I have recently moved to Sydney’s northern beaches, so I have been keenly awaiting the arrival of warm weather so I could indulge in the coastal delights of my new home.
As the sun came out over the weekend, I found a quiet spot on the northern end of Freshwater Beach. I set my towel down near the ocean pool.
I shrugged off the baggy jumper I wore to cover my chest despite the heat.
I can’t lie on my stomach, so I lay down on my back and hoped no-one would notice my breasts pointing awkwardly skyward.
I began to settle into the sand, breathe in the fresh, salted air, and forgot about my worries. I enjoyed about ten blissful minutes before my bubble was burst.
A young woman walked past and pointed out my “bad boob job” to her friend. I imagine she thought she was using a hushed tone.
I froze. My face and throat burned. I stood up quickly, grabbed my towel, and walked home running through a mental checklist of all the reasons I am still worthwhile.
In July this year, I had a double mastectomy to reduce risk of breast cancer. My risk was unacceptably high because I am positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation.
After being released from hospital following surgery and painful recovery, my boyfriend stopped at the beach before taking me home. I remember feeling instantly soothed and rejuvenated by the quiet lull of the waves and the gentle winter sun on my face. It was a world away from the constant noise and neon light of the ward.