Ah spring and summer! I love the longer days, the heat and humidity, everything blooming and green, being barefoot, and taking the kids to the pool and beach. And this year I have an extra appreciation for the warmth as I’ve waited all winter for it.
As we turn the corner to summer, I quickly realized what doesn’t mix… Swimsuits and no boobs! After a mastectomy, it’s not just a small chest, it’s really flat. Like super flat. That’s exactly what I wanted, no trace of breast tissue left. And I wouldn’t change it, but it has made some things more difficult. Like finding a swimsuit to fit. And honestly, me left wondering why I have to cover my chest anymore, other than protection from the sun. (I could step up on my giant soapbox about the over-sexualization of breasts in our culture and how ridiculous it is that women have to cover their breasts because ‘society says so’ – but I’ll save that for another day.)
Back to our story… Warm weather is here and I have two kids ready to go swimming. And absolutely none of the suits I have fit now. So I googled everything I could think of. There are swimsuits out there for mastectomy patients, but most of those are made specifically for prosthetics, which is a wonderful thing for many women. But here’s the thing, I chose a flat chest and I don’t want to wear a prosthetic just for swimming, because that seems like a strange thing to do if I’m not wearing them all the time. And I’m not hiding my flat chest. It is what it is and I hope that every time you see my flat chest, it reminds you to do your self breast exam, to make that appointment to get your mammogram (or remind your mother/sister/wife/partner/cousin/girlfriend/friend to do so) and to advocate for yourself if you find a lump in your breast or testicles or wherever!
Several folks recommended athletic fit swimwear, as it’s usually not gathered, lays flat and doesn’t include rounded cups for breasts. With still being sore across my chest and under my arms, plus not feeling like shopping, I ordered a few swim tops from Zappos and came to some conclusions.
First, I am pretty sure the Zappos warehouse is in our neighborhood, because I’ve never seen anything arrive at our house so fast! Second, athletic style tankinis and tank top style swim suit tops fit well, if I remove the cups. But even the band from the interior shelf bra hurts me right now. Third, a fitted rash guard works great! The material is a little thicker, there’s no need for me to wear a suit under it, it’s like wearing a t-shirt to the pool and I’m protected from the sun. Plus, there are super cute rash guards out there and I look like a surfer. Which I’m not, but planning on surf lessons soon!
The kids and I went to the pool today and I was totally comfortable in my rash guard top and my sun screened head (I’m still rather bald). I didn’t do any swimming – don’t quite have the energy for that yet! But for now it’s all about being comfortable. And to all you women out there worrying over how you look in a swimsuit… Don’t. You look beautiful in any swimsuit you wear. I promise.