I find it interesting that ever since my diagnosis, I have found that I have an improved body image. Sure I am carrying a few more pounds than I would like, but I am proud of the way my body looks. I rocked the buzz cut! Now with my hair patchy and falling out, I find myself dressing up a lot more to go out. When I visit friends or go to doctors appointments, I wear nicer cloths and dangly earrings. I’m getting a bit obsessed about buying different things to wear on my head that (get this) actually compliment the clothes that I’m wearing. I’ve never been that fashion conscious before!
But each day, I also read Facebook posts in the amazing Flat and Fabulous group about women who are afraid to walk outside their doors after surgery. They are constantly worried cautious about how they look. They fight every day with negative body images, and struggle because they don’t want ‘yet one more surgery’ to clean things up. Some live in physical pain, while others the pain is mostly emotional. They struggle every day.
This worries me. I have never been happier with my body. So I’m worried about what it will look like after surgery, but also what the surgery will do to my sense of body image. I want to keep this feeling I have now. I don’t want it to ever go away. I want to always be proud of my body, and happy with my body the way it is.
Since my diagnosis, and I started this blog, I’ve used the expression “my breasts are now public domain”. I talk freely about them. I have even posted an MRI picture of the cancers in my left breast. If I were back in Ottawa I would have asking all my girlfriends to feel my left breast, so that they too would know exactly what breast cancer ‘felt’ like (as part of my public service announcement). As an educator, I am now in a position to educate people about what it means to have breast cancer. But I have to highlight that I’m an exception to the rule. My self-confidence and my current body image is not the norm. For too many women this is an everyday struggle, and I find that sad. And everyday I hope that surgery doesn’t change my current view of my body image!