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Apr 28 2007

R.I.P: dignity, shelf bras

shelfbras.jpg
Ripped mercilessly from their tankinis, these former over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders are destined to hang limp forever more.

It’s like this: as of last July, I ain’t got no boobs. So today I initiate what is certain to become an annual ritual: the Spring Shelf-Bra Slice-Out. I expect to complain about it every year, too, so don’t be surprised when, next April 28, I begin a post with the words “Fuck the fucking Spring Shelf-Bra Slice-Out.”

See, there’s a catch if you’ve had a double mastectomy and have declined to saddle yourself with “reconstructed” encumbrances that serve no purpose other than to mollify other people’s anxieties and consign you to wearing drag 24/7. As I discovered last year, a spinster aunt occupying my position on the contittynuum no longer has boobs to demurely hide from prurient eyes, but there remains, astonishingly and absurdly, the strongest of expectations that she cover up the blank spaces where those old boobs used to be. This is because the world will literally explode if the following two conflicting conditions are met: (a) a female appears in public topless, and (b) a female in public fails to produce mammary tissue upon inspection.

You see the catch? It’s not exactly a Catch-22; that catch comes later. This is more of a Catch-23. If you have mammary tissue, you have to cover it up. If you dn’t have mammary tissue, you’re obliged to get some, then cover it up. If you don’t get some, you still have to cover it up.

To put it another way: you have to hide it in order to prove that you have it. If you can’t prove that you have it, you have to prove that you’re willing to fake having it.

It goes without saying that if you won’t fake having it by hiding what isn’t, you must be shunned.

Here’s why I give a rat’s ass about Catch-23: Apparently the delicate trophy wives at my sister Tidy’s club pool absolutely go apeshit whenever someone walks amongst them who expresses insufficient interest in capitulating to the femininity mandate by offensively exhibiting a couple of mastectomy scars. So in order to go swimming with the nieces — this is the whole point of today’s tirade — I have to pay homage to the concept of boobage by covering up the blank spaces where my boobs used to be.

Last year this bullshit pissed me off so much I refused to go to that pool. This year, although the bigotry still offends me in no small way, I have reluctantly decided to sacrifice another chunk of my dignity and wear some sort of tankini top thing. You know, for the sake of the nieces whose lives are so immeasurably enbiggened by my company in and around bodies of water (and for the club burgers on Tidy’s tab).

But here’s the other catch, the Catch-22: I must cover up the non-boobs, but the garment that would accomplish this while preserving what’s left of my dignity does not exist! That is, nobody manufactures a swim suit made for the top half of a human body that does not presuppose the existence of gazongas. Everything’s got cups and elastic and darts and shit. All this extra material just hangs there, flapping in the breeze, billowing in the water, making me feel like a clown. No offense to clowns, but, you know, sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.

A Google search on ‘mastectomy swimwear’ produces results only for suits that accommodate prostheses. ‘Mastectomy swimwear’, see, doesn’t mean “no-boobs swimwear.” It means “swimwear that maintains, for the comfort of the entire community, the illusion that you never had a socially awkward deadly cancer, and could still turn dudes on if you wern’t so old and pruney.”

So today I’m cutting the shelf bras out of a few bathing suit tops that were made for women with boobs. The country club pool may succeed in getting me into a stupid-looking flappy spandex tank, but they can shove that breath-crushing elastic rib-cinch dealio up their entire ass. Fucking knobs.

And while I’m on the subject of swimwear, there can be no reason other than pornulation for any woman to put up with this crack-crawling bikini bottom crap.

Note: don’t bother writing in telling me to blow off Tidy’s club and just go au naturel at Barton Springs, where nobody gives a crap what you look like. That pool is effing cold!

112 comments

3 pings

  1. thebewilderness

    Cripes Twisty,
    They would probably send you to the freshly evacuated purgatory if you showed up in a tank top and boxers. Those bike shorts thingamys work pretty well too, but the chlorine gets ‘em. Cheese.

  2. Orange

    If you don’t mind (1) covering up your shoulders and skewing turtlenecky in your swim attire and (2) looking like you’ve lost your surfboard and your waves, there’s the rash guard shirt concept, though you’d have to buy a men’s shirt to avoid boobalicious seams.

    Shelf bras are evil for both the boobless and the large-boobed.

  3. zofia

    I saw a suit the other day in the Title 9 catalog w/o a shelf. It was in the reversible swim separates. Speedo makes girls suits up to size 16 w/o shelf. The topless thing pisses me off, too. My daughter happily swam topless until about six and then people started suddenly saying crap to me and my daughter was essentially shamed into putting a top onto her pre-pubescent chest. SICK,SICK, world. I think those hairy frickin men that look like Chewbacca should have to wear a shirt, and many of them need an underwire shelf more than I do.

  4. Orange

    (Omigod, I gave fashion advice to Twisty.)

  5. Perinteger

    Maybe one of those dry-weave athletic shirts in a man’s size? There are versions with and without arms.

    I’ve always thought that material’s better suited for swimmwear than the stuff most trunks are made of and the shirts are pretty functional.

  6. Rachel

    I’m a big fan of the braless swim-team-style swimsuit (mine’s tyr). I have boobs, but this suit lets me forget it while I’m swimming (as opposed to the annoying bikini tops or “normal” one-pieces that my boobs fall out of as soon I start trying to actually swim in them. Might be worth checking out.

  7. Pinko Punko

    Just get some of those locust thingies from the the wall there to release amongst the club, or maybe rent the invading millipede army. Step one, order burger, wait for it to be delivered, step 2, clear the joint with the aforementioned insectoidial menaces.

  8. Orange

    …Can those excised shelf bras be used as slingshots for pelting Trophy Wives Gone Apeshit with peeled grapes and/or willing locusts?

  9. MzNicky

    Twisty, my perception is that you are thin and thus culturally enabled to get away with wearing whatever you want, boobs or no. (Me, with no boobs but ample stomachness and waistness and thighs, etc., I feel compelled to insert prostheses into my bras and my “mastectomy swimwear,” which I don’t wear anyway because I don’t appear in front of people in swimwear anymore.) I think the suggestion of getting a young girl’s tank suit is a good one.

    Yes, it’s bullshit. Fuck all of ‘em. I hate my prosthetic-filled industrial-strength mastectomy brassiere, but I already feel like freak enough by being a 50-something breastless moderately overweight ex-babe, so there it is. Oh yeah, IBTP.

