Treatment to Survivor

Being a breast cancer survivor isn’t a static label. For me, being a breast cancer survivor has added another layer to the person I am and have become, and that has been an evolutionary process. It took time to get my energy back, but I now happily maintain a very active lifestyle. Again, it took time, and patience was not my strong suit.   

After my cancer diagnosis and initial treatment was complete, my hair grew back and the scars began to fade. In hindsight, I think I spent way too much energy trying to get back to the person I had been, but will never be again. I would have saved myself a lot of heartache, if I had learned to embrace my “new normal” and make peace with the changes to my body and hair, including the newly acquired scars and residual imprint that never really disappear, though fortunately do fade over time.

Any life changing event, such as cancer, is going to affect you in some way, but how you let it is entirely up to you. I go back and forth between being happy and content with my body and thankful to be alive to picking myself apart in the mirror. The breast reconstruction scars, the slightly misshapen mounds for breasts, and my hair, which is different now, are all the physical result of having gone through treatment for cancer. But wait, I’m alive and healthy! What am I complaining about? I just spent a week in Costa Rica climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting, zip lining, and enjoying life. Life is good! I have a partner in my life who loves me very much with and without clothes on. Scars be damned. Life is beautiful, and I’m fortunate for the privilege of growing older, which is denied to many.  

It’s so easy on paper to see the upside of winning the battle against cancer, but I know I will have to continue to work at quieting the negative chatter that occasionally creeps in my head. I have to remember to treat myself kindly, as I would a friend, and embrace my ‘new normal’, which includes riding my bike, running, and being too busy living life to worry about the superficial. Life is great! 


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