I have just returned from the barber shop and engaged in a conversation with my barber. He always asks questions about my activities since the last visit. Today, he began by telling me he'd watched an interview of a male breast cancer survivor. This is when the series of questions began.
Keep in mind I'm not all knowing about everyone, every form of Breast Cancer, treatments, etc.. I can share the information that I have and recommend where to get additional information in addition to your physician.
In the midst of this discussion there were moments of enlightenment for both of us and some other men in the shop.
On my way home in reflection of the conversation, it gave me cause to stop, pause and consider some things.
I wonder how does the relationship change after a partner has received a diagnosis and gone through treatment.
I wonder how does the partner look at the survivor now that their body has undergone the physical changes caused by the disease. For each person those physical changes come in a variety of forms; chemotherapy, radiation or both, a single or double mastectomy, reconstruction and I could go on.
How does the relationship handle the illnesses, reactions to treatment, hospital stay, feelings of pit, empathy, etc..
How does the survivor feel about the physical changes to their body and think "what their partner must be thinking"
The series of questions with endless variables continues as I sit and write this.
These are the many things that the world will never know unless they have experienced it, asked about it and actually sat down and had a discussion with a survivor and co-survivor.
Receiving a diagnosis and treatment is all life changing experience that is so different than any other. I realize that the multitude of variable questions exist for any life altering experience, but so many people judge and place a very high value on physical appearances, and that is why this is so different.
It's different because the breast are what girls "usually" can't wait to get, boys can't wait to cop their first feel, everyone whats to see how big or small their breast are going to be. Breasts determine what type of clothing you can wear, unfortunately- what type of position you'll move up to, and determines your social status and so many other things.
As I begin to veer off when I really want to stay on topic, we'll have to discuss body image in the next posting.
A very high value is placed on a woman's appearance with our breasts leading the way.
How diminished is that woman's value when her breast are diminished?