October is Breast Caner Awareness Month. I’m sure that this has been the case for several years, but I have never really paid attention to it. Even when my godmother was suffering through breast cancer, October never felt special to me. But this year is different. Not because I have breast cancer, or someone I know has died from it, but because I have spent the last 11 months learning about the value of my breast. And for me it has been a journey of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.
In the last trimester of my second pregnancy I developed a painful lump in my breast. I consulted with midwives, OB/GYN’s, surgeons and pathologist. I soon developed more lumps in both breast that quickly opened up and became wounds. The medical providers have been baffled and I have been forced to nurse my child from one breast and care for an open wound multiple times a day on the other. I’m sure this would be hard on anyone, at any point in life. But for me it has been devastating. Medical bills, random medications, the continuous pain, the physical appearance, the lack of physical touch… the list goes on! It has caused my entire world to change. I operated my own business, but due to my undiagnosed illness I’ve had to shut it down. The snuggly love and affection that I offered to my family has been downsized because their touch often offers me pain instead of comfort. And the idea of feeling at all sexy takes a lot to achieve. It’s not just a vain feeling of losing my “perfect” “young” breast. Truthfully I never even considered them my favorite asset. But the idea of not rocking a bikini with full confidence brings me down. The idea of pulling out the sexy lingerie for my anniversary scares me. I feel incomplete as a woman. And at the same time I feel fortunate. I have been blessed. I don’t have breast cancer. I don’t have an autoimmune disease. I don’t have to be on medicine daily. I am able to nurse my child. I still have my breast. So why do I feel so down? Is it because the image that I hold in my mind of myself has changed so much? Is it because of the images portrayed of young sexy women are no longer portraying me? Is it disappointment? Maybe it’s all of these things. And yet for some reason I feel ashamed to feel this way. I feel as if my situation could be so much worse and I don’t deserve to feel this bad. Because I know there are thousands of women out there who have had breast cancer and had to undergo so much treatment and surgery and even death. So to the survivors I salute you.
I know my faith is being tested. All aspects of my life have been reevaluated and my journey up Mystic Mountain has commenced. I feel as if this trail has been sent to assure that I remain focused on reaching the summit. That each and everyday I am progressing toward my goal. Sometimes you have to be taken off your game plan to make sure that your steps are in order with the ultimate plan. Because truthfully I may have been headed in the wrong direction. And stopping me in my tracks may be the only thing that could help me see it. Now I resolve to get back to my roots and remember what my calling is. I am here for a reason! I will do better, I will do my best!