  10. Pinko Punko

    This post reminded me of a scene from the absurdist film “The Saddest Music in the World” where a character vows from then on to play piano only on his knees, declaring “no more dignity” as he flips the piano on its side.

  11. Laura

    Hi Twisty,
    Another possibility might be a dance leotard. Most of them have no support built in, and they look “swimsuit” enough to probably pass. They are usually quite comfortable as well.

  12. Rainbow Girl

    While your anger is understandable, wasn’t it partly worth it to see those housewives clutching their pearls in horror?

  13. Ms Kate

    The topless thing pisses me off, too. My daughter happily swam topless until about six and then people started suddenly saying crap to me and my daughter was essentially shamed into putting a top onto her pre-pubescent chest. SICK,SICK, world.

    Put her in a boy’s suit. That’s what one of my younger son’s friends did and it worked. She will draw looks, but drag works at that age. My older son is a boy, but he has long hair and is highly androgynous and people do double take (even though one would expect a board riding artsy duuuude to have long hair and board shorts. Cripes).

    As for covering up the non-boobage, Twisty, it might actually be a good idea. Some people’s scars burn like crazy – try your sun sensitivity at home before you try it elsewhere.

  14. Ms Kate

    I’m with orange – you could wear it as a jaunty scarf and then BLAMMO – cocktail olive incoming!

  15. lawbitch

    Twisty, celebrate the boobless wonder that you are! ;-)

    Because I am amazingly white, I wear a one piece Sting Ray suit that has long sleeves and goes down to my ankles. Zips up the front. No boobery contraptions of any kind! No need for sunscreen either.

  16. roamaround

    Drats Twisty, I was just thinking yesterday how this blog and my newfound rad fem consciousness has liberated me from my annual “swimsuit season” anxiety this year. If it’s not one damned thing it’s another.

  17. Ms Kate

    (Briefly imagines Twisty arriving at the posh junior league watering hole wearing an islamic swimsuit.)

    http://www.primomoda.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=202&osCsid=483ced890c5102a4178ffdc743d4ad53

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

  18. slythwolf

    I feel a strange need to offer to knit and/or crochet you something less ridiculous if you’d like.

  19. yankee transplant

    How is it possible that we have to cover up our breasts AND cover up where we don’t have ‘em? Total bullshit. You know who I blame.

  20. Older

    Twisty — when I swim, which is not often, I wear my underwear. Which is to say, I wear a pair of bikini underpants and a sleeveless undershirt of the type sometimes called a “wife-beater.” Both in bright colors, and if I can’t find ‘em, I make ‘em colorful. Purple, bright blue, bright green, scarlet, orange, purple.

    I have, by nature’s decree, very little boobage, so my case might not be all that different from yours.

    Except that, not living in Texas, I probably don’t experience such hot weather. Could be you’d feel over-dressed in my swimming costume.

  21. Antelope

    I can’t help thinking you should pad your suit with nerf balls or something equally ridiculous. Balloons, maybe.

    Doesn’t do much for comfort, but just maybe it makes the country club wives think a little about what they’re asking of you.

  22. Lene

    I was going to write some sort of well-thought out treatise, but am having trouble getting past three words writ large in (upon?) my brain: You’re Shitting Me????

  23. Ginger Mayerson

    What about racing suits? This site swears they don’t have shelf bras. What about something like this?

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/91543,18209_Zoot-Sports-Swimfit-Swimsuit-Racerback-For-Women.html

    They don’t mention shelf bras, so there might not be one. This was the only suit I thought looked okay. The rest were all floral patterns.

  24. Minerva

    “Contittynuum”. Priceless.

  25. goblinbee

    You could claim you are F to M transgender. My F to M friend has mastectomy scars and goes shirtless whenever he wants.

    –g

  26. kathy a

    i like the slingshot idea.

  27. Luckynkl

    I always wore a basketball shirt when I went swimming as I did a lot of diving, handstands and flips off the high board and had a tendency to dive and flip right out of my bathing suit. It also cut the ogling way down. It was a nice change of pace to have the mutants talk to my face instead of my boobs. I had to break it them slow. My boobs were not going to answer them back.

    I went shirtless until I was about 12 or 13. That’s about the time my teammates decided they’d rather kiss me than tackle me. My father sat me down and told me I had to start wearing a shirt and stop decking the boys for wanting to kiss me. I asked him how would he like it if his teammates tried to kiss him? He said, “That’s different.” I asked him why that was different? I didn’t want my teammates kissing me any more than he wanted his teammates kissing him. He said, but the boys would be called names if they didn’t try to kiss me. OIC, fuck me and what I want. The only thing that matters is that boys are not called names? WTF?

    The next time he asked me if I thought he was stupid, I didn’t answer him.

  28. larkspur

    I think you should buy a regular non-swimmy tank-top (except you probably have some already, so you don’t need to buy one) and then get two tiny, cute, adorable, light-weight plush baby puppies (you know, stuffed animals) and pin them to your frontal tank top area.

    Mmm, lessee. You could also do body paint: paint a halter top on your chest, complete with perky nipple outlines.

    Criminy. I wish to do violence.

    But I won’t. Because it’s wrong. And maybe they don’t care about hurting you (or me), but damn my stupid sensibilities: I don’t want to hurt them. Because it’s wrong.

  29. Jennifer

    Dear Twisty, I was going to suggest a yoga top, but I like the transgendered idea better. Whatever you decide I hope you and the Faster toddlers have a fantastic time.

  30. thinking girl

    mmmm, well, there are these things called “cami”s, which used to be called camisoles until someone decided to infantalize the whole thing, and these would likely do the trick and are cheapety cheap cheap and come in any colour you might like, and many are not cut to allow for boobs, which is actually a bit annoying to some of us who do have them becuase it ends up making them into midriff-baring camis when what I really want is something that will be long enough to tuck into my pants because I wear them under everything in the winter due the the fact that I am a coldblooded bitch.

    :)

    good luck. I feel for ya.

  31. Jacqueline

    By the way, I come here often. Despite the fact that you intimidate the hell out of me I was compelled to drop in and say thank you for posting this. You are among many really pissed off women with one or no breast.

    Someday, hopefully soon, when you google post-mastectomy clothes, bras and swim wear you’ll discover my Rhea Belle clothing line- renovated fashion designed to embrace dignity. If I were as crafty as I’d like to be I’d make you a kick ass bathing suit right now. I’ll be renovating a two-breast suit for my one-breast body and there will be NO subtleties about it. I’m preparing to post some new spring and summer designs soon. I am not a fashionista- merely someone who had to figure out a way to dress without compromising my dignity only to make folks around me more comfortable. I’ll keep you posted… if you’re interested. My thoughts on silicone.

