In a blog post published this morning, celebrated author Judy Blume—the writer behind classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing—revealed that she has undergone a mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis in early June.
A biopsy of dense breast tissue revealed invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), in its early and small stages. Accounting for 80% of cases, IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine; the tumor forms in the duct and infiltrates the fatty tissue of the breast. Blume, 74, writes that she could have opted for a lumpectomy and radiation but instead chose a mastectomy and reconstruction with a silicone implant.
And of course, because this is Judy Blume, she writes with candor about the effects of the surgery on her body, relating her thoughts to those of the girl who is perhaps her most famous creation:
I have small breasts (a la Margaret Simon). A-cups? The breast surgeon asked at our first meeting. She nailed it. I told her the exercises didn’t work for me. Not sure she got my attempt at a joke. Like Margaret I used to think bigger was better. But my dense, small breasts aged well. They stayed perky while other body parts sagged. I’d become quite fond of them. Still, the idea of mastectomy wasn’t a difficult emotional decision for me (again, these are very personal reactions and decisions). Maybe because my breasts have never defined my sexuality. Who knows?
Blume was able to spend the summer in Nantucket, Mass., where the movie version of her novel Tiger Eyes received a film festival screening. However, a suppressed immune system kept her from doing book signings and, one month after her surgery, she has only recently been given medical permission to type for up to an hour at a time. She is now hoping to get back to working on her latest novel. Read her full blog post, including her advice for others with breast cancer (members of what she calls “The Club”) and her gratitude to her husband and doctors, here.