By Tina E. Akouris
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When the dry cleaner asked Tina Akouris: “Are you pregnant again? No? After you had the boys, you were so slim. What happened?” it was yet another blow to her self esteem. Little did the cleaner know “Cancer happened.”
I’ve been borderline obsessive with how I look lately, analyzing what I wear several times before leaving my house, all in an effort to avoid being body shamed for my recent weight gain.
“Look at you, you’re pregnant!” a woman who works at my neighborhood community center recently shouted at me in front of my sons. I was embarrassed and wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.
This happens all the time. I’ve gotten comments from strangers, radiology techs, my dentist, a neighbor, the dry cleaner across the street, the ladies who own the neighborhood coffeehouse, and it’s all the same: They point at my stomach and make the “you look pregnant” comment.
“How can you not be pregnant?” the coffee shop owner asked, “when your arms and legs are so thin and your stomach is so big?”
The dry cleaner: “Are you pregnant again? No? After you had the boys, you were so slim. What happened?”
Three years ago this month, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. On Dec. 7, 2015, I had a lumpectomy at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. After 33 days of radiation therapy, I was put on tamoxifen, which I’ll have to take for 10 years.