I am a breast cancer survivor. Chemo, bilateral and radiation were the tools with which I fought cancer and the first chapter of this journey I did not ask to take. Now I, not cancer, am writing the next chapter with my decision to have breast reconstruction.
Many people will say to someone like me, who is a survivor, why I would want put myself through another surgery. Even one of my doctor’s did not recommend that I have reconstruction. I should be grateful just to be “cancer free”, but what they do not understand is that you are never truly “free” in your mind of the disease. Your medical chart may say “cured or remission”, but your mind has a difficult time with those words. You have read all of the articles on your disease, the statistics and listened to the numerous stories from well‐intended people about some they knew who has died from cancer. So wiping that slate clean in your mind is not so easy. Time does help, but when you are staring in the mirror at a body you do not recognize and thinking about the disease that changed it, you just want to fight back again.
Cancer has in many ways redefined and changed my life both physically and mentally, but believe it or not some things for the better. I am a stronger woman now for what I have been through. There were lessons I needed to learn that only this journey could teach me. When I would be asked about my decision to have a reconstruction, I would give answers such as, clothes will fit better with breasts (true, they do); I am tired of wearing prosthetics (I am), or to improve my body image (which always has been bad). I just felt that those answers were not at the core of why I decided to have a reconstruction, too vain.
But it was not until one night as I was soaking in the bath tub of sea salt as I did during chemotherapy that it came to me, my authentic reason. The reason I am not scared of this really big operation. During the first part of this journey with cancer I was given no choice. I had to fight or die, but I do not have to accept the scars that cancer left behind. I can exchange them for scars of my own choosing. Coming to this conclusion gave me great comfort and if for nothing else I am able to tell anyone who asked me my authentic reason. My hope is that this will help me to back away from the morbid thoughts that enter my mind about cancer; to look in the mirror and see my choice not cancers battle ground. True strength comes from the tough decisions that must be made in ones life whether cancer of the body or cancer of the soul. I am a warrior survivor and am proud of it.
THIS IS A Survivor Friend that contributed to my blog.