Spirit Strong

Stay positive, have no fear and you can beat anything!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Physical Side

I've written a lot about the inner strength I try to maintain each day in my fight against breast cancer. It dawned on me the other day I haven't talked about my thoughts on how I look. It's important to talk about it because to a lot of women it is an important change in their lives. We hate to admit it but we all possess a certain sense of vanity about our appearance and believe me when something like this happens you really see another side of yourself.

My hair has always been something I have be associated with from the time I was a little girl. For the most part it's always been long and thick. I have had it very short many, many years ago but nothing to what it looks like now. You would think losing my hair would be the hardest part of my changes but I have always kept in mind that it will always grow back. So to be honest while I did cry many times about it on the whole I don't mind that it's not there any more. I wish I could get comfortable about the idea of walking around in public without a wig but my comfort level isn't at that point just yet. The wig is off my head as soon as I step into my home and I have no problems looking at myself in the mirror but I'm too self conscious to go without my wig. Weird thing is I don't mind walking around minus the wig around friends if they are comfortable seeing me without it but strangers are a different matter. I know that sounds strange and why should I care about the opinion of someone I don't even know. I can't explain it.

As for my body, I know it can be very hard for women to adjust to how their breast looks after a lumpectomy but again that was never important to me. My main focus has always been to keep a healthy, positive mind and that would lead to a healthy body. My breast definitely looks different and I will never look the same again. I have a 2 inch scar across my breast which has changed the appearance of my breast. I also have a 4 inch scar under my under arm area. These scars are obvious and anyone would be able to figure out what I had done if they were to see the scars. They are my constant reminders of what I fight every day. My reiki healer/yoga instructor said I should think of them not as a negative reminder but rather as a reminder of how far I've come and that I've conquered so much. She's right. I did have my moments where I looked at myself in the mirror without my hair and at my scars and I thought, "Frankenstein, I remind myself of Frankenstein". But then I laugh and continue on because I know in my heart that my body is only a shell that holds my spirit. Maybe my attitude has a lot to do with the fact I have a wonderful husband who isn't concerned about the changes my body has gone through. He has been able to look beyond that and is comfortable about how my body looks now.

Other changes are happening as well. I noticed after my first chemo treatment my thumb nails are changing colour. They are turning dark. I was alarmed by their appearance and had the oncologist look at them but it's all part of the side effects of treatment. My skin is dry and I've noticed my mouth is more sensitive to spicy food. Another side effect. I keep reminding myself it's only temporary and I just have to live with it until I'm done all my treatments.

I've had to struggle with a cold I caught from my son. Thankfully nothing too serious. Just a runny nose and a bit of a cough. I think I am coming to the end of it now. I'm hoping I'll be over it in the next day or two. I just hope I can continue with my 3rd chemo treatment next Thursday and that this cold isn't a set back. I have to admit catching a cold is a scary thing for me now because I run the risk of it becoming more serious (infection) and that means hospitalization and anti biotics through an IV. My body is fighting enough right now and I can't afford to get sick.

Anyway, that's the latest on me this week but before I end this post there is something I want to mention about the physical changes. A few weeks back I attended a workshop called, "Look Good Feel Better". It brought together women who were going through chemo and we learned how to apply makeup, how to take care of our wigs/scalp and skin and the changes which were going to happen to our bodies. We received over $300 worth of free cosmetics and had a night of fun and laughter. By the end of the night we felt and looked fantastic. I don't know if a workshop like this is available in the States or overseas but I highly recommend it. I have a link to the website on my links page so please check it out and let others know about it.

Until next week then, stay well.


  • At 9:02 p.m., Blogger sheryl said…

    It doesn't matter. You are so beautiful, my friend.

  • At 3:05 p.m., Blogger String said…

    You know a friend of mine who survived breast cancer sans one breast, well we used to joke that she was an Amazon, and I think it is fitting in a way, woman warriors.


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