Thursday, May 29, 2014

Breast Cancer and Mastectomies Are Not Pink Ribbons

Here's the thing.  Cancer and mastectomies and reconstruction surgeries are scary.  I get that.  And when you talk to people about it, their first instinct is to comfort you and reassure you.  So somewhere along the way, people create these groups and agencies and networks to support women (and men) going through this.  They developed plans to help out, things to say to support and ways to help out.

But having DCIS, going through a mastectomy, reconstruction and subsequent surgeries, isn't a big pink ribbon.  It's not being glad that it's 'over'.  It's not getting on with life and being glad it wasn't cancer/glad I'm alive.  It's just not.  Not for me and not for a large group of people out there.

My scars are ugly.  They're never going to be pretty.  But they tell the story of who I am and what I've gone through.  The fact that I went through this emotional roller coaster and it wasn't cancer, isn't comforting.  It's just not.  It never will be.  I'm not over it and won't be over it for a long time, if ever.

I understand that people around me feel uncomfortable and they say and do things in the hopes of making me feel more comfortable and in turn them more comfortable.  But honestly, it makes me feel worse.  Like I should just sweep everything that I went through under the rug, don't talk about it and move on...pretend it never happened. 

Guess what?

I had DCIS.
I had a 62% chance of breast cancer in my life.
I had a mastectomy.
I had reconstruction that resulted in big dark ugly scars.
I had a nipple & revision surgery.
I lost most of both of the revised nipples.
I'm not secure, safe because cancer is gone.
I deal with the repercussions of my choices daily.
I'm not comfortable in my skin currently.
I'm afraid to exercise.
I'm afraid to be happy.
I'm afraid to have the rug pulled out from under me again.

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