The most challenging post I’ve ever written

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This is my chest, more specifically, my pectoral region.

Taking this picture is probably one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever done, because it reminds me of what it used to look like.

You see, I grew up with gynecomastia up until age 23. Gynecomastia (and I’m using the American spelling), is an enlarged male breast tissue.

My pediatrician thought it was fat and that I would grow out of it. And indeed, I was an overweight child, so there was a valid argument.

Nonetheless, I could tell by feeling my nipple that there was something odd. It didn’t feel like fat, it felt very hard.

Turns out, I had two golf-ball sized tumours in my chest.

They were benign fortunately, and when I was 23, I had them removed. (Not cheap! And there was no national health in the US.)

And yet, whilst the tumours are gone, the emotional impact of having carried them remains.

I am loathe to take my shirt off in public, and even in private, showing my bare self to potential partners sends me into a mild panic.

I look at this photo and see the misshapen nipple.

You might ask what spurred this on? Well, last night, SBS Dateline aired a fascinating story about Korean teenagers taking up plastic surgery to emulate their K-Pop idols. One guy claimed to have spent $30K to give himself “confidence.”

That scares me.

My surgeries (excess skin from weight loss and gynecomastia removal) cost $12K.

And I whilst I feel a bit more confident, I know that all the surgery in the world will never erase the past.

I wonder if they’ve learned that in Korea.

The 1 September Diary: Day 1

 

It’s sometimes amazing the things you say on radio.

On last Saturday’s The Full Catastrophe I promised something on air that would cause me to really confront one of the biggest issues I’ve dealt with for my whole entire life: my body dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia is when you have skewed version of how you look.

For me, it’s meant that I’ve gone through eating disorders at least twice in my whole entire life so far.

It was recommeneded to me by a medical professional some time ago that I start writing about it explicitly. And well, frankly, I figure why not do it publicly somewhat.

This week I’ll be writing and podcasting this journey through to Saturday 1 September.

Day 1 podcast