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Double Mastectomy Survivor Told Not To Swim Topless

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 reconstructive surgery.

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 MailThis clearly reflects how politicized women’s bodies and breasts are in our culture.”


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8:42PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012


4:56AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

I hope to our higher power I never go thru what this woman did and she has a lot of courage. However, things could have also been handled differently from the "get go". She was interviewed TOPLESS on local TV and her surgery scars were clearly visible. I understand that she had a choice for reconstructive surgery and declined. That WAS her choice. Now, while I think she still has a right to swim in the pool and the discomfort of wearng a bathing suit top is an issue, seems there should be alternatives if it's going to cause an issue with other "patrons". She could wear a light tank top or some other covering. I'm sure she doesn't go out topless in public everywhere. She definitely DID have enough "different" about her (including a male's haircut) to create attention. Maybe they could let her swim when the pool was not open to others.........give her her own special time?

1:58AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

I guess some things are just over sensitive. funny how in the movies, it's "offensive" to show naked men, but they show naked women on a regular basis. Yet, a man can go "topless" but women can't.

I think people need to get a grip.

7:32AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Somewhere, there's a "standard", along which everybody else is compared to. For some that standard is themselves, very narrowly defined. For others, that standard is a bit wider group. For still others, that group keeps getting wider. Until that group includes most of the society, minus the ones who reject the wider society standards.

4:36AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Maybe something similar to the height ruler for the kids riding on a ferris wheel? The women wanting to enter the pool area would have to line up against a wall, with another ruler perpendicular to the wall to measure breast size. "Yep, this woman can use the pool, but that one cannot". Ridiculous.

4:17AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Maybe there's a "nipple requirement' hidden somewhere in the public pool rules. Maybe breasts have to be present but, not too big as to be indecent but not too small either. Prudery makes for nitpicking on details: so many variations, so many use cases, it becomes cumbersome and ridiculous. Somebody must come out with a ruler to measure breasts? I once knew a woman who lost a nipple to cancer. What if a woman has breasts but no nipples? No breasts? One breast? More than two breasts? My research has shown me this is possible. What if a man doesn't have a penis, does it make him a woman? Two penises? Three legs? Two heads?

6:32PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

I don't see what the big deal is

6:26PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

@Debra G. Every guy swims topless and many of them would forego wearing their trunks as well if permitted to do so. Quite frankly, I don't care if people swimming have clothes on or not. I do, however, draw the line when it comes to the ones too lazy to get out of the pool and go to the restroom when they should. NOW, that is nasty!

3:28AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Shan, that has been brought up now for a very long time, and you've just brought it up again, so don't you think that as active as Jane B. is on Care.2 (she comments in many different topics/discussions) she should now be aware of it? People have been complaining about "disappearing" comments/posts for months and in the discussions, themselves. Maybe if Jane read comments instead of ONLY reacting, she'd be aware of it and take measures accordingly? I don't know, just a guess.

2:51AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Diane, why don't you be a good Care2 neighbor and explain the problem with latency the site has been having, instead of castigating Jane for something she may not know about? You and I are members of the "help" group, but not everyone here is.

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