    I’m sick sick sick of the implication that going without reconstruction or not using a prosthesis is the inferior, socially crippled alternative.

  32. Helen

    Twisty, “rashies” (the rash guard shirt which Orange referred to) are ubiquitous in Australia. That’s what I’d go for.

    Or, you could look for a suit similar to mine, which I bought from the Anti Cancer Council and which looks like a short-legged version of one of those black wetsuits that divers wear, but in a tough ribbed spandex with contrasting seams. I bought it because (1) it looked way cool and (2) I couldn’t be feckin’ bothered worrying if my luxuriant pubes were trimmed sufficiently for a “normal” swimsuit bottom.

    Both of these options have more Ultraviolet protection than a tank top of any kind, too.

    Zofia, I’d put your little girl in a rashie, too. They are worn by both girls and boys here in Oz.

  33. Saidey McAsidy

    Christ, what with all the open-mindedness and the pink-ribbons about breast cancer, and the freedom to talk about it openly, you would think that this would extend to it being “ok” for women who have had mastectomies to have the freedom to just go about their business without thinking they still have to be eye-candy, and that no one would bat an eyelid. You can even just about get away with no wig after the chemo.

    But dare to have no boobs?

    Suggestion – How about wearing a t-shirt which just says boob 1 and boob 2 in the appropriately anatomically correct places? Then in small print underneath a nice “fuck off with your fascist patriarchal visual expectations”? Then, hand out cards with the link to this page. Just a thought.

    And yes barton springs is freezing even in summer – went once and the only part of me that got wet was the tip of my big toe. And to think, with such a phobia about the cold I ended up in ye olde mother country.

  34. therealUK

    I hate standard women’s issue swimwear, so bought a tri-suit that I wear for swimming. It’s an all in one with short legs (thus avoiding the crack crawling problem) and doesn’t require any sort of boob to fill out the top. You can get “men’s” or “womens” depending on the overall shape required, or as separates. Very comfortable.

    Google images:

    http://tinyurl.com/2mta49

  35. Spit The Dummy

    If you don’t have mammary tissue, you’re obliged to get some, then cover it up. If you don’t get some, you still have to cover it up.

    To put it another way: you have to hide it in order to prove that you have it. If you can’t prove that you have it, you have to prove that you’re willing to fake having it.

    It goes without saying that if you won’t fake having it by hiding what isn’t, you must be shunned.

    Damn right. ‘Cause it’s not about the boobs at all, it’s about targeting you as one of those loathsome women creatures, the “other”, who are fair game in our society. Boob-specific clothing is, like all female drag IMO, the pink triangle or the star of David as far as the patriarchy is concerned. Which is why you won’t catch a male dead in anything tarnished with that worst of epithets: “feminine”.

    One of my first clear memories of feminist thought is when I was about 8 and it was very hot and my brother (a year younger) had his shirt off, so I took off mine. Then my mother passed by and had a fit and insisted I put mine back on. I remember arguing with her about why I had to put mine back on when it was all right for my brother to go shirtless. She gave me the whole “when you get older you’ll get breasts and women have to keep their breasts covered up blah blah” spiel but when I sensibly replied that I didn’t yet HAVE any breasts and looked exactly the same as my brother did chest-wise, she fell back on losing her temper and the old “because I said so!” parental stand-by.

    I still remember the feeling of scalding injustice I felt over that incident, even all these years later, so I feel for you, Twisty.

  36. Saidey McAsidy

    How about a nice tight t-shirt that says “I Heart Blamers Inc” ?

  37. Flash

    Saw a photo of a mastectomy scar with a rose tattoo on it, sort of climbing up the scar. Nice. Haven’t summoned the courage to have one myself.

    I frequently go unsymmetrically prosthesis-less, in T-shirts, etc., but no one seems to notice because I’ve always been flat-chested. Would like people to notice as it’s my gesture of defiance against boob-obsession.

  38. Mwezzi

    If you feel like improvising without ordering off the web, you could get a ‘tankini’ with a shorts-type lower half and switch the top for a regular vest. I’m personally small enough to not wear a bra and am fairly flat-looking, and I can usually find some inexpensive cotton-or-otherwise tank tops that don’t presuppose a minimum of a c-cup. However, I’m from across the pond, where we have Primark to provide all our cheap-and-shapeless needs. I’m not well versed in particular clothing availabilities in Austin.
    Good luck! May you someday find a warmer free-thinking pool to bob about in.

  39. RadFemHedonist

    I remember being told to cover up as a child, something about people seeing me in the gardens from higher levels. A) I shouldn’t have to cover up at any age and B) what, did they thing that pedos only attack the shirtless children, for crap’s sake, all I wanted to do was lie in the garden on a hot day under a tree, I hated being told my 9 year old chest couldn’t show.

  40. H

    Oh, the masectomy scars TERRIFY the Trophy Wifeys who no doubt all rather hypocritically sport ‘appropriate’ pink ribbons when not at the poolside. It’s too much of a reminder that they could easily end up the same way and then they’d lose not only their entire identity, which is predicated on being more pornilicious-than-thou but also their place in the trophy cabinet.

    As for swimwear – I haven’t bothered with proper swimwear for years – not since being on various beaches in Asia and seeing all the local women AND men wear t-shirts, shorts, sarongs etc to play in the water in. Once I tried a tank top (sans shelf bra) and men’s swim shorts in the water, I never bothered with the pornifying bikini crap again. What also helped was being told about the ‘White Meat Tours’ local men refer to – the ‘white meat’ in question being the tourists in their revealing swimwear on the locals’ beaches. Nowadays I cover up and feel less like a particpant in some unofficial beauty contest than someone just going for a swim.

  41. Rayne of Terror

    I suggest swim team suits. They don’t have shelf bras and don’t go up your ass. Be sure to look for a practice suit and not a “paper” suit for competitive racing.

  42. LMYC

    Speedo suits are the best. I can’t swim a stroke, but they work fine for me — tight as hell upstairs, and I can get a two-piece since one-pieces are always too short for me.

    No ruffles, no gingham checks, no lace (LACE!), no pink crap, no bullshit. Just some thick spandex to keep the sun off the stuff I dont’ want to get burned anyhow.

  43. bitchphd

    Twisty, if you didn’t hate children you’d have realized this catch-23 a long time ago. Have you never seen the three year olds wearing bikini tops or one-piece suits, or heard an adult tell a six-year old girl that she can’t take off her shirt the way all the boys are because girls don’t do that?

