Today is Sunday, and I was excited because I felt good enough to finally go back to church. Now usually when I go to church I wear my Sunday best, but today finding something to wear and look normal in... was a much bigger task than I thought. Poor Lauren, she kept making suggestions, I would put on outfit after outfit, only to look in the mirror and then take it off and start all over again. I could tell that Lauren didn't know what else to say to me, it didn't make any difference how good she thought I looked, I knew I looked bad and it just went downhill from there. Finally with tears in my eyes, I told her to go on and meet Jeff and Lee there (who had left earlier), and that no one should want to go to church with a freak. She looked sad but just gave me a kiss on the check and left.
I cried, I prayed, I cried again. Hadn't I already conquered this whole body image thing? I realize that this is still part of the roller coaster ride, you think you are doing well and going up and up and then only to have everything come crashing down, quite fast. After my Pity Party started winding down, I called my friend back East and talked to her for a while. She was kind to listen and tell me once again that everything would be alright, how I hope she is right! Then I called my oldest brother (who I have mentioned before has lost both of his legs and part of both hands), I knew if any one could understand he could. He reminded me that I would make it through this and there certainly will be days like this throughout my life. He told me that even after 40 years of being without his legs that most of the time he is ok but some days he still gets upset. It just is what it is.
Finally after the first hour of church, Lauren called me back to see if she could come pick me up for the rest of church and I said yes. I am glad I went, of course I had a hundred layers on, but still I am glad that I went and the spirit there felt so good. I know that many people were truly glad that I came and have missed me for the last 3 weeks. Everyone kept telling me how great I looked, I tried to just smile and say thanks.
This morning when I tried to put Mrs. Doubtfire on ( my padded camisole) that, didn't even fit as well as before. Of course I am still tender and so it hurt but on top of that, my surgery site has sunken even more after radiation and so that didn't fit and I even tried on the prosthetic and it doesn't fit at all either. I just cried to see that now I can't even wear something to look or feel normal. I can't live in sweat suits my whole life. I don't even want to think about summer and what in the world I am going to do then? I know....one day at a time, just to think about the future is a bit scary right now. I guess when I heal more I will have to go back and be refitted for a new prosthetic and bra, wow...this is a much longer process than I ever expected.
Jeff talked to me quite a while after church, he knew what a hard time I was having. One thing that he said to me that was exactly what I was feeling and what I needed to hear was..."Lynn, you have felt a profound loss as a woman but there is so much more to you and to being a woman than just your physical appearance, like your best qualities such as compassion and charity and also your character". He then reminded me how much everyone loves me and needs me. He reminded me of things that I want to do... like helping other survivors and how I need to keep moving in that direction and actually look forward to that. He was absolutely right, I need something to look forward to. When the future seems so uncertain, that is hard to do but very important to try and do.
So I will head to bed and try to remember all the things that I have to be grateful for and to look forward to. I am excited about speaking to the Patient Advocate lady this week, to discuss maybe things that can be done to help the next group of women who have to come through their hospital and fight this terrible disease of Cancer. Thank you for believing in me, that makes life a whole lot better even if you do have a Pity Party for yourself once in a while. Good night
"A woman is like a tea bag. It's only when she's in hot water that you realize how strong she is."
"Each woman is far from average in the daily heroics of her life, even though she may never receive a moment's recognition in history."--Women and Work, Newsage Press
"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform."--Diane Mariechild