'I had a breast reconstruction 5 days ago. Being asked about my 'new boobs' is painful.'

Last February, I went for a routine mammogram that changed my world – and then my body beyond all recognition.

What followed was a whirlwind of 12 biopsies, a breast cancer diagnosis, consultations, surgeons and an overwhelming mountain of information.

I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer, which had already spread to my lymph nodes.

A six-month course of chemotherapy — 16 cycles — was to begin as soon as Gold Coast Hospital (which is amazing) could book me in. I shaved my head before I started chemo because, in the intense dust-storm that my diagnosis kicked up, it felt like one way I could take back a tiny little speck of control.

While you're here, below is a quick how-to on checking your breasts. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

As I sat in consultation after consultation with a range of surgeons (public and private), which I lined up urgently to arm myself with as many facts, options and costs as possible, it became clear that I had to let go of my initial hope that a lumpectomy would be an option. I was looking at a mastectomy and as soon as that was being discussed; I said I wanted a double mastectomy. Plus, lymph node clearance on my right side.


As a woman who had always loved her boobs, it was hard to comprehend what I was going to face.

Ten years ago, I had to have a non-cancerous tumour removed in a hysterectomy that sliced my stomach in two and my body hadn't felt like mine since then.

This felt like the next chapter in letting go of my old self.

I endured chemo; I kept smiling through surgery but honestly, there is nothing that can prepare you psychologically for looking in the mirror, with no hair and steroid bloat, after a double mastectomy. I took photos to look back on but couldn't bring myself to look at them at the time.

I can look at them today. I love how we surprise ourselves with our own resilience over time.

I opted to have a tissue expander inserted at the same time as my mastectomy but seeing a butchered, flat chest where two womanly curves had sat was intense.

The pain was high, and recovery was slow.

So, I have to say, as I sit typing this just five days after my reconstruction surgery, I can't help but smile. This surgery was a breeze in comparison! I'm strapped up for several weeks with dressings, a surgical compression bra and Velcro strap to hold the new implants in place. Apparently, over the next few weeks they will "drop and fluff", which sounds more like baking than surgery recovery but hey ho, I'm no expert. 

The hardest part of this chapter has been not flipping my lid at friends who ask, "Sooo, how are the new boobs?" Someone even called them "titties".


PSA: Please don't say this to a woman who has gone through breast cancer. This isn't a fun little gift to myself; I didn't choose any of this. 

I never planned to have both of my breasts removed. 

I never imagined that I'd have fake boobs rather than growing old with the ones I was born with.

I have no nipples (they call it nipple sacrificing) and I'm not going to put myself through another surgery to have flesh stitched onto the patchwork that now lives between my neck and stomach.

Corrine after DMX (Left) and Day 5 after recovery (Right). Image: Supplied.


On the day, the surgeon found that he wouldn't be able to fit the implants we had initially chosen, there was so much scar tissue build up after my last cancer surgery, so I had to drop down in size. I'm used to thinking in cup sizes but now I'll be 495cc.

I've ended up with smaller implants and the scars are full-on. 

The pain of being asked, "how are the new boobs?" has been harsher than the pain of recovering from surgery.

For many years, my DD cleavage was very much part of my party-girl persona.

Then I quit drinking and got sober.

And then I battled breast cancer

My body has been on the most incredible journey.

I feel so thankful to be alive, to be cancer-free and healthy. When I look in the mirror, I see a warrior looking back at me who brings tears to my eyes. I feel so proud of her.

I am not my boobs.

I am so much more than a cleavage. 

Frankly, I am a f**king breast cancer warrior who hopes that she can feel comfortable walking around a shopping mall in a t-shirt. 

If no one ever looks at my chest again, I'll be happy! 

Obviously, I don't claim to speak for all breast cancer survivors; I can only speak for myself. I do know from several breast cancer support pages I dip into, that their experience haunts many others in a way that I seem to have escaped.


I feel sad when I look in the mirror, but I am at peace.

I feel incredibly thankful for that too. 

In my twenties, I was often found strutting topless on European beaches. I got good use out of my boobs when I had them. They had a really good run.

Listen to this Bonus episode of No filter where Amanda opened up about the mental process, the surgery, and the moment she overhead a stranger comment on her "bad boob job". Post continues below.

Now, scars and implants have replaced the bouncy, fun, boobs I used to have.

At the beginning of my breast cancer journey, one of the amazing breast care nurses took my hand and said, "You're not going to come out of this experience as the same person".

I didn't know what she meant. 

But I do now. I am not the same person inside or out.

I have had a complete makeover - and I feel teary gratitude to be well enough to share my story. 

It's a hard, long journey, and if you've just got a diagnosis and are sitting in all the fear that brings, please reach out, there's a wonderful community of women who have walked this path and want to take your hand too.

Feature Image: Supplied.