This evening I went out to dinner at an assisted living facility with one of my parishoners and two of the women with whom she regularly dines.
Afterward, I stopped by the local nursing home to visit briefly with two other folks. (Very briefly. As I reached the second room, I realized that I was almost too exhausted to stand up and, seeing one of the man's daughters there, I excused myself as quickly as I could.)
At any rate, most of the employees at these facilities are women, young women and middle-aged women. And it's summer, so they are wearing t-shirts and light cotton tops. And it dawned on me that, as far as I could tell (and obviously I can't), all of those women have two breasts, the originals, which they are able to take completely for granted. (Actually, I can kind of tell. What they have matches, and moves naturally.)
I can't say that I usually give this matter much thought, or any thought at all. And considering the environments I was in, I probably shouldn't. The people I was visiting are struggling with the loneliness of widowhood after long and happy marriages and with the consequences of heart disease and major medical incidents. Their lives are extremely difficult.
But I did feel very sad. The residual disfigurement of breast cancer is so permanent.