My name is Toni. Oluwatoni Ajagbe. I am a sixteen year old female.
A lot of people ask “what happened to your right arm?”
‘Oh, I had an accident as a child and the doctors had to hack that part off.’
As much as many of them believe that statement, I startle them with the concluding part of the sentence.
‘I was just kidding, I was born this way.’
That however is not the only abnormality I was born with.
I can remember how I had felt pain on my chest a few years back, close to the nipple. However, this pain was limited to the left part. Although, the pain wasn’t so bad, I wasn’t one to joke with my body.
“It’s probably signs that you would be developing breasts soon”, my mother had said.
I however didn’t mention the fact that it was on only one part I felt the tenderness. Days and months went by and my left breast was slowly developing into a breast but my right chest remained flat and with time, it was beginning to bother me.
A part of feminity was attached to the mammary glands and here I was, with just one. Did it mean I was half man?
I was born with a condition called Poland’s Syndrome. It is a very rare condition where the pectoral muscle in the chest is absent or underdeveloped; it’s also the reason why my right arm is incomplete.
As much as I loved the stories of bush-babies and the famous Miss Koi-Koi, this condition made it impossible for me to attend boarding school. My friends would find out that I was a one-breasted beast. Cotton pads have been my companion, if not for those, it would be impossible to create balance and despite the false appearance, I kept away from everyone. I can’t answer questions on why my right breast felt like cloth and not tissue and flesh.
I hated sports days. There was that fear of the cotton pads falling out, and my well kept secret would be blown out in the open like the fowls nyash. So I feigned sickness or hid in the bathroom.
V-neck shirts? Strapless dresses?
They are not welcome in my wardrobe but hey, I could do with several turtle necks and T-shirts.
The syndrome occurs in only one out of one-hundred thousand (100,000) births and occurs three times as much in males than females. And I happen to be the extremely lucky one chosen, such ill-luck.
My self-esteem has been battered by this deformity.
Last week, my mother and I were at the doctor’s, I could not keep inserting cotton into my bra. There had to be a permanent solution, maybe a concoction, or an hormonal injection, something had to do the trick. The doctor we saw examined my entire body. It was an awful experience as no part of my body was left out. The doctor however could not figure out any plausible reason for the single breast development.
I was referred to another doctor who explained my condition.
“An implant would be appropriate” she said as if it were a very simple procedure.
I still haven’t given my consent.
If I have implants, won’t that be living a fake life?
If I decide to keep living like this, what does the future hold?
Restricted fashion sense?
What would my life partner think of me?
It’s a tough decision for me, I’m only sixteen.
What do you suggest I do?