When I made the promise to myself to chronicle my cancer experience, I knew it wouldn’t always be easy. This was the day of my surgery- possibly my first surgery, possibly my only surgery. Daughter was scared and began texting me soon after she found out I was awake, so I grabbed my phone, took a photo and sent it without looking to show her that I had made it just fine. She never wrote me back.
What I realized in a quiet conversation with her the next day was that she was terrified by my photo. Why? I wanted to know. I’m smiling- I remember! Apparently, I look nothing like myself. I look scary. I look sick. I’ve spent so much time telling her I’m ok that she believed me, and when I actually looked sick she got scared.
That’s just it. I’ve been telling everyone, “I have cancer; I’m fine. It’s small. It isn’t a big deal.”
I’ve been lying.
I’m not fine. It hurts. A lot. I’m nauseated from anesthesia. I’m tired because I’m not able to be comfortable long enough to sleep. I’m cranky. I want people to stop looking st me like I’m broken but I want them to take care of me. I’m really not at all a good person right now. This isn’t really like me and I couldn’t figure out why.
What I’ve finally realized is that it’s all coming from the fact that my surgery, which was supposed to be so kino it wasn’t going to be noticeable, became noticeable. I look different. It may not be easy for others to see in my clothes, but it’s easy for me. And boy is it easy to see out of my clothes.
Now, I’ve been a person who doesn’t even look at myself because I hate how I look so much as long as I can remember. So why should it even matter? Why do I care? I don’t have answers to these questions yet, all I have is fear. Anger. Frustration. The continued “what ifs” about the future of my breasts. So I’ll keep sitting here and opening up to this screen and trying as best I can to figure out why I feel all of these feelings and why I had to get something as stupid as cancer.