October is for Pink. We wear pink to honor those women who are going through, who survived, or who have given their all in the fight against Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer is a disease that takes from women all the dignity they can muster. It terrifies us. It destroys the last bit of humanity. For these reasons, I let my heroine in this short novella be a survivor of breast cancer. I wanted all women to know they are still desirable, they are still loved and they are worth placing upon that pedestal as a woman.
As a woman, Lauren Phelps has suffered the worst life can throw at her. The loss of her breast, the rejection of her husband, a divorce can she pick up the shattered threads of her life and continue? Cole McGuire met Lauren Phelps through a mutual friend, his mother. When Lauren took a medical leave of absence, he wondered if he would ever see her again. When she returned to Teague and Marshalls, he made sure she was transferred to his office. Now divorced, he wondered if he stood a chance to woo her. Can Lauren learn to love again after the storm?
Little by little the gauze fell away to reveal a breast complete with areola and nipple. Her immediate reaction was to run her hands to the fullness and touch the flesh that appeared pink and rosy. Her breath rushed from her lungs as she traced the swell. It had no feeling. Her hands touched the skin, but she didn’t feel the uniqueness of her left bosom in comparison to her right.
“It should look the same,” a voice from the door whispered.
She didn’t know if it was modesty or fear someone would see her like this, but Lauren pulled the paper gown up over her shoulder, the burn of heat trapping in her cheeks.
“I-I couldn’t wait,” she mumbled, trying to scrambling to retrieve the bandages that a few moments before covered the rebuilding of her left side.
A hand touched her shoulder. Instead of restricting her movement, it offered sympathy as only another woman could. “It’s ok, Lauren. You are not the first woman to feel the need to know.”
Only when tissues were shoved into her empty hands did she realize she was crying.
“Please, look if you want. I want to check the progress of our surgery.”
Lauren dabbed her eyes. The mascara she had so carefully applied now coated the tissue.
“Hold out your arms, please,” the physician said.
Raising her arms, Lauren listened to the rustle of paper as the doctor slid the drape around to the side so that she could see her handiwork. In the mirror across from the examining table, she watched with detached emotion while Dr. Barbara Felton lifted Lauren’s right breast to measure the weight against the reconstructed one on the left. Goose pimples rose on her right side. The doctor’s hands were cold.
“You should be well pleased. The surgery seems to be quite a success.”
“Yes, I am,” she replied in a soft voice with a twinge of hesitance. “Pleased, that is.”
“I hear a but.” The good doctor stepped back.
Lauren readjusted the paper covering her body, lending her some measure of modesty in spite of all she’d lost due to her illness. Her uncertainty was brief, yet it seemed to acknowledge the doctors astute insight into what she was feeling.
“But?” Dr. Felton asked again, this time allowing her eyebrow to arch toward the spiked bangs of her stylish short bob.
“But,” Lauren began with a sigh, “it’s hard to feel. I mean, it seems like it’s just a pound of flesh there.”
“Yes, that’s true.” The doctor pulled up a chair. “But to anyone else they would never know just how tough this year has been on you.” Reaching out, she touched her patient’s hand. “Lauren, you had cancer. You’ve been through a mastectomy and three rounds of chemotherapy. You are a survivor.”
As the doctor spoke, Lauren looked at the reflection before her and felt she didn’t know the woman she saw there. Gone was the dark blonde hair that had graced her head and swung to the middle of her back. Her crown and glory, long since fallen out when she’d spent hours hugging the commode in the hospital after the bags of drugs were empty. Instead, a fine mound of baby tuff glistened across her scalp. She ran her hand across the new locks.
“It will come back,” the doctor’s hushed voice comforted her, “as lovely as before.”
This book is available at AMAZON and BARNES and NOBLE. The forward is a riveting account from my then editor, Emmy Ellis who experienced a scare of her own. This book is dedicated to my mother, her sisters and all who have been touched by this dreaded disease. Please, make that appointment today.