- Melissa Jansen
What's Up (One-Breasted) Buttercup!
It feels like it's been forever....oh, you're right....it actually has!
Oh Dear! I have to admit my failings. I have committed the worst crime a blogger can commit. The crime of the disappearing blogposts.
Some of you may be saying “That's okay, we're glad you're back!” others gave up and walked away....and some of you may be scratching your head because you only just got here, and lucky for you, you haven't missed anything.
I'm back, and like all people who feel guilty about the commitments they promise themselves they will endure, only to have life throw them some blindsiding events, I will (for my own peace-of-mind) explain myself.
The truth of the matter is, every time I have started writing this, I would think to myself “I'm not ready” and then I walked away from my computer for...days, sometimes weeks, before I'd come back. Then I would delete the damn thing and start over..
And that is where the problem began, starting over.
It was December 2018, and after months of quietly working with some other amazing breast cancer advocates on a project called Flat Closure NOW, we announced our website. The first ever website with the sole purpose of giving flat resources to women who wanted to remain flat after mastectomy. The goal was to get enough attention that the medical community would acknowledge that flat was a health, valid, beautiful option after mastectomy. We were proud of all the work we had done. And then, for me, the world changed forever...
It was December 30th when I lost my mind.
It happened in a hospital parking lot. The hospital was set among pine trees that had conveniently dropped enough pine cones for my temper tantrum. I started picking up the pine cones and hurling them at the trees. The rage filled my arms and my lungs and I started screaming like a wild animal. My screams turned to wailing at God and the universe while people parked their cars as far away from this crazy woman as possible. I found a tree branch and started pounding on a large tree trunk before I slipped and fell over. I laid on the ground and sobbed. I sobbed so hard I peed my pants.
I had waited until I was alone before creating this childish scene. I had been to this same hospital so many times in the past, but for the first time, I realized how much space there was put between each wing. I had taken myself and my children to the Emergency Room on many occasions. I'd visited people after surgeries. I had been to the maternity ward waiting for so many children to be born, including my own grandchildren...But, I had never before been forced to spend any time in the ICU.
The ICU was furthest from the parking lot. The furthest from everything. And after falling apart for the allotted 10 minutes I had given myself. I picked myself up, brushed off the pine needles stuck to my clothing, and slung my sweatshirt over my wet pants. I put back on my brave face. Put on my “big girl pants.” I walked back to the ICU for the last time. I watched as they unhooked the 19 machines that were keeping my best friend of over 20 years alive. And I watched her leave this earth....And I went with her.
I have since discovered that there is nothing worse than being dead while being alive.
Although I continued with my advocacy work, my heart slowly stopped caring about any of it. My blogging stopped and then other endeavours started falling apart. A fracture in friendships left me so hopeless I was trying to keep a professional face on but in the background my mental wellbeing was on the line.
I have never advocated for medication or believed in its validity. I always thought people who were on medication for depression just needed to snap out of it. However, I am glad that I was finally forced to seek medical intervention. The stress and depression that covered my entire being was not something that I could "get over" by myself. If you too suffer from depression making you unable to function, please get help... It can change your life...It actually saved mine...
NOW I AM BACK!
Let's talk of some of the exciting things that have happened and then, let's move forward! I've missed you all and I'm ready to get back to work! My blog website has been updated and I am about to launch a YouTube channel!
First, did you hear that Flat Closure NOW is finally a non-profit! With the work that these amazing women have done in the summer of 2020, “Aesthetic Flat Closure” has been added to the National Cancer Institutes Medical Dictionary! This mean medical professionals have a defined description of a surgical choice of going flat after mastectomy.
I was featured in a commercial as a one-breasted woman without wearing a prosthetic. You can thank the executives at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for creating an ad campaign that depicted a one-breasted woman as strong and proud!
I was featured on two podcasts: FLAT Is Where It's At & The Breast Podcast Ever.
I had articles published in WildFire Magazine & Salty.
I have also created a FaceBook support group called “One Breasted Beauties” where we encourage each other to live our best one-breasted life without the use of a prosthetic! If you haven't already joined we would love to get to know you better there!
Lastly, while the Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to get back to what is important, my husband and I converted an old barn in our back yard to a new office/studio where I get to work on what I love...
And next week I will be back to posting articles on my blog and getting back to what I do best – One Breasted Fashion!
Thanks for staying around long enough to enjoy our future together.
Oh, yeah, don't forget....I don't need two breasts to feel confident and beautiful...and neither do you!