I could still remember waking up one day while getting ready to school, I felt the pain in my chest, near the nipple area. It was only on my left chest, but not the right chest. Being the ignorant girl I just ignore it, after all this pain wasn’t unbearable. I later found out that this was actually the sign that my breast was going to be developed-I was going to grow into a young lady soon. Never did I think of asking why the pain is only on my left chest, but not the right chest? As days went by, my left chest was slowing developing into a breast, but my right chest still stayed flat. After some time only I realised that there was something wrong with my right chest- as it just never develop as my left chest has grown to be fuller- It was getting noticeable as time went pass.
Poland Syndrome – this is the name for the ‘physical sickness’ that has been haunting me all these years since my adolescent years. Poland Syndrome is a very rare birth defect that characterized by the underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle (pectoralis) on one side of the body , or webbing of the fingers of the hand (cutaneous syndactyly) on the same side (ipsilateral hand), mostly on the right side of the body.
Well,in my case is on the chest-the part of the body which has always be an important feature to females. Haven’t we always hear about the beautiful bosom that represent the womanhood? What my future life partner is going to think when he knew that I am a one breast female? He would probably ask me to enter either The Guinness Book Of Records or The Ripley’s Believe it or Not ! - for people would sure be very curious wanted to see the chest of one breast woman, many would probably can’t imagine how would it look like?? Will my future daughter inherit this syndrome? I will never have the chance to wear any apparel as I like in my whole life..These questions keep lingering in my mind as I was growing up, more and more intense..
The fear was getting greater as I was growing bigger. During the high school time I constantly have the fear of my classmates or friends will find out that I was such a “weird monster”. When come the time I had to wear the bra, I need to insert some cotton to make both breasts look balance. I never dare to bend down too low worry that people might see the white cotton inserted in my bra. I was very careful not to let anybody touch my right chest concern they may feel the very soft cotton in the bra, and caused their curiosity why it doesn’t feel like the flesh but the very soft cotton? I also very caution not to have too vigorous body movements fearful that the cotton might fall off from my bra.. There were just too much worries developed in me-made me become very self conscious and sensitive.
How I wish I could be as lucky as being the victim of this syndrome in other areas of my life – only one in every 100,000 birth, and it happens to males three times as much as to females ! I am the extremely rare female case! The chosen one, but unfortunately for the bad cause-for the rest of my life.
Finally I realised that I need to have to do a surgery to fix the problem permanently. I can’t keep inserting cotton into my bra. So I went to consult doctor with the help of my sister since I was just 15 years old. She brought me to see two doctors. The very first doctor examined my whole body- included my private part. I felt so shameful especially when I saw the face of the nurse-she thrown me a kind of look when the doctor instructed me to wide open my legs so that he could take a closer look at my private part. It was really awful! Well this doctor couldn’t conclude there was anything wrong that have caused this one- breast- only development in me.
The second doctor was specialised in plastic surgery. He didn’t explain to us that it was Poland Syndrome, he just suggested inserted an implant into my right breast to make it balance. It was a simple procedure which I could go back home after probably two or three hours after operation.
This procedure did make some improvement but there were one major problem- the implant will migrate upwards after some years that it made my breasts look unbalanced. Besides the implant also look and feel very hard-like a rock. It didn’t look and feel soft at all. This doctor never tell us of this problem-it was either he doesn’t know or he didn’t want to tell. After all he was not a reputable doctor nor from a trusted hospital. It could also be that he didn’t know the best solution to fix this problem permanently.
I had practised to become a good pretender during my adolescent years. There was this ‘girl talk times’ where we will ‘peep’ at our girl friends’ body without their approval first-just to find out if their bodies look the same as their own. This happened to me once-one of my girl friends peeped into my shirt and exclaimed – “Wow ! What a roundish breast you have got!” As she saw the top part of my chest. I felt like thank God she was too young to know about this Poland Syndrome thing.
Those vigorous sports such as running caused me anxiety as well as I was so afraid my classmates will ask me – “How come your right breast aren’t bouncing when you are running?” I had prepared an answer which I thought was a very safe answer – “Yeah, I was wearing a bra that was made of thick material with good wire support-as I don’t want it to bounce when we run-it look awful.” Well I have never had the chance to use this answer to anyone as I was not active in sports.