    Re. swim suit, board shorts tank top or tshirt. Fuck this “tankini” nonsense. The one saving grace is that wearing a shirt of some sort helps guard against sunburn.

  44. zofia

    If you choose not to sport prosthetics, where pray tell is a man supposed to rest his gaze when conversing with you?

  45. Kristina

    I am writing to add to the chorus who suggest swim suits, particularly Speedo and Tyr. After getting a Speedo, I have never returned to that horrifying crap that regular stores try to pass off as “swimwear.”

    I also recommend that that you buy on Amazon- you will pay about half of what you would in a specialty sports shop or direct from the manufacturer for the same freaking suit. Take a gander at “racer backs”- it may give you a strange tan line, but it snugly holds the top in place. For non-ass-crack-creeping (a personal pet peeve), look for “full-cut bottoms”.

  46. Kelda

    I stand by my previous suggestion of nipple tassles, and at least three or more of them.

    I am held hostage by swimming cossie manufacturers more than most, being of a non-standard height, so I have in my possession a pink tankini. Blech. However, it does not have a shelf! Were it not for the fact that it’s in a size 20 (I think that’s a US 18?) I would send it you. You may meditate on the fact that I can only get an unshelved tankini for my D boobs, and you can only get shelved ones for booblessness.

    Nth-ing speedos.

  47. clew

    Perhaps a T-shirt printed with Comedy and Tragedy masks.

  48. Kristina

    You may meditate on the fact that I can only get an unshelved tankini for my D boobs, and you can only get shelved ones for booblessness.

    Oh my Lard, that is so true.

  49. RadFemHedonist

    When has Twisty ever indicated that she hates children, she has written eloquently and repeatedly on the ending of their oppression.

  50. bitchphd

    Btw, I love the title’s implication that somehow dignity has something to do with shelf bras. Hehehe.

    RadFem, she hasn’t indicated she hates children. She has indicated she has a sense of humor, though.

  51. Octogalore

    what about something like this? http://www.speedousa.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.detail/categoryID/fe6908a1-e13d-46fb-b4d5-09ed8a45fa66/productID/feb25562-10d1-4cf1-9cf9-9deb57ffec24/ It’s for triathletes and doesn’t absorb a lot of water so it’s practical and good for warm temps.

    Adding another amen to the ridiculousness of little girls in bikini tops. Another perspective though — having been a “geek,” a different religion from many in my school, given different foods, etc., and therefore a target, I will probably keep my daughter in a compromise comfortable speedo-type one-piecer unless she specifically requests otherwise. Children can be cruel, and I’d rather have her make the decision about whether to open herself up to that. I think many of the parents who dress their daughters in boob-coverage before it’s needed probably feel similarly.

  52. femhist

    I was about to make some suggestions, but I see that about 50-odd people beat me to it. I also have a rather snug-fitting shelfless red tank top that is fairly quick-drying that I could send you if you liked. I’ve swum in it when I didn’t have a bathing suit handy, and it worked quite well. Doesn’t turn see-through, stays in place, isn’t constricting. Made of synthetic material. Email me if you want it; I don’t wear it much anymore (it’s a little *too* snug for me at present, and based on your pics, I’m guessing it would fit you just about right).

  53. femhist

    RadFemHedonist, I venture to guess that BitchPhD was being ironic about the children-hating thing, though I hesitate to put words in her mouth.

  54. rainie

    I love to swim. I love the feeling of bouyancy. I love the feeling of moving through the water. Sidestroke and any stroke that I can do on my back feel just glorious.

    I hate swimsuits. I hate how on display I feel in a swimsuit. I hate how judged by my appearance I feel in a swimsuit. I hate the hideous ordeal of trying to find the least demeaning, least unflattering suit. Looser, longer, whatever don’t change it all that much.

    I am not happy with myself for feeling the judgement so keenly and letting it keep me from swimming.

  55. ew_nc

    I have another suggestion for using the discarded shelf bras. Simply attach a small wooden dowel at each end, forming a hammock-like contraption. Perfect for carrying your tacos out to the pool, and it’s washable.
    Yours sincerely,
    ew_nc, the Anti-Martha

  56. annaham

    Hey Twisty, how about spelling out “FUCK OFF” on your chest with, say, black electrical tape? It’ll cover up the scars *and* send the right message!

  57. SyntheticGenius

    I have been blessed with a low level of boobage so I have some experience with the unwanted shelf-bra (it cuts in, doesn’t it?sheesh…) I find that speedo and nike make racerback suits with just liners and no shelf. I also enjoy my wetsuit and rashguard (it’s a lycra shirt to keep you from getting cut up if sand gets in your wetsuit. Get the guy’s cuts and you can avoid the girl-shapedness. I get the guys ones because in place of boobs I have enormously broad shoulders. Underarmour makes nift compression shirts that are also comfy and breathable. However, don’t expect a long life iuf you’re swimming in chlorinated pools. Though I vote you just eff em all and go topless. If I chest was totally flat (as it should have been) I wouldn’t wear a freakin shirt.

  58. Ms Kate

    Oh, the masectomy scars TERRIFY the Trophy Wifeys who no doubt all rather hypocritically sport ‘appropriate’ pink ribbons when not at the poolside.

    Tie a long pink ribbon
    ’round the ol’ Twisty
    She has no boobs
    Hey, wanna see?

    In other words, she could just tie a pink ribbon (or glue the loops) where she once had what she hadn’t got. Yes, that would be one pink ribbon that would raise lots of awareness of breast cancer

  59. Jezebella

    I just noticed those EFFIN HUGE bugs framed behind the shelf bras. What the hell is that? Giant alien flying cock-a-roaches or what?

  60. mearl

    I would do a coconut bra with hammer pants.

  61. denTaTa

    much as I love all the fun suggestions for what to attach to a shirt of some kind, must say that my first thought in honour of the absolute necessity of displaying at least the pretense of swimwear-visible gender markers was: how about a couple of pinned-on yellow stars?

  62. RadFemHedonist

    Sorry, on this occasion it was tough to tell. Also I am quite annoyed at the whole “childless person must hate kids” meme, plus the people who find it funny to actually say horrible things about children, the worst I’ve seen is every conservative site I’ve been on and Ruthless Reviews, which is appallingly vicious crap. I am 18 and Twisty is kind of my ally in this whole not treating kids as less than people thing, I started reading this when I was 17 and it really helps.

  63. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Mearl, I think we should pick a day and all wear the coconut bra and hammer pants as a show of solidarity.

