This week, in partnership with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of the LGBT Community, we are sharing stories of LGBT cancer survivors and friends. The LGBT community is affected disproportionately by lung cancer, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer. By sharing these stories, we hope to raise awareness of cancer in the LGBT community. To learn more, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/LGBT. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org to find out how ACS can help.
While editing the footage, Marquise realized we actually captured two stories from Robin and I really hope you watch both. They are equally as hopeful and optimistic but also each have their laugh-out-loud moments. Robin has sent along information for the National LGBT Cancer Network and the Lesbian Cancer Initiative at The Center in NYC, both which helped her through her battle with breast cancer.
I’m Robin Goldman and I’m from Berkeley, California, and I’m now living in New York City.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. And I had a double mastectomy and I chose not to have reconstruction. I’m a really athletic person, I didn’t want to deal with future surgeries–with reconstruction, you sometimes have to have more surgeries, you can have complications, I just didn’t want to deal with it. And thought, you know, if I didn’t like it I could always get boobs later.
At the time I was in a long-term relationship and didn’t think anything…it was fine with her, and I didn’t really think that I would need to consider dating again. I went through chemotherapy and treatment and then my partner and I split up and there I was facing dating again, and I have no boobs and I just have two big scars across my chest. And I was a little nervous about what it would be like to be out on the dating scene without breasts. And it turned out not to be a problem at all, very interestingly. And I have a new partner now and she’s totally great with it and she loves my body and it feels really…I feel really comfortable in my body and really accepted.
I kind of had this campy relationship with my boobs. I mean, I miss them sometimes. I liked to dress them up and cleavage and the whole deal, but it was really this sort of campy, dress them up and take them out kind of an idea. You know, take them out for the evening. And now, like I said, I feel much more comfortable in my body, and I think that might be part of it, too.
I’m Robin Goldman and I’m from Berkeley, California. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and ended up needing to have a mastectomy…and I was very large. I had actually a triple D. And it was a big deal to need to get a mastectomy, and I decided to get a double mastectomy; all kinds of reasons. And also needed to say goodbye to my breasts before they were removed and so I threw myself a Bye Bye Boobie party and it was amazing and fantastic.
A bunch of friends, all women now that I think about it, and we just had a big celebration. So one of the things I did at the Bye Bye Boobie party was to show party tricks. All the things I could do with my boobs. And there was this one time in college, I was sitting around with some friends and there was some Dear Abby thing about “Do you need to wear a bra?” and her answer was, “Well you need to wear a bra if you can hold a pencil under your breast.” And so that started this whole, “Well what can you hold under your breast?” thing, and everybody was putting larger and larger objects under their breasts, and it turns out that I can hold–could, now can’t anymore–could hold a Manhattan phone book under each breast. So that was one of the party tricks that I did at the Bye Bye Boobie party. I wanted to give them a party so that they could live an entire lifetime in one night. Because they wouldn’t have any more life after that.
And it was a really healing experience for me and it also allowed me to really share with my community my process of how I was letting go of my breasts and what I was going through. And I also let people feel the lumps in my breast so that they would know what it felt like, because who ever feels that, right? So that was really a wonderful and healing experience.