I recall during my working times I had to be very selectively wear those clothes that were not too tight fitting so that it wouldn’t look like there was a rock hanging on my right chest. I was also very careful not to let anyone touched my right chest as surely they would feel of it’s hardness. One of my ignorant sisters had teased me for that, and she probably did not realise that her remarks were like pouring salts onto a wound.
There for second time I went to consult the same plastic surgeon and he told me that this will keep happening and there was no solution to prevent this from happening. This time around I have grown into an adult and was more than determined to solve this problem once and for all. I went to the two most reputable hospitals in the country and chosen the two top plastic surgeons judging from their academic, experience, knowledge of my problem, and most importantly their proposed solution to me. I finally chosen a doctor whom was the one told me that I was having this rare Poland Syndrome. He proposed to do a breast reconstruction that involved two breasts.
Almost 10 years have passed now since that surgery. I was grateful that I had met this doctor and it seem like he has solve my problem once and for all, no more surgery and I could live normal just like any other normal women. Though I wouldn’t say that it was a perfect surgery as it doesn’t look perfect from some angles. Well I guess I shouldn’t ask for more and quite contented about it. For those outsiders that do not know about my surgery when cover under clothing will probably think that I have such a perky beautiful pair of breasts. I do come across some ladies envied that I have such beautiful breasts. So did some of my intimate lover that complimented them-well.. only the normal left side with augmentation, not the right side that have the reconstruction though-after all they are being constructed from flat, I should be happy about it.
I would have thought that I could finally put this behind me and be confident of myself, but the damage done has been too deep and I still have some concerns telling the man in intimate relationship with me if they mind of this man-made part of me. I still believe the natural is the best as they look and feel very soft and has the feel of the real flesh as compared to those done through plastic surgery.
Relationship has not been easy for me as this has become a burden to me. I will always ask myself-will he still like me if he knew about this? I also appear to be aloof as I was having this naïve thinking that I am going to choose the one that would still come after me despite to my aloofness- Well.. you can guess that what kind of man I got.. My low self esteem has resulted me missing lots of opportunity either in career or personal life. I could still remember my very first special boyfriend was asking me why my right breast looked bigger than the other one-under my clothing. I have forgotten how I answer him. He was really puzzled of this weird behaviour of mine but before I could explain to him- he has decided to marry someone else instead, as he took my aloof attitude as not interested in him. For God sake those reaction was due to my low self esteem.
The fear developed in me since young has become so great that made me a very negative person. It had affected me in all areas of my life and haunting me for years, even till today. I am like a fighter that has been fighting with what destiny has imposed on me. My mother had me during the time when she was very weak physically and she had tried to abort me in some manners has resulted me being not that strong physically, and also doesn’t has a very pleasant appearance. I had slightly protruded yellowish teeth, yellowish skin and ache skin. All these I had rectified it the best I could and they were easier to rectify as compare to Poland Syndrome-which cost me lots of cash.
Today if I were to dress myself up and walk on the street, I could notice people admired me with their eyes. This has brought me some reliefs-after all the struggles all these years. Now that I am 40 years old, though still look good at this age compare to most of my counterparts, but I can see the change of hormone due to age, the tiny spots on my cheek and my skin is quite dry at times. When I thought I had finally solved all the birth problem on my appearance and start to look beautiful, the signs of aging has been quietly coming in.. Just like the Chinese proverb- the sunset is extremely gorgeous but unfortunately the night is falling…
I am a born fighter and a creative sculptor. I changed some of my facial expression to a more desirable one without the surgery nor the consultation from plastic surgeon. This is the inborn talent I have, I guess, and my crave for all things beautiful. I am an artist-as suggested by the astrologer from my date of birth and time. Ironically I am a total contradiction- I crave for all things beautiful but I am born not only not a beauty, but not even normal! This is especially difficult when come to relationship. I crave for those very eligible bachelors but yet I am not confident they would like me enough to accept me for what I am. My low self esteem caused me appear to be arrogant and showed no interest in them. What a stupid thinking and who knows I was crying inside of me.
The strings of perceived failures both in career and personal life have exhausted me in many ways. At certain points of time I felt like I no longer have the energy to carry on with my life anymore. I was merely being existing but not alive. By delving more into spirituality I have come to know spiritual healings such as yoga, meditation, writing therapy, drawing therapy which help to release the pains in me. Amazingly it works! I shouldn’t had swept it under the carpet and pretend it was not there. It has to be released outward, not repressed inward.