    Your boobulousness or lack thereof matters not; you will be routinely humiliated anyway. It matters not whether you are a rail-thin sexbot with a purchased pair of 40 DDs or if you’re a dumpy forty-something who comes by ‘em naturally — you will be made to feel as if THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU. You will be hooted and howled at (by males) and whispered and snickered at (by fellow females) regardless. Whether you’re wearing an underwire push-up contraption that hoists ‘em up under your chin or an odious, iron maiden of a “minimizer”, there is somehow something wrong with your body, and you must buy something (preferably pink, pricey, and lace-encrusted) to grant you the illusion of acceptability, which is a complete falsehood (there will never NOT be something wrong with your body), but still.

  64. kris

    So very glad I found you (through walternatives). I’d like to add you to my fave blogs,if that’s okay with you.

    First, absolutely refreshing to read you- you have serious talent in the realm of writing, and I’m kinda picky about that frankly. I’m a reader, what can I say.

    Second, you have the chance to make some serious money here woman. CREATE your own mastectomy swimwear!! Not kidding.
    I am an oncology nurse and have so many patients that decide to opt out of reconstruction. For damn good reason.

    Anyhoo… back to do some more reading.

  65. habe

    For some reason this post has me humming that Black Eyed Peas atrocity “My Humps” in the most tragically ironic way.

    For what is a woman without “lovely lady lumps”? How else can she get men spendin’ all their money on her?

  66. Joolya

    Twisty, have you thought about a tankini type top from the kids’ or juniors’ department? They’d be a damn sight cheaper than ladies’ swimwear, too. (Seriously, $50 for two triangles of cloth and a piece of string?)

  67. julia

    up here in canada where we live in igloos and eat cariboo, i played ice hockey with a woman who had had a double mastectomy. she didn’t hide her scars, talked about them, we asked questions, and it is my impression that all the other women in the room were damn proud of her for being ‘out’ and open about her fight against cancer. twisty, you and your nieces should move to canada and take up hockey as obviously the crowd up north is more accepting!

  68. CLD

    I refuse to wear bikinis or even just the stupid bottoms; I do not enjoy having to pull elastic out of my butt crack every time I move. I wear surfer trunks. And although I do have mammary glands, they are not indicative enough of boobage to fill anything out, so I usually opt for a sports bra instead.

    If those in the pool area/beach/wherever don’t think I’m representative enough of the female gender, they can kiss my big white ass, which I will gladly display for them by bending over and removing my surfer shorts.

  69. Tricia

    I realize that the following offer is really just a way to help you to the Catch-23 demands of the patriarchy, but it’s meant with kindness and appreciation for everything you’ve done for me:

    I have a bunch of navy-blue swimsuit fabric leftover from another project, and I’d be happy to make you something shelf bra-less. Contact me at the email above to let me know your specs (measurements, style, etc). Or, if you don’t want navy-blue, I also have some burgundy-pinky stuff.

  70. Bird

    I also highly recommend a racing-style swimsuit. As well as being bra-less, they also stay under your butt cheeks where they belong. You could also try triathlon clothes. You can get triathlon shorts that are meant for swimming in too if you prefer to have two pieces. Even most of the women’s stuff doesn’t have shelf bras. The tops are compression-style. Many elite women athletes have very little up top, so there’s more stuff out there for the non-stacked woman in serious sports clothing. It’s larger-breasted women who often have problems getting the right fit.

    There is one thing that pisses me off about trying to buy athletic clothes for women. I would really like a pair of shorts to wear under my taekwondo uniform that doesn’t crawl up my butt every time I kick. I found one pair of dry-fit bikram yoga shorts at a yoga store once that worked, but they don’t carry them in white anymore, and dark colours are just a bad idea under a white dobok. What I need is some white bike shorts or something like that. Otherwise, not only do I get a wedgie, but my “Jill” (what the women at my dojang have started calling our cups instead of “jocks”) is really uncomfortable without something to protect my inner thighs. I’ve considered buying some of those tight men’s boxer-briefs, but I don’t like the fabric.

  71. Celeste

    Tube top one size too small.

  72. buggle

    I wear men’s swim trunks-they are super comfortable, and usually a whole lot cheaper than women’s suits. I used to wear a bikini top, but I am so pale white, and I burn really easily. So, I bought a tank top that I thought would dry fast- an athletic tank. It worked pretty well, although I think it shrank in the pool. I was very comfortable, nothing going up my butt crack, no worries about anything popping out of my top, much less messy sunscreen, too. I can’t believe it took me so long to find a swimsuit that I feel ok in. Used to be, when I went to the beach, I felt so on display and basically naked.

    Also, I think the men’s trunks are much more healthy for us women, interestingly. They dry much faster than a bikini-type bottom, and there is lots of air circulating, so no yeast infections or anything, from sitting in a wet suit.

    The other nice thing about wearing shorts and a top, is that you don’t need a coverup. You can go straight from the beach to a restaurant without needing to change. Men have it so easy.

  73. Johanna

    Thanks for the inspiration, people. I will now ditch my illfitting mini bikini and buy me a par of man-shorts. No more “bikini line” worries!

  74. La BellaDonna

    Apologies to anyone who’s suggested the below; I’ll read all the comments later.

    How about: a tank top with:

    A pair of crossed bandaids over the left and right side;
    A pair of Nerf balls stitched on;
    A tank top with a pair of bare breasts silkscreened on the front.

    I do recommend some kind of sun cover; burning the scars would be very, very painful. My own preference is for one of those ankle-to-neck diver’s suits. Sun bad!

  75. La BellaDonna

    And sorry, I have in fact read all the comments. And the faqs. But I don’t understand why Twisty cannot, in fact, wear shorts and a tank top, if that’s her preference.

    A tank top with a freakin’ pink ribbon bow pinned over each side.

  76. A Girl Gone Mad

    It brings to mind the quote from that glorious movie “Saved.”

    “God, Roland! Why do you have to make people feel so bad about your ‘differently-abledness’?”

    The mind boggles.

  77. pocketina

    This is a topic I’m confronting myself, as a new member of the boobless-n-unreconstructed gang…after checking out Speedo, I have to think that the rashguard top will coordinate nicely with my new lymphedema sleeves, so whoopee for me, I guess. Stylin!

    Twisty, thanks for this post, but I’d appreciate a warning when you’re planning to be THIS funny, as it’s hard to conceal the effects of it at work.

  78. goblinbee

    bird: “they also stay under your butt cheeks where they belong.”

    Nothing belongs under anyone’s butt cheeks.

