"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Facing my reality head on

I have seen a few photos online of what various reconstruction surgeries look like, but I haven't really looked at them.  I figured it was time to face this as soon enough it will be my reality and I need to prepare myself.  I don't know that you can ever really be prepared for something like this, but I need to try anyway.

I am fortunate to have found a wonderful online community of breast cancer patients and survivors who share their experiences, thoughts, fears and even photos of their journey through breast cancer.  In that online support group so many courageous, gracious women have shared their most intimate photos.  I finally got the nerve to go and look.  I sat there on the couch with my laptop nervous to even look.  I opened the website and began to feel my heart beat deep in my chest as I opened the first post with photos.  I sat there going through post after post looking at photos as tears streamed down my cheeks.  I still can't believe this is going to really happen to me. 

Many of the photos were right in the middle of the process or right after the process was completed.  I keep trying to imagine looking down and seeing the same thing on my chest and not freaking out.  I wish there were photos of a year or two down the road so I could see the final result after the healing is complete and the scars are faded.  For now, it looks so scary.  I just can't imagine that will be my body. 

Some of the women got pretty good results and other not so good.  I keep wondering how my results will compare.  What if I have very horrible results?  I will have to live with that or have it done all over again to correct it.  I know it's only under my clothes, but how do I feel whole again?  How do I feel like an attractive woman again?  I worry about all of these things and I just can't help myself.  I know it's "what's inside" that counts, but I have to face my life being permanently disfigured now and emotionally that's hard.  I keep wanting to have faith that my surgeon can create a miracle and make me look really good, but I don't want to be disappointed. 

Breast cancer is so overwhelming it seems to reach every part of your soul.  It's not just about losing breasts.  It's about re-evaluating your life, your thoughts, your relationships.  It's about fear, faith, courage and hope.  It's about love and life.  It's about dreams.  It's life changing on so many levels that all of those thoughts on top of the difficult decisions you need to make and the painful procedures/treatments you need to go through, just paralyze your ability to cope some days.  It would be difficult enough to just deal with breast cancer, but it effects everything in every aspect of your life. 

I know this is a long and tough journey on a very bumpy path.  I keep asking myself "what am I going to get out of this?".  There has to be more to it than I can see right now.  It's a journey of the body and soul.  I want to believe that in all of this, there will be something positive and good.  I want to believe that breast cancer will bring something amazing into my life in some strange way.  I do believe that all things happen for a reason but sometimes it takes years to figure out the reason.  I hope in time I can sit back and know the meaning in all of this and be a better person in my soul. 

For now, I am trying to face my reality.  I guess I can't really know what my reality will be until I live it.  The photos were just someone else's reality and that won't be the same as mine. I just have to assume and believe that in the end, my reality WILL be good.  My new boobies will be "fabulous", right?

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