So, as you probably know, I finally wrote and posted my first ever blog post last Saturday. It was a big, bold post…so, as you can imagine, I have had BIG, BOLD responses! There were two main reasons for that posting: firstly, to keep all my friends and loved ones in the loop and, secondly, to really take ownership of my choice within my own mind…and both were achieved FAR beyond any expectation.
In light of the first aim, well, I was completely blown away! Thank you, thank you...THANK YOU! I cannot say it enough. My humble, little blog reached close to 8,000 people over this last weekend! Wowzzah! I have received so many loving, supportive messages from such a vast array of people. So, from readers near and far, known and not-yet-met...I just want to express my appreciation, I feel such a huge sense of gratitude to you all. I absolutely loved hearing from you, please keep it coming! Seriously, thank you so, so much.
The second purpose was to make my talk a reality. I relate this to going on a big holiday (…just stick with me, it will make sense!). You know when you plan a trip, you choose the destination, book the flights, lock in the hotel and then you talk about the fact that you will be going for months...but, somehow it always feels like something you are ‘just talking about’. Then all of a sudden, before you know it, you are sitting on the plane, seatbelted in, about to take off and, yeah, then it is real. Well, this was exactly my experience after writing that blog post. I have been planning this surgery since August of last year…but it wasn’t until last weekend, putting it into words and getting all of your amazing responses, that I was actually ‘on the plane’…and it was tougher than I had imagined. I have spent all week in a crazy roller coaster of emotions…oscillating between feeling proud of my bravery and randomly bursting into tears. I think it wasn’t until this weekend that I realised that I am really scared. I am scared of the procedure, I am scared of the recovery, I am scared of what I am going to look like and I am scared of what this gene could possibly mean for my future, cancer. I started worrying about things that I have never even thought of before…the fact that I won’t be able to breastfeed (I have never felt maternal or been sure if I even want kids) or that I may feel disconnected with my new breasts, as part of me will soon be ‘not me’. My mind has been chaotic and all over the place! It might sound ridiculous, but in a way I feel as if I am going through a grieving process for my future loss...and, yes, it is challenging.
This made me reflect on a fitting farewell for my breasts. It was suggested to me by many readers that I should do something special to 'celebrate my breasts' before my surgery.
So, here goes:
Many of you will know that I have dabbled in burlesque over the last couple years and every time I have, it has been a completely empowering experience. Standing bare(-ish) on stage in front of an audience fills you with an overwhelming sense of body confidence and is a absolute celebration of your physique and your femininity. It is not 'stripping', it is 'showgirl'. Burlesque is theatre, it's cabaret. Burlesque encourages you to be fearless. It embraces you, your curves, and your slightly-less-than-perfect bits and makes you feel utterly fabulous in your skin - the perfect last hurrah for my breasts.
...And so, on Sunday the 11th of September, 2 days before my double mastectomy surgery, I will be giving a solo burlesque performance in London with THE CHEEK OF IT burlesque school…and I would absolutely LOVE you all to come and support me…in all my boob-alicious glory!
To book tickets (I mean it, I really would love EVERYONE to be there! Don't be shy!):
…And for those of you that can’t make it, I have decided to make this a ‘BURLESQUE FOR BRCA’ act, so you can all sponsor my performance! ...with all money raised will going to cancer research to help fund genetic cancer research in the future.
This might all sound crazy to you and I really hope that you do not think that by doing this I am making a serious oncological issue seem flippant. I totally understand the grim nature of this genetic mutation…trust me, I am living it. To me, this act is my personal way to feel proactive and empowered. To enable myself to take some control over the complex and emotional situation that I am in, through celebrating me, my body and, most importantly, my breasts.
So, thanks for all of your love and support...and thanks for reading!
Luv, Emma xx