    I wear board shorts bought at thrift stores (went pure thrift store several years back). They feel so good and dry so fast! And only cost a couple bucks so I don’t mind when they bleach out. I wear various things on top. I like support, so something snug or with a shelf feels good to me.

  79. legallyblondeez

    I wear a rash guard and board shorts whenever possible, to protect me from that burning ball radiating cancerous particles toward the Earth (substituting an un-shelved speedo and SPF infinity when attempting to exercise). I am prevented by my current breasted state from wearing the men’s cuts comfortably, so they’d likely be about right for you.

    Though now the shelves have been expatriated from their tankini homes, I like the slingshot suggestions. It’d be especially fun if you were wearing the corresponding tankini while pelting someone.

  80. Bird

    goblinbee, if you’re swimming laps for fitness, you really don’t want board shorts, or at least I don’t. Board shorts get all tangled up and cause drag (as in resistance, not dressing like the other gender). Even guys who do that sort of swimming tend to wear brief-style suits (Speedos and the like). My options become a racing suit or triathlon shorts at that point, and either one is clingy and tends to cover the butt but not much lower. As someone who swam competitively in high school, I see nothing wrong with a sport swimsuit that comes down to the top of the legs and stays put. That’s not about sexy; that’s about practicality.

    I also run in a fitted tank w/built-in sports bra and running tights or shorts because that’s the most comfortable thing. Look at the clothing of the average distance runner, male or female. We don’t tend to wear a lot, and it’s generally not baggy (mostly because of chafing issues). Short-shorts and tanks/sport bras are fairly common attire in hot weather, with more layers added as conditions get colder (I wear a lot more when I run in a Canadian January).

    I see no reason to have someone’s idea of appropriate feminist attire interfere with my athletic performance. It’s a racing swimsuit constructed that way for a reason, not a bikini and heels. I’m not allowing the possibility of being too “sexy” make me stop doing something that just makes sense. I see it as sort of like Twisty choosing to wear floaty skirts/dresses in hot weather. It’s not about being girly; it’s about being practical.

  81. MzNicky

    “Trophy Wifeys”?
    Dumpy forty-something”?

    WTF?
    IBTP.

  82. goblinbee

    Bird,

    But of course; this all makes perfect sense.

    I’m not an athlete and I have no idea what appropriate feminist attire is. Nor do I worry much about it.

    But I do like absolute statements now and then.

    Lamely,

    g

  83. Edith

    I don’t really know why, except that I’m self-centered, but this immediately reminded me of some of the responses I got when I shaved my head. Unfortunately, I did it around the same time Britney Spears did, so the comparisons were inevitable perhaps. I got a lot of, “I think shaving your head is a form of SELF-MUTILATION.” To which I was like, I’m mutilated with no hair? Let me get this straight, if I cut off some aspect of my femininity, I’m MUTILATING myself? These are the same people who use phrases like “letting yourself go” and “packing on the pounds to hide your body in your depression” or however that one goes. God forbid I be fat with no hair. If I were fat with no hair and NO BOOBS I do believe I’d be locked up.

  84. Bird

    When I shaved my head, I was really skinny (poverty combined with physical labour is a shitty diet plan). Strangers in public kept patting my hand and telling me to keep up the fight, you poor dear.

    If I had really been a cancer patient, I think I would have punched someone. Why the hell can’t people stay out of strangers’ private lives? But I also don’t like those people who like to touch your arm while they talk to you despite the fact that you don’t know them from a hole in the ground.

    Well, there were also the ones who decided I must be a lesbian (because all bald chicks are dykes, dontcha know?) and fired homophobic hate speech at me instead. Also deserving of a good punch in the nose, in my opinion. The worst thing was that the hate speech primarily came from other women.

    You know who I blame.

  85. Edith

    Oh, and I wear bike shorts with a tank suit.

  86. Orange

    Looking on the bright side, any afternoon spent at the pool with the nieces is an afternoon not spent watching Happy Feet with the nieces. Would you believe fembot penguins? The ones named Norma Jean and Gloria have boobs. And their black/white plumage pattern provides an hourglass-figure effect that is lacking from the male penguin toons. If that is not abjectly horrifying enough, the penguin sexbots also have arched backs and pertly protruding asses–even though they’re penguins, and as such should lack cleavage, a nipped-in waist, and the stance of a woman in high heels.

  87. Composite Creature

    From the opposite end of the boobage spectrum, I can empathize, to an extent. For some reason, swimsuit manufacturers aren’t aware of the existence of breasts larger than a D-cup. Forget about bathing suits you can actually swim in, without flashing everyone around you (athletic-type swimwear doesn’t like large-breasted women either).

  88. Ginger

    Twisty, it sucks that non-blamers are always projecting their own issues about sexuality and gender onto other people. You should be able to wear your survival scars with pride!

    In the meantime, if you’re looking for an alternative that will help you avoid “OMG SHE HAS NO BOOBS AND SHE’S TOPLESS!!!” type staring, may I suggest a Gilligan & O’Malley microfiber spaghetti strap tank from Target? They’re quite comfy, come in a variety of colors, are cheap (under $10) and can pass for a tankini with the bottom of your choice. All the best.

  89. kcb

    I get all my gear from Lands’ End since I’m not a serious swimmer and hate trying on suits at the store. Their women’s section has nothing without a bra, but the girls’ section has some rash-guard tees with no bra (including some nifty tie-dyes if you scroll through the color selections). Their largest big girls’ size is a bit large for me, and I’m bigger than you if I recall correctly so they should have something that fits, if you can get past the florals.

  90. kcb

    And whatever you decide to wear, be sure to accessorize properly for the country-club ladies.

  91. Kumachka

    I am reminded of a similar story told to me by a friend from the continent. He was vacationing in his American wife’s hometown, and was caring for their small daughter one vary hot day at the club’s pool. The daughter was jumping around in her bathing suit– a bikini bottom as is not uncommon for young girls to wear in Old Europe. The frail American ladies of the club pinked at the cheeks in a most unhealthy way at the sight, and complained to the management. A discreet meeting with my friend resulted in the ultimatum: your daughter must be properly covered for swimming, or she may not swim (or jump around) on the premesis.

    Unwilling to become unhealthily pinked at the cheeks, despite his pique, my friend dressed his daughter in her sun dress. The daughter happily swam for the remainder of the day.

    ______________

    My own disgust with swimwear designer’s assumption that I
    1) have no pubic hair and
    2) wish to walk about in lingerie,
    led me not to the razor, but rather to a variety of solutions depending on my style sensibility of the year:

    For a while, I wore one piece aerobics outfits, which to my mind, looked like gentleman’s swimwear circa 1910.

