Thursday, July 25, 2013


Mike & I - Manitoulin Island 2011
Things were healing.  I still had some pain and was not supposed to lift anything, drive my car, or stretch too much.  I was feeling a bit more human again though and was thankful for that.

One day I finally took some time to just look at myself in the mirror.  The scars were not so bad.  Well not as bad as I thought they would be.  My chest was completely flat.  In fact almost concave with two large scars where my breasts used to be.  The skin had healed and was very soft to the touch.  Several times I had the experience of “phantom pain” and that was very strange and uncomfortable.  Sometimes people that have had limbs amputated have this but it is also true in the case of women who have had mastectomies.

Relaxing in the Rockies - Summer 1986
The body I had in my twenties is long gone and the concept of “body” has changed in my mind as well.  It used to be about looks in a very vain sort of way and feeling great and sexy and attractive to others.  It used to be about running around in a bikini with the confidence of youth and no worries that it would not always be like that.  The meaning of the word “body” changes as you get older both physically and by your own personal definition.  Mine had now shifted from vanity to survival.  This same body that has carried me through life was a bit broken down right now but with strength and determination and a prayer or too it should carry me through several more years.  However, the outward appearance did not matter as much as it used to.  For now anyway.

Right now it was the health of the inward part of my body that was paramount and the vanity part had to step aside for the time being.  Focus was now on moving forward and learning to live and accept that this was the body I now had.  So it might not be so pretty on the outside but I was here and alive and on my way to the post-cancer body.  I did the post-baby body too.  Women are pretty amazing that way.  The things our bodies go through in a lifetime is quite fantastic when you really think about it.  Plus all the emotional changes that go along with that.  My husband and my kids and my family and my friends were going to continue to love me no matter what I looked like.  I knew that now of course but when you are in your twenties running around the beach in your bikini you might not know that.  Or even think about it at all.  It would be the last thing on your mind.  So enjoy that and look after yourself and if you can wear short shorts or a teeny tiny bikini than I say go for it!
Tasza & I -Providence Bay 2003

Looking at myself right now in the mirror I realized how lucky I was to have access to the amazing surgeons and medical teams that took the cancer out of my body.  Rather than think about the fact that I had no breasts I had to turn that around and think that I had no cancer.  Definitely a positive.  Plus I kept coming up with the positive things about not having boobs.  I had to.  It made me feel better and helped with the adjustment and mental and emotional shift to the post-surgery body I was looking at in the mirror.

I came up with my own David Letterman Top Ten list on why it was good to not have to worry about boobs:

  1. You can save money on bras.
  2. You can use the bra drawer for something else now.
  3. No worries when running about getting a black eye.
  4. No under-boob sweat marks in hot weather.
  5. You can shop in the kids department for shirts.
  6. Men now look you in the eyes.
  7. So much more comfortable lying on your stomach.
  8. You can get closer to the ground while doing push ups.
  9. No worries about “high beams” when you are cold.
  10. Less weight to carry around.

Sometimes when we look in the mirror we need to see more than what is right in front of us.  We are all so much more than that.

Mirrors - Justin Timberlake


Thanks for reading and for your support!