Double Mastectomy Survivor Told Not To Swim Topless
Breast cancer is a nasty disease.
It takes women’s breasts, dignity, sexuality and often their lives.
Jodie Jaecks is a survivor of breast cancer. 15 months ago she found a
lump during a routine self exam, and afterwards faced a barrage of
treatments and surgeries – one of which resulted in her having two thick
scars where her breasts used to be. Jaecks chose to have a double
mastectomy to treat her cancer, and decided not to opt for
After treatments, Jaecks wanted to take her life back and joined a
swimming pool to get back in to shape. Due to nerve damage, however,
Jodie wasn’t able to find a bathing suit top that didn’t leave her in
pain. She finally approached the pool management to ask if they would
object to her simply swimming topless.
At first pool management said yes. But when they reached a city
official, she was told that she had to wear “gender appropriate
clothing”. Jaecks found this ridiculous. “If I called myself a man and
walked into that pool they would have no problem with my body, but if I
am a woman who’s had breast cancer with the exact same body and I go
in there then it was offensive or inappropriate. I just thought that
was ludicrous,” she told the Seattle Pi.
Once her case started getting publicity, however, the City relented.
They told Jaecks she would be able to swim in the pool topless, and that
other requests would be reviewed on a “case by case basis”. Jaecks
never did go to the pool, though. “Everybody knows somebody
that has had cancer. It’s just so prevalent in our society and we
should be so far beyond when people feel shameful,” she said. “I think
it does throw it back on the individual for them to feel
self-conscious or shameful to ask them special permission.” A breast
surgery specialist in Sweden agreed, telling the Daily Mail “This clearly reflects how politicized women’s bodies and breasts are in our culture.”
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