by Bernie Siegel, MD and et al.

Cancer patients who laugh live longer. This poem and her response to her disease is survival behavior.

If Bilateral Mastectomies Can’t Be Fun Their Not Worth Having
by Suzanne Fenske

I feel that I must make a clean breast of it
and say
that life has given me the booby prize.
I know that this time my tit
is really in the wringer and I feel like such a boob.
Depression dwells deep in my bosom
as I sit here like a lumpand stare uncaring at the flickering boob tube.My life feels like such a big bust
that it is hard to keep abreast of what is happening around me.
Inside I feel as cold as a witch’s tit
and I know my career plans to be a waitress at Hooters
are definitely foiled.
Let’s face it
I’m not just broke, I’m flat busted.
Well thanks for listening.
It felt good to get that off my chest.

This poem shows us that we are all works of art. But we are a work in progress and not to be thrown out. If imperfect but to be reworked until we become who we want to become.

by unknown

it is not as though I lost my breasts to surgery
perhaps they were erased or painted over
as if the artist changed her mind
but see there are other changes too
the head held higher
the shoulders back
the brightness in the eyes
the air of expectancy
listening with keener ears
observing with greater insight
do we perhaps shed things as we go through life
that other features may be enhanced
the canvas isn’t finished
there is more color on the palette

There are natives and tourists. When you have experienced something you are a native and can share the experience with others and help guide them. Remember, however, that everyone’s experience is still unique to them.

by unknown

in the east a railroad track
running from the valley of my arm to the hilltop of my breast
in the west a creek bed
curving along the ridge of a rib
it is not a perfect landscape
unfit for calendars, postcards or brochures
but my husband is blind to the surface flaws
and I see myself through his eyes
the eyes of a native who overlooks things that only a tourist would notice

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
by Bernie Siegel, MD

my first sense was to get lassie to write about beauty since the animals know more about completeness than people do. if you were loved as a child and feel loved as an adult you will still feel whole and not incomplete or imperfect. a two legged dog learns to balance and run and enjoy life and not sit home worrying about what the other dogs in the neighborhood are thinking.

i know young women, from our support group, who after their mastectomy went out and had sexual affairs with men to prove they were still acceptable and attractive. it is sad that they had to prove it that way because when they looked in the mirror they saw an ugly duckling; not a swan. but remember what you reflect back comes from within you. so love yourself and your image will remain beautiful.

a woman i know said after her mastectomy, “cancer made me take a look at myself and i like who i met.” a curse can become a blessing when it makes you more complete. and being complete is not about the condition of your physical parts but about the integrity of your spirit.

i received a letter from a woman veterinarian who said at 3AM the night before her mastectomy she couldn’t fall asleep worrying

then she remembered all the animals she operated on:
“i amputate a leg or a jaw
and when they wake up they lick their owner’s faces.
they know they are here to love and be loved
and teach us a few things.”
from that moment on she was fine.

when a dog has his leg amputated you don’t start calling him tripod and focus everyone’s life energy on what is missing and when you have a mastectomy don’t change your name to tomy; and put all your energy into what is missing and wrong about your body and life. what follows is about survival behavior.

by Bernie Siegel, MD

I will not give my power away
it is my happiness, mine
I create it, not youI decide to be, not you
you can come into my happiness
but you cannot create it or destroy it
you can only enlarge it