These descriptions will have to suffice for now because I decided not to photograph it yet. I didn't know how: do I lay it on the table? Do I hold it up to my chest? Do I let my smiling children hold it up for the camera? I don't yet feel emotional ownership for this left breast and so any of these options seem satisfactory on one level, but on another level I don't want to accidentally disrespect the left breast in a careless photographic portrayal. And so once again I rely on my words.
Acquisition of my prosthesis was surprisingly tedious. It took five different fittings to get the correct breast-bra combo. We first had to special order some prostheses. The cancer outreach center did not stock any prostheses in my size, although I can proudly say I do not require the smallest prosthesis available (just the second smallest). Then the shape was an issue, so we had to order the decided size in a different style. Then the bras were the issue. With a prosthesis, one typically wears a special bra that has a pocket for the prosthesis. One can probably wear a prosthesis in a normal bra, but the pocket is nice to keep the prosthesis in place and to protect the skin from rubbing on the somewhat sticky prosthesis. So I tried many, many different pocket bras. It was difficult finding a bra that was complementary to (if not equalizing of) the prosthesis and Ms. Right Breast. At long last we found one bra-breast combo that actually worked well. Unfortunately, this bra was a rather impractical blue. It is and will always be my first prosthesis bra, but we also settled on an imperfect fit in order to include a practical champagne-colored bra in my prosthesis-wearing repertoire.
At first I was excited to have a prosthesis option available! I slipped the breast in the pocket and put on the bra. I was a bit self-conscious about choosing to wear a breast to work that day, so I chose a shirt that I presumed would hide the prosthetic breast just as I rely on it to hide the empty space. And indeed I may have hidden it well. I received no comments, but why would I? What would someone say, regardless of if it were positive or negative? "Did you get a new breast? It looks great!" or "Did you get a new breast? Hmm, you should get your money back." It was false to imagine I would get affirmation for my choice to wear a prosthetic breast one day. But I kept hoping for it as if I were sporting a new pair of glasses or shoes. Also disappointing was how much I hated wearing a bra again. It was the first time I'd worn a bra in months, if not a year. I had forgotten how many millions of places it pulls and rubs and hikes and heats.
Needless to say my shiny new prosthetic left breast is tucked away in its special box, in its original bag. The scratchy new bras are stuffed into my overflowing (um...why?) undergarment drawer. But they are at my disposal should I ever desire to increase my physical discomfort at the expense of my emotional comfort. Maybe at a wedding reception with an open bar I can reconcile this dichotomy.