Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion. Barry Lopez
I am honoured today to share with you Catherine’s story. As regular readers will know, I believe very strongly that in listening to the stories of others, our own journey of discovery and healing can be enriched. So for this reason, I love to hear the stories of women who have inspired me in their journey with cancer, and when these stories come to me, as the writer Barry Lopez says, “care for them..and learn to give them away where they are needed”.
And now for Catherine’s story….
Two months ago my breast cancer was discovered. Three weeks ago my right breast was removed. Right now I’m waiting for treatment to start.
Cancer has been a bulldozer through my plans, through my life, through my body, but at this moment, as far as I’d like to assume (and despite the treatment I’m about to receive) I’d like to think I’m a breast cancer survivor.
And as a breast cancer survivor, and a mastectomy survivor too – I am relearning to love my body. Looking at the scar I feel mixed emotions: fear, anxiety, pride, anger, fight, loss and resolve. But one feeling I don’t have is repulsion. I do not feel ugly. I do not feel plain. I do not feel unfeminine. I won’t let myself.
Every day I try and love my body, despite what it’s putting me through. As often as possible I forgo the bra with the fake breast, and just let my girl(s) off the leash. And you know what, walking down the street with my strategically pleated v-neck shirts and dresses, I feel damn sexy. In some ways I have more confidence to show more skin (and certainly more hint of nipple) than ever before in my life. It’s like a small sexual revolution – and it makes me feel proud to have survived, and to be surviving, and to continue being strong despite what therapies come next.
Feeling good in my body is one way I fight back. I’d just like to encourage any women who has had a mastectomy (or will have) to not give up on feeling good about your looks. A woman needs to feel beautiful to become beautiful. Learning to love my scar has been a challenge, but accepting the new me and showing it to the world has been a huge boost. I am a breast cancer survivor, and still – one breast down – a fine looking woman!
Thanks for letting me write. If you want to read my blog it’s at bumpyboobs.wordpress.com