Confession

Straining Toward the Sun

By Ann LaBar Russek

Once again, my thoughts turn to getting a boob job. It happens every new year or so. The desire to regain lost youth, catch my husband’s mid-life, perhaps waning, attention.  But it never happened so much as when I recently had a breast cancer scare at age fifty.  It was a very mild one. One that many, at my age, face when the mildly sadistic mammographer pulls a face while checking the monitor to see if they need to “reposition the breast.” 

It’s hard not to be primed to expect the worse. We’ve been programmed and educated by the media and pink ribbons.  We are faced with it every day. On milk cartons, sneakers, underpants, and iPhone cases. Name it and there’s a pink ribbon on it.

So, when my mammogram came back a tiny bit iffy— I endured six follow up mammograms, bruises on my pectorals, and a woman writing on my boob with a sharpie. Thankfully, it was determined there was no need for a biopsy. Just a small bit of dense tissue to keep an eye on. Regardless, I lost a week of my life and scared the piss out of my children and husband. 

In the midst of it all, it occurred to me that it might mean a something other than the looming specter of hair loss and death. A friend I had not seen in upwards of twenty years had emailed me when she had been living through the aftermath of a diagnosis—chemo, double mastectomy, and so much more. I never asked for all the painful details. Knowing she had come out healthy and healed, I called and asked if diagnosis might mean a fully paid for boob job.

She said yes and not only that, insurance would cover everything it took to get you the girls you had always dreamed of. Well now…

When it was clear that I (and the girls) were in the clear, my youngest daughter asked me if I was disappointed, ‘cause not getting a free boob job.

Um, well, maybe, yes.

But at my age, what good would it do?  As an actress, I’m certainly passed the low budget horror/soft porn movie opportunities.

And I’ve had them. At least the low budget horror option. In my early twenties, I was asked to audition for the lead in a “straight to video” horror flick, Brain Twisters.

I turned it down as I was getting ready to leave for a creative writing graduate program in Alaska. It showed up on Netflix a couple years ago. A screaming blonde with cleavage in the thumbnail graphic. 

However, I don’t think I was really ever eligible for the soft porn jobs. I wasn’t bad in my day and have aged well but no one is paying money. Something my husband once said to me when I noted we didn’t have curtains in our bedroom and the neighbor boy had a telescope.

Yet, I’m still tempted. Not to get breast cancer that is, but to get a boob job.  What holds me back is a question I can’t avoid. What will those new boobs look like when I’m seventy? How will they age? How strange would it be to have an ass that droops as if reaching for the hollows behind my knees while above is perky and straining toward the sun? 

1 reply »

  1. It’s such a personal decision – it took me over 7 years after my initial consult to make a final decision. I had my breast augmentation surgery last March. Even up until the day before, I was wondering if I should. I had similar questions – what will they look like when I get older? Will it be ridiculous? Will I need to re-do them in 15 years because by then I will be 50 – will I care? Am I being too vain by wanting this surgery? Can I find a better way to spend that money?

    The answer is: likely, I will care about my appearance as I grow older. While the recovery was very, very hard – thanks to the fact that I had basically nothing anyway and very defined pecs – I don’t regret it. Every day I look in the mirror and am happy with my decision. Also, the money aspect? Who cares ~ I can’t take the money with me when I die anyway.

    Like

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