A friend recently posted asking when was the last time you took a good look at your scars. I thought about that question all week. I look at them daily. Mostly to figure out how I can make sense of them, how to accept them. I stare and wonder if looking is the way push through the pain of how they look. I know all the posts about scars make us stronger, they are the story, or my favorite "a scar just means you were stronger than what tried to hurt you". But honestly those words are mute when you stand naked.
I can start with the mastectomy ones that remind me of cancer. The fear that cancer brought in my life and left me with a mark to show it had been there. I can move on to the scar that was left by a lump I found a few months after that my doctor removed in her office "just to be safe" another reminder that cancer was lurking and could be back. Or the burn mark that I got from cooking because I have no feeling in my chest any more which resulted in 2nd degree burn humorous in a warped way until I undress and look at the wound it left. My worse are the drain marks-painful from the keloids, extreme pain but the reminder of the awful drains is almost worse. The DIEP left the most pronounced scaring ever. Deep, bright, thick, painful marks across my breasts and belly leaving me looking like a rag doll. The images make them almost look good so in a way they help more then the mirror.
Alive but sew together to stay that way.
Someone once said to me "You are married why do you care about the scars". I think about that comment when my husband and I on the rare occasion are intimate and I wear a tank top because I am embarrassed of the scars not wanting him to touch them. Or when I go to change at the YMCA and run into a private area so no one sees what a mess I am. Or worse when I have to stand in front of a mirror naked and wonder how I got in that body. Scars are hard to look at think about when you are in line at the store and you see someone burned or scared you have to look away because you want to star but that would be rude. That is how I feel 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Add the eructating pain that keeps me up because of my keloids and you have an entire other element. Do not tell me this is purely cosmetic this is so much more than that.
Downer post for sure but as I go in for phase 2 which I know will addresses some of the scaring I can't help but focus on them which results in pain. And as they say "pain is meant to be felt". Breast cancer results in the amputation of our breasts by no means is an easy thing to deal with. Processing it, accepting it and pushing through takes years. It is easy to walk around covered up you may even forget for a moment but with my scars I can not. I feel them through clothes, they are bothered by certain tops that rub against them, hell I can't even wear certain underwear because of the my stomach. So yes the cleavage looks great, but the size is too big and the scars are too deep. You can have the cleavage.
I didn't ask for this road I am just navigating my way down it through the bumps. I am figuring out which shoes to wear and how to walk because trust me when I say this changed my confidence level. Adjusting to the new takes time. I just hope I have enough shoes to get me through this because it requires a lot of attitude!