Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman
In her book, Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman: Reclaiming My Moxie After Cancer, author Susan Cummings shares what it feels like to stand in front of a mirror, staring at the “shiny, pinkish, flattened worm of a line across [your] left chest” pondering not only whether she will live, but also, if anyone will ever find her desirable again. Adventures shares the ups, downs and realities of life after treatment for early-stage breast cancer, all the while chronicling Susan’s six year post-cancer odyssey as she learns to rediscover her self-confidence and joie de vivre.
Cummings was a self-described struggling New York actress and single woman progressing at lightning speed through her middle years when diagnosed. Throughout the book, she takes us on her up, down and sideways journey, maneuvering flawlessly from poignancy to laugh-out-loud funny.
On her journey to a renewed appreciation of the body housing her new (and healthy) normal, we follow along with Cummings whether she’s scouring the North American continent in search of the perfect health regimen or conducting a “beautiful breast survey” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Initially diagnosed with DCIS in 1992, Cummings is a long-term survivor who has written a memoir that will resonate with women whether they are just beginning their breast cancer journeys, or who, like Susan, are years out from their diagnosis.
Cummings recognizes that not all patients are granted her long-term survival, so she takes time to talk about how she dealt with the loss of a friend and learned about Louise Hay and the practice of positive affirmations.
Additionally, she tenderly talks her readers though her issues with body image and wardrobe difficulties, making us think about how we often judge each other and ourselves. And we are right there with her as she eventually she makes peace with her body and fulfills her dream of becoming a ballroom dancer.
For women holding their breath wondering if their love life will ever feel close to normal again, we get to delight with the author as she finds the one person that her true self was longing for, and discovers that this man accepts her exactly as she is.
Cummings manages to reclaim her moxie after breast cancer, and then she provides a heartfelt and useful template for those of us following in her footsteps.