    I also dabbled in high glam of the rocket-titted 1950′s by purchasing granny suits (with the skirt) from a brand called Roxanne. Lovely suits, good support for boobage, somewhat durable, and much retro fun, if that is one’s ilk.

    In my current more androgynous & sporty mode, I have been seeking super coverage from the one piece rash shirt & boy short combo which should be arriving any day now:

    see here:
    http://www.solartex.com/servlet/-strse-433/Stingray-Ladies-Collared-Boyleg/Detail

    I have high hopes this will protect my pinkness from the sun, provide me with ample coverage down below, while actually allowing me to swim.

    I bought women’s cut broad shorts last year from Tyr, and while I liked the look paired with a racer back top, the drag was a total drag, so I’ll be using them only as shorts for the duration.

    ______

    I have been much amused by the stylistic unions of “modest swimwear” presented by various fundamentalist religious groups, and by my own distinctively athiest, feminist, sport oriented desire for a more covered swimming experience. Though we approach the concept of “modesty” from idealistically different angles, the result is the same: we seek swimwear which allows us to be free to move without advertising our sexuality through our clothing.

    Upstream there was mention of the seriously misnamed “Burquini”, or Islamic hijab swimwear which has been making waves in the news lately:

    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/fashion/story/0,,2061958,00.html
    for a picture:

    http://www.ahiida.com/

    Also get a load of the (presumably) Christian version:
    http://www.modest-swimwear.net/

    The swimwear of my frumish Jewish sisters:
    http://www.biblicalgarden.com/modest_swimwear/modest_swimwear1.html

    Twisty:
    Please let us know whether or not your swimwear fashions make a splash.

  92. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I *heart* Lands’ End PJs — soft comfy cotton. No drag-queeny kitty-prints or itchy lace, no cold slimy-feeling acetate, no contrived sexay.

    If it was up to me, I’d be at home now wearing mine and sitting on the front stoop with my second cup of coffee.

  93. lawbitch

    Kumachka, I love my Stingray suit. I have the version that goes down to the ankles. Very comfy and durable.

  94. Mau

    On the flipside of this Patriarchal Conundrum, I was friends with an older (mid-50′s) pre-op transsexual who had developed the cutest, perkiest set of boobies I’ve seen on almost any woman… a truly pornalicious Playboy set. Since she was pre-op, she delighted in the fact that she could legally go about in public topless, since the laws were written to prevent women from displaying their uncovered mammary tissue. If she was challenged, she said she would just showed off the… erm… lower plumbing.

    I don’t know of any time she actually did this in public, though… she just loved the fact that she could. Patriarchal Rules sure do create absurd situations….

  95. Nia

    Twisty, most swimwear is not meant for women with boobs, either. Not for women who want to feel comfortable, at least. Last year I searched desperately for something that would accomodate my bigg-ish, slighly assymetrical body and the only one that fit was precisely meant for mastectomy prothesis. The only manufacturer that made me comfortable didn’t really want me to be.

  96. mAndrea

    You are an amazing woman, and I love you.

  97. Kristina

    What I need is some white bike shorts or something like that.

    Bird- Target has a line of cheap (crap from China!) sportswear called C9, and they have bicycle shorts in white, gray, and black. I have a couple pair for running, and they are decent. However, they run REALLY big.

  98. Bird

    We have no Target stores in Canada. But now that summer’s here, I’m hoping to find something again. I’m trying to avoid the whole made-in-China thing, though. That’s the reason I liked my shorts from the yoga place—all their stuff, although more expensive, is not produced by sweatshop slave labour. I’m hoping something will turn up again with the return of warm weather, and this time, I’ll stock up.

  99. Dates Bubbas

    Twisty, that has to be the most retarded thing I’ve heard in a while. My friend from Minnesota puts some cotton “implants” in her bathing suit. They dry quickly and stay put. She says she wears them because her double-mastectomy left her a little indented and she doesn’t like the scars – she’s had the surgery twice.

    Me, I’m ballsy enough that if it were me, I’d probably go au naturel and tell them to go fuck themselves.

  100. sally

    a brilliantly hilarious piece of writing…thx

  101. Miz Shoes

    I didn’t read all of the other comments, so excuse me if I’m repeating, but an old-fashioned racer’s tank suit should be blissfully free of boobage baggage. You might even be able to find one in nylon. Speedo and Nike make them. I did a quick search, and I think that “competition” suits are the least lined, un-cupped, etc. etc. Here’s a link for you (not affiliated in any way) http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/5793.htm

  102. um just a thought

    I am sorry for your predicament. And that would really suck.

    Just a suggestion, visit your local university and find the business school and get the students there to do some marketing research for you, write a business plan, and figure out what resources you need. Take those students to the local business incubator and start making and selling those suits.

    Best wishes,

    Um

  103. odanu

    I just bought a ton of tanks and camisoles from Chadwicks.com (picked them up on clearance) and most of them did NOT have shelf bras. And they’re very nice.

  104. Heather

    Oh my.

    What a friggin (sillyarsed)predicament.

    I’ll also vote for the tassels. Multiple tassles in different colors and shapes. All over your body. When you swim, you could look like a living, sparkling, oceanic reef (though not as big).

    This sort of relates to a blog that I read yesterday about a painting that was censored from a show because the subject supposedly was not fit for family viewing. The subject of the painting had a mastectomy. The painter is a lesbian. The whole thing is beyond sad.

    http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2007/may/01/dallas-artist-breast-cancer-portrait-banned-deep-e/

  105. Frigga's Own

    I just noticed those EFFIN HUGE bugs framed behind the shelf bras. What the hell is that? Giant alien flying cock-a-roaches or what?

    I don’t know if they do it in Texas, but Florida cockroaches all fly. There’s nothing quite like seeing a three inch “waterbug” zooming past your head and into your house to escape the rain. I can’t imagine even the most dedicated insect enthusiast with a collection of the hideous things, however.

    Shelf bras are evil. I stopped swimming when I could no longer find a swimsuit that had enough support in the front. Of course, I also stopped because I was being harrassed constantly about my weight if I didn’t cover up from neck to ankles in fabric. They don’t let you swim in jeans and a longsleeve t-shirt. Trudging along in 90 degree weather dressed like it’s the middle of fall to avoid being persecuted, you know who I’ll blame for my heatstroke.

