Saturday, February 18, 2012


After my 'mastopexy' less than two weeks ago, the breast reduction surgery, I can already notice a change in the way I carry myself and walk - and it feels good!

I'm standing straighter and taller - my constant backache is beginning to fade. I realize that after two years of walking with a lopsided weight and gait, it will take some time to reverse the damage. But I've also had to admit that it's as much psychological as physical.

I know that I 'talk a good fight' - I even believe it most of the time. But.

There's a new song out, sung by country star Martina McBride, about a young mother's battle with breast cancer - one of the lines I hear each time it plays, whether I'm aware of the song or not, is "forced smiles and baggy shirts, to hide what the cancer took from her. But she just wants to feel like a woman again."

I chose to fight the fight, to be a warrior, not a victim, but I've been wearing those 'baggy shirts' every day for two years. I've hardly left the house, except for groceries or doctor visits, because it's just so damned embarrassing - seeing the glance from strangers, the stare, the look away and look back. There was no hiding the empty side of the shirt and the other big bouncy side - plus the horrid compression sleeve or wrap that I wear on my arm every day. People can't help but stare, and I couldn't help but flinch each and every time.

I never acknowledged it out loud or in print, or more importantly, to myself. But it was there.

And I probably never even really thought about it in emotional terms until a few weeks back when I was so angry and frustrated with the medical insurance folks and looked up that Medicare paragraph that said the surgery I wanted wasn't for cosmetic purposes - that "the quality of life following initial treatment is increasingly recognized as of great concern. … the importance of postsurgical psychological adjustment."

I mean even I was aware of how unhappy I was with how I looked, but I didn't acknowledge how deeply it was affecting me. When I realized last evening, on my last stroll of the day with my sweet puppy, how tall I was walking, and how good it felt, I had to give in to the understanding that I was finally starting to heal - emotionally heal. I'm starting to feel like a woman again!

At what price? But it's allowing me to shed some tears, something I've tried never to do throughout this ordeal. That's healing too! There's a long way to go, but it's a start, and it feels just fine.

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