That dream where you show up to school/work/etc. naked? Boy did breast cancer take that recurring dream to a whole new level. Oddly, in my dreams, my nakedness always matches the current state of my chest. For instance, the post-mastectomy (but pre-tissue expanders) chest dream, where I would be running through the streets with my scar laden chest with its folded-in, wrinkly skin. I would be trying, always unsuccessfully, to find a way to cover up my chest so no one knew how disgusting I looked. After I got the tissue expanders and then the implants, I would dream of myself at work, at the grocery store, Target, wherever, and I would look down and realize I was topless and everyone could see my scars. I was mortified. What’s funny about this to me is that in my dreams I wasn’t worried about being topless in public…my mortification came from realizing that everyone could see what my chest really looked like. They all thought I had these cute little AA-cup fake titties (my surgeon did a really good job, actually) and I had unknowingly blown my cover and shown everyone how disgusting I really looked. I had, as my plastic surgeon called them, Breast Mounds, with fat, puffy, nasty scars running the width of them.
I was just starting to get used to my Breast Mounds and was actually starting to like how they looked (in clothing, and only clothing that didn’t show my scars) and was even beginning to think I’d be able to get past how the scars looked, especially with some fancy tattoo work. And then everything went to hell and I had to have the implants removed. And now I am back to being breastless with this gross, tight, wrinkly skin, only now I have an open wound on one side! Sweet!!!! Now I wake up from that topless dream completely drenched in sweat, near tears, and feeling pretty disturbed for at least a day. The idea that my friends, family, coworkers, strangers would have any idea how disgusting I look without a shirt…it’s too much to handle. I am told that, because of my small stature, my breastlessness doesn’t look in any way odd or unusual — I look simply like a woman with a flat chest, they say. I smile and say thank you, that’s comforting, etc. If only they knew how disgusting I feel.