No Bra Day Rant

Posted on: September 9th, 2016 by

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I have news for those imbeciles who invented and/or celebrate No Bra Day: I already set my “boobies” free nearly 10 years ago when I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I eagerly set them free because they came close to killing me. Ya see, my right “ta-ta” had a malignant tumor in it five years prior, and I had so much fun with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy that I couldn’t handle another repeat slash-burn-and-poison party.

So I set my breasts free for good.

When my “girls” were set free and placed in a jar or wherever the hell they place breast tissue and analyze it, I discovered that my left breast — the supposedly healthy one — was filled with precancerous cells. And I was so happy that I possibly prevented a recurrence. But I was also numb, as I realized, yet again, how close to death my breasts brought me. Yet, even after my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, I still grieved for those horrible originals, those devils, because, call me crazy, I always wanted to keep the parts I was born with.

But instead, I had to set them free.

Post-mastectomy was a horrifying time. Recovery was a real bitch. ICU sucked. My chest and torso were adorned with so many stitches, they looked like railroad tracks over my whole torso. But whoo-hoo, I wasn’t wearing a bra then. Now the stitches are history and I have faint scars and fake nipples. And I must live every day with physical scars, but even worse, I must live with the emotional scars caused by breast cancer. Ya know, small things like body image issues and PTSD.

Today, almost 10 years after my surgery, I’ve come to accept my fake breasts — sorry, they are not perky. They are asymmetrical. That’s what happens sometimes when one has breast cancer. In my case, my right breast had a history before the mastectomy: It had a lumpectomy and re-excision, radiation, and another lumpectomy down the road. That breast got pretty darn hideously deformed. Then the bilateral mastectomy corrected some of the ugliness, but my cancer-affected breast is still a different size than my left unaffected one.

The good news is that I found a great mastectomy fitter who found a prosthesis for my right breast. So with my special, pocketed bra on and my prosthesis, I look completely symmetrical. This choice is not for everyone, but this is what I wanted.

Frankly, we should have a Keep a Bra On Day because each night I take my bra off the truth replaces the facade and reminds me of my grief and loss — thanks to the ugliness that is breast cancer.

Each night, for me, it is Set My Prosthesis Free Day. Because truth is, I resent the fact that I need a prosthesis. I resent that removing my bra each night means facing my cancer demons constantly. Most of all, I resent all those losers who celebrate No Bra Day.

A good candidate for Set My Prosthesis Free Day

A good candidate for Set My Prosthesis Free Day

It’s too bad that men afflicted with breast cancer cannot participate in No Bra Day. But then again, men are not sexualized like women are, so what’s the point in involving them in any kind of debasement?

I survived breast cancer thus far, but I don’t feel like celebrating. Because breast cancer isn’t a fun opportunity to party. Because breast cancer is a disease of grief, loss, suffering and, in too many cases, death.

No Bra Day is a bunch of bullshit.

Rant over. I just had to get something off my chest. Pun noted.

For an excellent post on No BRA Day, see the Cancer Curmudgeon’s excellent piece, How About a ‘What Cancer Really Does to Breasts Day’?.

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12 Responses to No Bra Day Rant

  1. Scott Johnson had this to say about that:

    Great rant Beth! Wonder if people without a life or death experience understand how deep below the surface our feelings go? It could be the some people realize they can’t go with us to “that raw feeling place” and not be altered themselves so they dance nervously away? Or feel obliged to “soften” things by diverting the conversation to “relieve” the pain or cheer us up? To me, it often feels like the cheer-up messages are meant to help us resolve something that doesn’t live in the world of the fix’able. By creating another language for speaking of experience we betray its importance.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Scott, excellent point! I do think that all this rah rah nonsense is due to insensitivity in our culture. I think many people are very uncomfortable with death and serious diseases, so they try to make light of it. No excuse though; these people are wrong.

      Thanks for your comment on my rant. Just had to get it out.

  2. Cancer Curmudgeona had this to say about that:

    I just canNOT believe this mess is going on again–and whatever individuals or groups getting it going again are just using the same graphic from 3 years ago. Blows my mind.
    Anyway–thanks for the shout out! I have to laugh, I’m like in re-runs with my blog posts–I mean what is the use of updating, right?!

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Cancer Curmudgeon,

      LOL about the re-run comment. Your older posts are oldies but goodies. They are all good, in fact.

      In terms of Bra Day, it’s absolutely unacceptable and mind-boggling how people persist in celebrating this faux “holiday.”

  3. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    Amen! And btw, I do love a good rant now and then. And this one was really good, sorely needed and will hopefully be read by those who need to hear your words. Well said. Thank you!

  4. Caroline had this to say about that:

    In my opinion, No Bra Day is right up there with the Be Bald Day so you can ‘feel like’ the people in chemo who have lost there hair. There should be a special place in hell for these idiots.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Caroline,

      Yep, Be Bald Day is beyond stupid, too. How people react to serious illnesses is often idiotic. It’s better to say nothing at all, then to make light of others’ suffering.

  5. Cindy had this to say about that:

    Excellent article. I’m always so mad in October that they bring the pinkwash to the forefront and that so many people are willing to make it not about saving people, but saving boobs.

    I am losing too many friends from this horrible disease. And not one of them did I give a damn about their breasts. I just want them to live a good, long, life.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      I hear you. The pinkwashing is unbearable. I’m sorry that you’ve lost friends to breast cancer. So have I. It’s a horrible disease, unfortunately made light of by insensitive jerks.

      The whole “saving boobs” mentality really is infuriating. When will our society wake up?

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. Rebecca had this to say about that:

    Beth, this is an excellent rant. I don’t understand why we’re still dealing with these issues. It’s like they want to force denial on society, even if it means misleading or offending patients and their families. Because to me, this is all very offensive. BC is no joke and it needs to be taken seriously. The damage cannot be forgotten or ignored. I wonder what it will take for things to shift. More deaths? As if we don’t already deal with enough.

    Thank you for expressing your thoughts about this topic. xoxo

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      I’m so sorry; I got sidetracked and forgot to comment on your comment. Anyway, I’m not too optimistic about things shifting where people take breast cancer seriously. It’s sad but true.

      Thank you for your comment.

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