About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Learning to LOVE the Skin We’re in (Dents and All)

What is the first word which comes to your mind when you think of a car wreck? How about destruction, devastation, crippling, marred, out of commission, shot to pieces? Any of the above ring a bell? Well the truth is being diagnosed with breast cancer is basically like a car wreck. Maybe you didn’t see it coming or you may have indeed had notice but the fact is you are still sliding into this situation, this pile up of crushed hopes and dreams in slow motion helpless to stop any of the careening chaos ahead.

Breast Cancer, two words that slice through your heart, bringing devastation and hardship beyond any nightmare Freddy on Elm Street could ever cook up! A three alarm fire has erupted, and you are tied down at the very center of its flames! Being suddenly thrown into the Big C can take away your ability to respond or cope with anything else. You may feel impaired, on the ropes, out of gas, paralyzed, and just plain afraid, anxious, frightened and apprehensive. By the time the Big C has had her way with you and your body I can tell you from my own experience in the drivers seat life can become very turbulent. So let’s get real for a few seconds, past all the “I am hope” spiel; having your breast whacked off then thrown into the incinerator is just ludicrous certainly not a walk in the park. Once you get past the idea of saying goodbye to your boobie you are well on your way to placing an expander inside your chest, a technology wonder of wonders, where a breast used to be. Finally after letting your boobie go you're under the influence of replacing what once was.  Stretching your skin till you scream just to fit your brand new, better than ever, first class, absolute perfection of an implant that will make you whole again right? Presto, you are complete with a sparkling, bouncy, very perky one sided boobie, but what does this really mean anyway? A new boobie, is what! Can I get a hallelujah and pass the potatoes? Alright the truth, the  deep down and dirty, nitty gritty gravy sopping truth is this: Your new boobie is nothing like the real thing, there is nothing remotely familiar about out of the box boobie, it’s not a bigger and better boob, and it won't make you feel whole or complete just because it's shaped like a breast. Any salesman trying to offer you perfection wrapped up in misery is not worth your time. My advice is to be sure you begin moving briskly towards the door and the opposite direction of a dotted line until you have faced your inner mirrior. A new boobie is great, but in order to be whole, to feel complete you have to accept the new you, dents, dings and scars. Before you jump in feet first you MUST be comfortable in your own skin, missing boobie and all.

Truth is I lost my boobie, my hair, eye lashes, and eye brows at 32 years old. Sure everything came back better than ever, without any help I might add, with the exception of my boobie! Learning to love the skin I am in has been a process. Being comfortable with who I am, as a one boobed, thirty something woman has been an adventure let me tell you! I have stood in the mirror many times, tracing over my long, somewhat faded scars stretched across my chest, across both breasts and down under my arm. I have felt the fear of disfigurement, as if a crater had been dug out into my body, leaving me less of a woman so many mornings it wold make your head spin  facing the bathroom mirror. I would not be honest if I didn't tell you I have sunk to the bottom of my shower, with tears in my eyes, asking God how this could be fair anywhere , in any universe He had control over. I have felt disgusting, grotesque, hideous, homely, repulsive, ugly, unattractive as if I am defect, tarnished and corroded.

I have looked at my life as a car wreck many times, surveyed the dents and the dings, contemplated having my life towed off to the junk yard, scraped and left for worthless parts but the real honest to goodness truth is I am not hopeless, I am not a heap of trash or a pile of rusty old lifeless scrap metal. Sure my life has been interrupted by the Big C but it was not relinquished because cancer interrupted my life for a few unsolicited messages! What my life was and could have been was shaken to the core, tossed around and left for the buzzards. Life after the Big C has been a day to day, stop and go, hit the breaks, running low on gas, push, pull and tow kind of journey but the thing is this friends the life I lead now is right where I need to be, where I landed, on my feet, in God’s hands, with a wider view of life’s ups and downs and yes a few more puzzle pieces to snap in place along the road, but full of life, full of joy even in a make shift, rusted old car!  I may have some extra dents I hadn’t planned on, but just like Mater in Cars 2, when he is offered a chance to fix what the world sees as imperfections, I am OK with keeping my dents perfectly in place. Sure I may be a simple tow truck, rusted and banged up, full of unsightly dents, one head light missing with a dilapidated old fender and no hood but just like Mater, “You can’t touch my dents”. I may not have made every dent with Lightening McQueen but I sure did get every one of these unsymmetrical, unappealing, yet radiant, life changing dents along this journey, this adventure of sorts in the company of so many wonderful companions and compatriots.

Together we have created these radiant, ravishing, extremely beautiful imperfect dents in life, they are truly memorable memories, remembrances that inspire us, challenge us to rise above our own idea of perfection allowing our lives to become a narrative, a story, a tragedy turned into good fortune, a blessing, a miracle handing us  triumph over the defeat of a Big C's diagnosis. We no longer have to give in, succumb, surrender, and yield to defeat just because we have a new dent on the exterior canvas of life. Instead, I challenge you to embrace the “dents” life brings your way, whether cancer creates them or not. Stop for just one second and realize them dents are valuable friend! Just like our old friend Mater, go ahead love those dents, be crazy about ‘em, be crazy for ‘em, be crazy over ‘em, be mad about ‘em, go nuts over ‘em , be stuck on ‘em, be wild about ‘em and cherish each dent you have acquired because when all is said and done, each one indeed has made you uniquely you!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Christina,

    Your posts are so heartfelt and such a great resource for others batting cancer. Through your blog you reach out to a number of people, and by sharing your experiences as part of our national movement of breast cancer survivors, you could be reaching out to millions of lives touched by cancer.

    Please consider joining us and helping us better support women, both emotionally and socially, throughout their breast cancer journey.


    Best of luck to you!


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