyone affected by ...

Breast cancer statistics : Cancer Research UK

Breast cancer (female) - NHS Choices

BBC - Health: Breast cancer

Breast cancer stem cells can be targeted to stop disease

World Cancer Day: Are we killing cancer?

Max Pemberton: Breast cancer is still a risky business

500000 women to be offered breast cancer drugs

Positive news on breast cancer surgery

An evening at Downing Street for Breast Cancer Campaign

Scientists 'put positive spin' on breast cancer studies