I’m Still Here

Some days were good and others were not so great. There were days that I didn’t look at my phone, I didn’t open the blinds or get out of bed. I was tired in every sense of the word. I was still going back and forth to the doctor. I bounced between my oncologist, surgeon and the plastic surgeon.

I finally had the drains removed (which was painful). The plastic surgeon had advised me to go ahead and stop wearing the surgical bra and purchase one that would fit comfortably.

I was still avoiding looking in the mirror.

Until one day…

I was in the bathroom going about my morning routine. I was sitting on my stool brushing my teeth. Standing for long periods of time was still quite uncomfortable.

I stood up for a second to get a closer look in the mirror. There were bags under my eyes from the uncomfortable nights of attempting to sleep sitting up. I ran my finger across the port scar that was peeking from under the bandages.

I took a deep breath and I finally did it.

I peeled back the Velcro straps of the bra and let them fall to my side. I closed my eyes quickly before opening them slowly as I looked at my chest.

I immediately sat back down in the chair and cried. I don’t know what I was expecting to see, but it was hard to see myself this way.

The scars.

I had opted not to save my nipples because I didn’t want any breast tissue left behind.

My breasts had been replaced with hard tissue expanders.

I took a minute to gather myself before pulling myself up again and looking back in the mirror.

I slid my scarf off my head and examined myself again.

I had no hair. I had no breasts. I had several scars, but I was here.

“I’m still here,” I said to myself blinking away tears.

The thing that could have killed me had made me stronger.

” No, In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” I said over and over to myself.

Months ago I probably would have looked at myself in the mirror and felt embarrassed, but today I looked in the mirror and I felt empowered.

I knew there was a long road to recovery ahead, but I was ready. I had made it through 6 rounds of chemo and a double mastectomy–I was ready to take on the world (or at least my first tissue expansion….)