I’ve been hesitant to write this post, any post, really, because I’m in a crummy place right now. I’m still not ready to share what the next year and a half of my life is going to look like because I still have mjxed feelings of fear, guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, and a thousand other thinks swirling about in my mind. I saw my therapist today, though, and it’s become more and more clear what the blog is doing for me.
See, I’ve had comments from many friends- old ones, new ones, acquaintances from long ago, family and friends of friends, and complete strangers, telling me how brave it has been to share my cancer journey here. It’s really not, though. I don’t know how I’d make it through my days without it. I share here as a way to decompress, to somehow be heard and validated, to work through how I’m feeling. I know I can’t be alone in this and, while I know every person has her own unique journey and story to tell, I sometimes have the hope that by sharing mine someone else might find comfort.
So, I share, and today’s share is a hard one.
Saturday morning I did something I haven’t done in a very long time. As an obese person I generally avoid mirrors, especially when I’m not dressed. I looked at myself once after surgery to see the extent of my incisions. They were taped up but I got a good idea of how long each cut was. They were longer than I had imagined, but I wasn’t too frightened. While I could certainly tell that one breast was smaller than the other, what I saw in he mirror wasn’t horrifying or shocking. It was more of an annoyance than anything. As I healed I started going back to my regular underclothes and began needing to place things in one side of my bra. What I needed was a lot more than I originally expected. Still, I didn’t think too much about it. But on Saturday, as you’ve probably guessed, I looked in the mirror and what I saw was shocking to me.
So much more of me was missing than I had allowed myself to realize. I can tell you I stopped breathing for a moment. My face became hot. My lips tingled. I felt dizzy and sort of numb in my fingertips. My knees were weak. As fast as I could, I moved away and put on my clothes. I walked out to the kitchen, where Husband was making tea. He looked at me and, panicking, asked me what was wrong. In a whisper I told him, “I looked. I looked and I saw how much of me was gone.”
There are millions of ways he could have answered me, countless things he could have said and done, and there was no way to determine which one of those innumerable things was the right choice. He found it anyway. He said, “None of you is gone. Cancer is gone. You’re still here. And that’s all that matters to me.”
Yes, he said just the right thing and no, it didn’t fix everything. But it really helped. I sunk into a bit of my old depression over the weekend and am working to get out. As I do and as I move forward with everything that is going to happen to me, I’m going to try to keep this in mind. It’s not me who is going, it’s sickness. It’s what is debilitating, and it needs to be removed. The obstacles to me leading and healthy and manageable life are going to be taken away. At times I will feel like I am losing myself. I will feel “less than,” or chopped apart. I will feel undesirable and unlovable. I will feel like not me. What I need to remember is that I am what remains. I will find my true self, my healthy self, in this journey. And that’s all that matters to me.