Trying to find the words for this post is difficult.
When Chris and I got together, I was so paranoid. Paranoid because I ALREADY had scars. A big one on my back. A pretty sizeable one on my left breast. Both from cancer. I knew he thought i was beautiful, but when I took of my clothes, I wanted the lights off or I would place my hand 'just so' so he wouldn't see the scar on my chest. He finally confronted me about it. He said that he doesn't even SEE the scars--he just sees me, and i'm beautiful.
When I came home from the hospital after the mastectomy, that first night i got into the shower, I wasn't afraid to look at my chest, but I was afraid of what he would think. I had mentally prepared myself for the ugliness, but I just wasn't sure if he had. I have mentioned before that I took off my nasty, 1920's-era holster they had me in, and just looked at myself in the mirror. I didn't feel like crying about it. I wasn't shocked at what I saw. It was ugly. Just like I expected. I didn't look at Chris.
I got into the shower and just stood there. Chris was standing right outside the shower, with the curtain opened, just making sure I wouldn't fall. I couldn't do anything. I was completely incompetent. I couldn't pick up the soap. I couldn't OPEN the soap. I couldn't pick up or open the shampoo. I just stood there and let the water wash over me. And he stood there. And he washed my hair. And he helped me wash my body with all those damned drains coming out of it. And he told me I was beautiful. But when your boobs look like Quasimodo cast offs, your mind doesn't hear it.
And, now that i'm mobile...now that i can get dressed and I can put on makeup and I can fix my hair (because i couldn't for a long time), I thought that would fix it. I thought my mind would catch up, and I'd go...woo! I'm beautiful. But I don't feel that way. I don't look in the mirror very often. If I do, I'm scrutinizing these lumpy rocks on my chest. I'm checking out the skin peeling away from the 5.5" scars I have across each side, or the bright pink holes I have on my sides where the tubes were. I see the dark, purple ink that stained my skin and is being protected by the glue that still hasn't been shed. It's not pretty. At all. There's nothing pretty about it.
The hurt from it is ugly, too. The pain of it...it just makes it uglier. I've never in my life been through anything this painful. Somedays, I seriously just want to lie in bed and cover up. But lying down hurts. I know it's temporary...but this is a long temporary, and it starts to weigh on you. I've been taking baths at night, because the hot water helps to relax my chest muscles. I keep a wash cloth over my chest because I just don't want to look at it. And I get out, and i dry off, and i get dressed. Because I don't want to look at it. I'm not trying to ignore it. I know it's there. But sometimes, if I don't look, I forget. And I feel normal. For just a minute.
My daughters stare at me. I try not to get dressed in front of them...not because I don't want them to see what cancer is, but because I don't want them to hurt any more from this. Jenna's getting better, but just seeing my chest...you can tell it makes her uneasy. Clairey did a Family Tree for Girl Scouts. Underneath each person, she had to write something about them. Chris' said, "He likes football!" Jenna's: "She loves Monster High!" Mine:
"She has cancer."I want them to see me like they did before.
This is awful for them, just as it is for me. Chris has had to take on so much. SO MUCH. And he hasn't complained at all. And through all this ugliness, every day, at least once, Chris tells me I'm beautiful. Not because he has to, but because he believes it. And because of him, I'm starting to believe it, too.
I know i'm beautiful on the inside. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. But for the love of all that is good and holy. I'm so ready for this shit to be over with.
Cancer. It's such a pain in the ass. And can you believe, after ALL this crap we've gone through, it STILL feels surreal???
I'm ready for this summer...when this will all be behind us, and I'll be floating in my pool with my SPF 500+, and foobies in place of these stupid tissue expanders.