I’m planning on a preventive double mastectomy in about six weeks and am keeping it a secret. In fact I don’t intend on revealing to anyone this procedure even long after I’m fully recovered.

You should never feel pressure to tell anybody that you’re going to have a prophylactic double mastectomy.

It Usually Goes As Follows …
• A woman learns she’s at high risk for breast cancer.
• She’s told she qualifies for either a risk-lowering drug such as Tamoxifen, or a double mastectomy.
• Before making the choice, she reveals this information to family and/or friends, even coworkers.
• Now “everybody” knows. But she’s okay with that; she can’t imagine keeping this a secret.
• She chooses the prophylactic double mastectomy – and wastes no time sharing her choice with “everybody.”
• She hungers for the emotional support, the endless questions and comments.
• She’d be lost without all those around her knowing about her very personal situation.

If you’re suffering anxiety over the idea of telling those in your life that you’re going to have a preventive double mastectomy, realize THIS:

It is perfectly okay to keep it a secret!

That’s what I’m doing. After learning my sister had breast cancer, I underwent a risk assessment.

My risk was quantified and is in the range of “eligible” for a preventive double mastectomy.

“Preventive” should actually be replaced by “risk-lowering,” but because “preventive” is a highly searched keyword, I’m using it.

Anyways, I’m keeping my preventive double mastectomy a secret. My parents will never know.

I have no coworkers because I’m a blogger.

I have no close friends (I think I have mild Asperger’s), but if I did, I STILL would not be able to fathom telling them about this exceedingly personal situation.

I refuse to tell my siblings other than one of my brothers. You see, I have NO choice but to tell this brother because I need someone to drive me to and from the hospital.

The hospital policy is that they will not perform the surgery unless, pre-operatively, I have someone with me who confirms that they will be driving me home the next day.

I will tell my brother that I will have his head if he ever reveals my secret to any other living creature.

He doesn’t know yet; but next time I see him, I will explain it all (he has NO idea this is coming).

I won’t even tell the older sister who had breast cancer. Unfortunately – she was never a good sister to me.

Fact is, she was awful. A disease will never unite two adults who don’t think similarly enough to even justify sending holiday cards to each other.

I am doing just fine keeping my preventive double mastectomy plans a secret. I have strenuous gym workouts and my newly-found physical discipline – yoga – to be focused on.

A second brother also lives nearby —he, his wife and three young kids. No way will I tell him or my sister-in-law.

My elderly parents both have heart conditions and my mother worries excessively about her kids. It would be of zero benefit to tell them my secret! Z-E-R-O.

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What my body can DO and how healthy and fit it is,
is far more important than having breasts.

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This is one of the reasons I’m bypassing reconstructive surgery! My natural breast size is sub-A cup. In baggy tee-shirts it sometimes looks like I’ve had a double mastectomy anyways – this is why nobody will be able to tell anything is different post-operation.

All I need do to conceal the double mastectomy is wear this particular bra that I’ve always had that has pre-formed A-cups made of stiff material.

If this bra were on a perfectly flat mannequin, the cups would still be in the shape of “A” sized breasts. If I wear this bra post-breast removal, nobody will have a clue.

In all seriousness, the only way anyone will ever know I’ve had the prophylactic mastectomy is if I blab it to them.

I will not feel that “a part of me” is missing once I have the surgery. There is zero psychological component to any of this. It is a 100 percent medical situation.

In fact, right now my biggest concerns are the general anesthesia and the surgeon telling me I won’t be able to return to the gym for six weeks. I’m also anxious about the postoperative pathology analysis, even though there have never been any clinical or imaging abnormalities.

Why should I tell anyone about a most private, personal situation? I just want to awaken from the surgery and be hitting the barbells ASAP and kicking a heavybag and trail running after the stitches come out – life going on as usual.

Do not feel guilty about keeping your preventive double mastectomy a secret. But I do realize that for some women this will be more difficult.

If you’re surrounded by many coworkers; if you have naturally large breasts; if everyone normally sees you wearing low-cut clothing – these factors will play into the ability to keep your double mastectomy a secret.

But remember this: You do NOT owe this personal information to anybody (except your driver!).

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.