A huge incision is where my right breast used to be. Six weeks ago, the word cancer was given to me. Now I look in the mirror puzzled. Things change so fast.
My little girls have lots of questions about my incisions, my pain, and the tubes coming out of my side. Yet they marvel that I sound just like me. I assure them, yes, I am still me. I am Mommy. I am woman. I am beautiful.
I read recently that some women embrace their scar with photo shoots or tattoos. Others reconstruct. Some do nothing, and the scar becomes their friend. Five days post-op, I waiver in indecision. Or maybe it’s the pain medication.
I gave breast cancer a personal nod or two in the past. I thought if it were me, how would I face it and how would it affect me as a woman? What does it mean to be a “survivor”? Now from the inside looking out, I have a few early but organic answers.
First of all, I have determined it is worthwhile, and a compliment to my Creator, when I treat myself with care. If that means more money on skin treatment and a time-out to paint my toenails, it’s okay. I don’t have to apologize to myself for spending money on things that make me pretty.
Secondly, I see the truth: I cannot please all of the people. What is it in my womanhood that shrinks at being anything but affable? I wash my hands of that. I can say no and go take a walk. People always judge what they do not know.
Finally, I surrender to need. I no longer want to stay level-headed, an easy date, a low-maintenance wife. If I need to just feel, I will. I have combated the emotional woman stereotype, but why? I am emotional. And it’s good.
Next month my hair may be falling out. I love my long, brown locks but have determined to get a blond, spiked wig. My girls are voting for pink.