Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Life After Breast Cancer...
As a young woman I didn't think too much about breast cancer. I figured that I would deal with it when I was older. I had time to figure it all out later, right? Well later came much sooner than I expected. Twenty came, and so did 30 yet I was young, not nearly old enough to battle breast cancer. How wrong I was! So I was in shock when I felt a lump in my breast. I was in even more shock when at 32 years old I was heard the words breast cancer as my own personal diagnosis. Suddenly breast cancer was bidding for an up close and personal relationship with me.
Breast Cancer? Someone had to be kidding right? No, no one was pulling my leg. I was too young. I was not ready to succumb to life with breast cancer, not at 32 years old. I wasn't ready to have my breast removed and thrown in the waste basket along with my chest wall. I mean that is exactly what happened. No, I wasn't ready to have the plastic surgeon inject 100 plus cc's of saline into my expander twice a week. That was crazy, right? But it was "our" plan of action even though it was absolutely painful beyond any words that I can describe here. Chemo wasn't my plan either nor did I really relish the idea of having all my hair fall out. But that is what happened. That is where life took me.
To the world I put on a brave face, but I did cry inside. I mourned and grieved over this change of events in my life. There were days that I felt I wasn't strong enough, brave enough to face the outside world. But I did and I did it everyday. I wasn't trying to pull anyone out of their comfort zone when I finally stood up to cancer. No, I learned to live with my new face to the world. Sure I didn't bother to put makeup on after my brows and lashes fell out. I gave up the wig and incorporated bandannas into my daily fashion. I was living with breast cancer. It was a statement to the beast. I was taking my life back! Honestly I found my strength in living out loud. After all I was still among the living even if I looked the walking dead. As time went on I adjusted to having one breast and no hair. Somewhere along the journey I found my true self and I grabbed hold of it as tight as I could. Life after breast cancer was just that... life. I lived and I am still living. In the days since I met this beast I have embraced my trials. No it hasn't been easy. But the truth is it is harder to fear the enemy than it is to dance with her.
True, I live with a new reflection in the mirror. Everyone's battle is different. But we are all SURVIVORS! I am survivor and I have found myself in a place where I don't fear the physical side of the beast anymore.Whether I liked it or not, life has changed. Breast cancer not only tore my life into pieces, it left me standing with the broom! So what did I do about that? Well, I dropped that broom for one! Threw it across the room and left it there. I ripped off the wig and shouted a war cry as loud as I could muster. Then I knelt down and took a good look at what was left of my life. To my surprise most of me was still there, scattered around the floor of my heart, but there all the same. I was Christina, a fighter, a pink warrior. I was not going to give in or give up! So gently, over time I have gathered up all those broken pieces. I found my voice, and accepted the new woman I had become and then I began the process of putting my life back together.
I won't say it been easy, it hasn't, that is for sure. Breast cancer is a BIG thorn in the side ,but life is still beautiful. There is so much life after breast cancer to be lived. Sure it may not be the same life I had before or the one I had hoped for. But it is my life, and my fight! I am not chained to this disease nor am I overcome by it. I live as a free woman. I am living life everyday, a day more than I had yesterday. The beast may stare me down, she may raise her claws to my chest, but breast cancer will never have me! I say... live free or die trying!