  106. Christine

    Do you really want to go topless or is the purpose of this post to complain about there not being adequate swimwear for you?

  107. Pockafwye

    I haven’t been swimming in 10 years. I have been overweight for about that long, and am too self-conscious to feel comfortable in a swimsuit. For that matter, I always felt ugly in every suit I ever tried on, even when I was thin, because my figure has never fit the American stereotype of beauty.

    I have been a rebel in many other ways in my outward appearance, and am not a member of the dominant religion. I don’t feel compelled to conform in other ways. But for some reason, I get utterly depressed when I try to imagine displaying my body in a swimsuit of the usual cuts. I know I shouldn’t be. But there it is.

    Add to that nerve damage at the top of my thighs that makes anything cutting into my skin (like a standard swimsuit would do at the legs) and I’d lost all hope of feeling comfortable in any style of the suits I’ve seen in catalogs.

    Thanks to reading this thread, I see I’ve just been looking in the wrong catalogs. I’ve now seen links to types of suits that aren’t about trying to be sexy. Aren’t based along the usual swimsuit cut, just redone in “figure flattering colors”, or with silly flouncy skirts. I’ve finally seen suits that would be modest enough to make me feel comfortable, without being frumpy or froo-froo.

    I finally think I might be comfortable swimming again.

    Thank you.

  108. Lola

    I say you just stick on a pair of pasties. Sure, it still falls under the “prove what you have by covering it” rule imposed upon the bearers of the uterus, but in a delightfully satisfying way of saying “ok, i’m covered up, now shove it, bitches.”

  109. Aradia says fuck em

    Thanks for writing about this. If I had a pool you could romp about in it topless as much as you please. You have nothing to hide. Why lie to everyone?

    On the same thread, it’s crap having somthing to hide. I love bikinis, I love lounging around as naked as I can possibly socially be, and I love my wonderful healthy body to bits but I hate beaches and every male when I wear a bikini. I hate the fact that if I drop my towel then I know every male in the vicinity is checking me out. I hate it that after being in the chilly brittish seas nipples perk up, so every male with enough restraint not to stare at my boobs before now cant take their eyes off them, because they now know I have NIPPLES.

    Whats the deal! They have nipples too. Fuck em. I am sick of the leery, lecherous, ogling stares I get everywhere, just cos I am a pretty lady. I am sick of walking home at dusk and being paranoid every man I past is a potential rapist. I am sick of feeling intimidated whenever a guy gives me an “approving” look. This summer, I am wearing a nice green T-shirt instead of a bikini top, and leaving my hotpant-clad legs hairy as a monkey, cos I am sick of being found sexy. I hate sexy.

    Whatever happened to beautiful? You can respect a beautiful person.

  110. nina

    I’m a BRCA1 , radical lesbian feminist who had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy last year with no reconstruction so I hear you, sister, loud and clear. I solved my bathing suit problem by buying a Girls size 16 tankini top thing and wear men’s trunks on the bottom. The best part of my whole get-up is that I am now 6 months pregnant so there’s a giant belly between that Girls Speedo flattop and the stupid surf shorts. I hate it that I can’t go topless when I swim at the YMCA. Come on, It’s a fucking public service, people! I’m a walking billboard to Check Your Breasts!

  111. Retro Sneakers

    I think Nike’s are going to the retro look now for the more casual crowd. Their athletic line is ugly, but I like the retro looking ones.

  112. Party Pooper

    Party pooper here, come to ruin your Friday with tales about the joys of shopping for a bra. There are special stories that women who have been mistreated for cancer are privileged to read, zillions of them, but here’s a thread that really stuck in my craw. You’ll see why (as in: how can I forget the way I used to choke every time I tried to eat for about a year after being mistreated w/chemo). And what about the “smile-hug” in email #2. It honestly makes me want to kill someone to avenge her.

    The thread is also of note because it proves we’re swallowing the same ole crap in 2008 as we did in 1955. Shame on the whole damn medical industrial complex. All right already, here’s the thread:

    12.07.2008 00:34:55
    Name:
    The en Murrray
    Subject:
    Post Mastectomy Problems
    Content:
    I had the good fortune of never being sick in my entire life other than a few childhood diseases. When bam, breast cancer.

    I had a very small tumor but I was told it might be an “invasive” type of cancer so I chose a simple mastectomy. I had chemo and thought all was well when I was through with treatment.

    As a result of the chemo, it destroyed my esophagas and I have to have it stretched every month so I can eat. I also developed osteoporosis and arthritis of the spine, hip and tailbone. To say the least, I am in constant pain.

    I was wondering if other women have had similar experiences. To say the least, the mastectomy was a piece of cake compared to everything else that is now wrong with me.

    ***
    Name:
    d2
    Subject:
    Re: Post Mastectomy Problems
    Content:
    I too have troubles swallowing…
    ent & dentist say I have eagles syndrome…
    I blame it on chemo? Mine was done in 1995-so I hope there has been many advances in the surgery & folllow-up. I wish they would have endorsed physical therapy back then as the muscle discomfort in my arm-pit & rib-cage is almost unbearable…I guess we have to bear the alternatives to getting the cancer out…
    they call us SURVIVORS for a reason ( smile-hug)

    ***
    02.10.2008 23:06:25
    Name:
    Kathleen Murray
    Subject:
    Re: Post Mastectomy Problems
    Content:
    Thank you for your e-mail. You mentioned 2 problems. First, the swallowing. My gastroenterologist tells me that the chemo damaged my esophagas, therefore he has to go in with a balloon every month and try to stretch it. Despite having this done for 18 months in a row, it is still a problem. He hopes someday it with “take”. Meanwhile it is very difficult to eat. Second, you mentioned the pain in your rib cage. A relative of mine had a double mastectomy and later went in for reconstruction. In the meantime the pain was excrutiating. Only when the surgeon went in to reconstruct, did he learn that as the tissue was healing it adhered itself to the rib cage. The result was surgery to cut away the tissue first, let it heal, then do the reconstruction. It was a nightmare. It might be something to look into.
    ***

    Twisty, I want you to know that your cancer ramblings were amonng the few that made any sense to me. What a relief to hear you blurting out the awful truth. Me,I used to be a fun person but now I’m just the PARTY POOPER who ruins the fun for all my non-cancerous cohorts by refusing to be happy about my cancer mistreatements. But then maybe I should call them my “not yet cancerous cohorts” since it’s clear we have an epidemic on our hands and no one is looking at cause, just keep piling on the mistreatments, cause cancerous people can be counted on to keep our economy going, even when the banks can’t.
    PP

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