Photo by Jesse Echevarria on Unsplash

I took off my bandages today and was permitted to shower. My breast is a riot of color like a fiery purple-skied sunset. The scar near my underarm isn’t bad, a straight line of about two inches. But the other one, a c-shape, like a parenthesis enclosing my nipple, appears wide and jagged. Still, I do have something resembling a breast, where I might have had nothing left but flat skin stitched together.

I know more about my cancer now. I’m HER2 negative, and “officially” Stage 1A with a 1.2 cm tumor removed with clean margins and no lymph node involvement. Given invasive breast cancer, it’s not so bad. The worst is that my cancer cells are moderately aggressive.

I still have some unknowns—don’t we always? There’s a small mass in my other breast, “not suspicious,” but it needs to be checked out. It was discovered on the MRI but didn’t look worrisome enough to postpone the surgery. So, I’ll be back on the ultrasound/biopsy cot on March 9. If I were the praying sort, I’d be getting fervent about now. Please, no, not another biopsy! Please, no, not another tumor!

My good friend Lynn said, “At least you only have two!”

That reminds me when Tom and I were at Westminster Abbey, he said Anne Boleyn had 3 breasts, adding this wasn’t widely known outside medical circles.

I searched and found the Internet mostly disputes that she had three breasts. I’ll leave that debate to the experts.

What I do know is that in her time, (and until recent decades) you were screwed if you got breast cancer. Then again, she was screwed anyway.