Friday, 31 October 2014

Baldie One Boobed Babe Goes Swimming

This week I went swimming again.

Like most things since the diagnosis, a visit to the pool is rather more complicated these days but at least I’m allowed in the water again.  For the three months since the operation, I’ve been banned from so much as a hot bath, first because the mastectomy scar had to heal and then because I had a PICC line inserted for my three sessions of FEC.  So, sadly, even though we did make it to our special place in Portugal for a few weeks in the summer, I had to watch enviously as the kids swam in the river and the sea.
But now I’m back.

So, permission granted.  Next thing, logistics.
For my baldy head, I wore a swim cap.  This worked remarkably well, my husband swore that you’d never know there was no hair underneath even if I did look a bit of a prude in a pool where swim caps were not mandatory and only the old biddies wore them.  I wore my cute peaked hat for the walk down to the swimming baths so that I didn’t have to stuff my wig into my swim bag and revelled in the fact that I didn’t need to bother with shampoo and a hairbrush for after the swim.

For the missing boob, a gorgeous new swimming costume in shades of pink with a pocket for the prosthesis.  I swear that this is the loveliest swimming costume I have ever possessed (though I have to confess, it was also twice the price of any previous cozzie but these days I feel I deserve to be spoilt a little.)  Dare I say it?  I actually feel quite sexy in this costume which is quite something for a bald lady with one boob.
And yet it is also comfortable, in fact I barely noticed the prosthesis, and I felt totally secure when swimming (which is a relief because I have never forgotten the story about the woman who went swimming and her prosthesis slipped out and sank to the bottom – she eventually found it being used as a Frisbee by two boys.  She was so embarrassed that she went home and abandoned it.) 

I swam, sat in the whirlpool and even did the super-enormous slide with the kids (one hand firmly on my cap when I swooshed into the pool at the end so I didn’t frighten the little kids with an accidental view of my baldie head). 
There was only one place I felt held back by the consequences of Cancer. The pool we visited happened to be in Germany, so of course the communal showers afterwards were full of uninhibited, utterly naked German ladies of all ages (my nine-year old daughter watched with a horrified expression and eyes as big as saucers).  Needless to say, I was not about to show off my mastectomy scar and so I showered demurely in my costume and swim hat among the naked ladies.

But, honestly, would I have thrown caution to the wind and stripped naked with the rest of them if I had not had a scar to hide? I guess we’ll never know.
And, to her enormous relief, nor will my excruciatingly embarrassed daughter.

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