Women’s Health: A Double Mastectomy Convinced Me to Stop Bad-Mouthing My Body


Mary Darling Montero, LCSW

Mary Darling Montero is a psychotherapist trained in EMDR for trauma resolution, a writer, and a cancer survivor.

It is a Sunday, four days after my double mastectomy and three weeks after finishing six rounds of chemotherapy. I am standing in front of my bathroom mirror, about to look at the surgery site for the first time. I take off the surgical bra and see two large, rectangular bandages. I pinch their corners and breathe in, then out. I pull them off.

I stare at the terrain of my chest. There are two wide, horizontal incisions. Bruising. Swelling. There are two hard, breast-like mounds, which are temporary implants partially filled with saline and supported by a substance called AlloDerm, molded beneath my skin.

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