My final breast reconstruction appointment was last week. I will have follow-up appointments and check-ups but as far as procedures, surgeries and treatments are concerned I am officially DONE! And I’ve been kind of sad and tearful this week. I thought being done, that I would feel a weight off of my shoulders or a sense of relief at least, in finishing this process. But I have not. In my mind the last step, this little procedure: areola tattoos, would be a psychological breath of fresh air. In my imagination, to see what should look like natural breasts (something I hardly remember having, oddly enough) would make me feel just that: natural, normal. But I don’t feel that either. If anything the scars are that much more pronounced to m. If anything, it looks like I’m trying too hard to be “normal” when I’m not. And maybe that’s what all of this is about, that wanting to feel “normal” or to be “natural” or “normal” when I cannot be. These scars, both seen and unseen, will remain. The question is: will those scars detract from who I am and/or what I look like now? (Will I let them?)
My anxiety has been worse lately. I haven’t been having panic attacks, thankfully, but have had to be much more vigilant about fending them off. I’ve been overly concerned about things. You know what it’s like to be stressed out. I’m not alone in this, I am certain. You forget things, make lists so you won’t forget then forget where you put your lists. You feel exhausted and try to sleep but either can’t get to sleep or can’t stay asleep and no amount of sleep makes you feel rested anyway. You wake up most days with a headache. And you wonder why in the world you’re so stressed out when you don’t seem to be any busier than usual and also, everyone has a lot on their plate so why can’t you seem to keep it all together? (What’s my problem?)
I’ve been having pain in my shoulders and remember that the PET scan I had a couple months ago showed no signs of cancer and I breathe a sigh of relief. This history of mine could keep me anxious about the present and could keep me fearful of the future if I would let it. But, here’s the thing: I know who holds my present and my future...whether that “future” be another minute or a millennium. Romans 8:28-29: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even this demon of anxiety that I face, this demon of cancer that I have faced, cannot keep me from God’s love. So while I find myself facing demons at times, even now and as always, my hope is secure. Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Even in the little things He is faithful. I know that time will help me to forget to worry about cancer and will dull these scars. But even more than that I know God will continue to heal my heart and mind about cancer and about scars, about these little things.