I have a confession.
My last blog was originally written 4 months ago. I finally had the guts to publish it a few days ago, but now I must admit that this whole "peace process" isn't easy. Just when I think I've moved on and life has returned to "normal", I somehow regress.
It's nothing specific that causes this....no awful medical news, no major life events. In fact, life is pretty hunky dory. I've been back to work part-time at my corporate America job by day while freelance writing for a friend, and selling Ava Anderson Non-Toxic products. (More to come on that one!). And even though my head is spinning sometimes, I am enjoying working again and keeping busier than ever....proof that there IS life after breast cancer. Thank you!
Life is moving forward and that feels good. But every so often, I start to feel really shitty about these implants. Having reconstructed breasts is strange and sometimes I feel like a store mannequin with the wrong body parts. Having implants after a mastectomy is not what people think it is. Dealing with ignorant questions and comments also makes this more difficult (thankfully, this rarely happens). Some people actually look at this as a "boob job" when nothing could be further from the truth. Being asked "Why didn't you go bigger?" or "See, you got the boobs you always wanted!" really does not help. This "boob job" is the result of cancer; not exactly the "fun" kind of plastic surgery. If I had my way, I'd take back my A cups any day of the week.
I always feel like I have to explain myself here so I'll do it again. Here is my obligatory declaration of gratitude:
I'm grateful to be alive and cancer free. I'm grateful I could even HAVE reconstruction, as some cannot.
Yes, yes, yes. Grateful, Grateful, Grateful. BUT, it all just feels so......
WRONG. That's the word. Wrong. My body feels WRONG.
It feels odd, out of place, something-just-isn't-right kind of wrong. Like something is always strapped to my chest or I'm wearing 15 bras at once. And that feeling is never going to go away. From the outside, everyone says I look great and "you would never know".
But I know. And what I know is, this is not how I thought it would be, even after talking to so many women who have been through it. No one ever mentioned how strange it all feels. Why? I can't possibly be the only one feeling like this, can I? Could I be THE only girl who feels like a Smart Car with monster truck-sized tires?
(This is no indication of how big my new ones are, just an analogy of something that is ill fitting, got it?).
Which is why I am taking a chance by publishing this blog. To let you fellow Pinkies out there know that if you, too, feel "wrong", then it's OK. Sometimes we are too afraid to talk about these feelings because we fear that we may sound ungrateful. Well, here's a reality check for you. Having your breasts removed from your body is not normal. Having implants is not normal. Just because thousands of women are doing it to save their lives, still doesn't make it normal. No one should ever feel guilty for missing some previously beloved body parts that were surgically removed. Give yourself permission to miss them. And give your spouse permission too, because they are also grieving the old you. And that's OK too. They are allowed, just as you are.
I don't know when my Wrong self will feel Right again. I hope sooner than later. In the mean time, I will accept this as part of the journey (God, I really am tired of that word!) and I hope that my new tires will help me to keep moving forward.