This last week has been a pretty good one as, after a bit of a scare, I got the all clear on my left breast. All those prayers and positive thoughts are clearly working, so keep them coming please! So, sorry to disappoint, but no rants this week.
Well…not many 😉
I started the week meeting my surgeon at The Christie in Manchester. I’ve said this before, but the fact that I have such outstanding, world-class cancer care on my doorstep is amazing. I thank my lucky stars for it every day. My surgery is now booked in for mid April and even though I’m mildly terrified about being cut open for eight hours, the things they can do are amazing! I’m having a procedure called a DIEP flap, where the excess fat from my stomach will be cut out and used to rebuild my breast…as a result I’m under doctor’s orders not to lose any weight, so Easter weekend couldn’t have come at a better time! If you see me around over the next couple of weeks, I will probably have a piece of cake in my hand.
This procedure has really got me thinking about my body. As a woman (well, I think as anyone who is inundated with media’s obsession with perfection) I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body for as long as I can remember. I like my eyes but I hate my nose. I have slim arms that tone up fairly quickly but a stomach I generally hide. I have cellulite on my thighs, broken veins on my left foot…I could go on. Over the last year and a half I started running, mainly because I never could and I felt like setting myself a personal challenge. The process was fairly slow but by this January I could run five miles, which I was bloody delighted with! The result was that I became prouder of my body than I had ever been. I could see how strong it could be and, even though I still had those bits I really didn’t like, for the first time I went on holiday in a bikini and was comfortable. When I look back at that holiday I am insanely grateful, as the next time I do it I will bear the scars of my surgery.
The scars don’t really bother me that much. The one on my stomach will be pretty huge, but should be hidden below my bikini line. If it isn’t, I’m already looking at tattoos that will cover it beautifully. Any excuse for some new ink! In the process of the operation though, I will lose my first tattoo. I got it when I was seventeen, young and silly, and not much thought went into it. It’s absolutely crap in all honesty, but I love it. She’s a fairy, called Tallulah, and after surgery she’ll be gone. I won’t go into more detail for those of you who are queasy (like my lovely hubby, who pales at the mention of the DIEP procedure) but if you’re curious, google it…it’s amazing! The loss of my tattoo may seem insignificant compared to losing my breast, but as I’m opting for an immediate reconstruction, it won’t be as obvious. My stomach, though it will now be flatter than it has ever been naturally, will be bare, and the tiny fairy that has decorated it for the last fifteen years will be in a surgical bin somewhere. And strangely, I find that really, really sad.
I think I’m rambling now, but here’s the point-love your body. Look after it. If you’re not happy with it look at why. Some things you can change through diet and exercise, IF YOU WANT TO, (though I urge you not to jump on faddy bandwagons but do it all healthily) others you can’t. Try to love them anyway. Stop looking at Beyonce’s abs or Kim K’s arse, those women work out as a full time job. Your body is a magical, wonderful thing that you have been blessed with. I can’t help looking in the mirror at the moment, wondering what I’ll look like in a few months time. I will be scarred, one nipple will be gone the same way as Tallulah and I may even be bald. But you know what? I’ll be alive. My scars will be testament to the fact that I beat cancer, I will be a tiger who has earned her stripes.
And come summer, I’ll be flashing that newly flat stomach to anyone who wants to see it, scars and all ☺️