Survivors, how many times have you heard this one?
Granted, I am happy to hear people say this to me, whether they’re just trying to be polite or genuinely mean it. Sometimes, though, on the inside, I don’t feel so fine.
My body on the outside looks normal. You would never know that I had been through a bilateral mastectomy and an oophrectomy. Looks certainly can be deceiving. I still don’t feel like me. But who am I supposed to feel like anymore? The old me is gone forever, and I am still healing in body and especially in mind. I still can’t do push ups, I always feel a muscle strain when I push on things with my arms, and when I sleep on my side or stomach, I feel like I’m on top of two stones. That part won’t change. I won’t even go into the hormones.
I think about the cancer and my new body everyday. I am sure that most other women do the same. I play the “why me” game, and the “I’m lucky” card. But all in all- this sucks. Yes, I’m lucky. But I’m a different person now- and it’s going to take time to accept and embrace the new me.
The next time you talk with someone who has dealt with a life changing surgery, when you tell them how good they look, remember that they may still be healing- in their heart. Don’t take it for granted because they “look good” they must be. Ask.