Friday, May 20, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

I walked past the mirror the other day and realized that I am a cancer patient (survivor).

I had just never thought of it that way a visual way, I mean.  Of course physically I knew this only too well, but struggling through the physical part lately, I kinda forgot about the visual part.  Staring back at me was suddenly this woman who could have been on one of those  TV commercials for breast cancer.  And I stopped and stared for a few minutes and wondered how this all happened.

Cancer not only robs you of self-assurance and health for a while, this cancer also takes away your pride in your appearance and whatever physical beauty you think you may have.  The treatments leave you feeling sicker than when you began; and to add to the indignity, your hair falls off your head, your eyebrows and eyelashes follow, and if you wear no make-up, you look pale and colorless.  And to add to this, I now have no "profile" of femininity to see (my breasts). cancer is "showing".

When I go into a store, I see people taking peaks at me out of the corner of their eye.  When I look up, some will smile and some will just continue staring.  I hear children say to their mothers, "Mom, that lady has no hair!"  And now, I find I am very sensitive if anyone looks at my chest first before looking at my face.

I object because I am more than those things!  I am a person trying to keep her head above water and her sense of humor intact.  I am a person who looks at things more in a positive light than a negative one.  I am someone who is appreciative of each day and the people around me.  I am usually happy and good-tempered, and love my life...even during this fight with cancer.  But seeing these changes in me reflected in the mirror, I was pulled back into realizing that I am indeed a cancer patient (survivor).

I went back to my plastic surgeon today.  He took out the other two drains and started putting in fluid already!  My first big "pump-up".  It kinda felt like being a balloon and feeling like someone was blowing that air inside you.  Last night, as the pain was stabbing me on my sides and where the cutting was done, I thought, "I have to ask him to wait....I can't take more pain!"  But this morning, like every morning, the pain is not as bad and he did it so quickly ("It's because I am so good at this", he said...and he is!) that it was over before I could object.  I have to admit, I felt a little like I was gaining back some of my "profile" and some of myself as he was injecting the fluid.  One step closer to reclaiming my femininity.

I went back to the mirror and then could see a proud woman who is also a strong fighter.  Someone who has plenty of stories to tell and a hint of laughter in her eyes.  I could finally say, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall...who's the fairest of us all?"  And the answer?  Well, (LOL) it's not me!  But I am a close second.  I am a cancer survivor and I am ME!

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