Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A bit of honesty

Note: I originally wrote this post in late May. I wasn't going to originally share it. I was going to just let it sit in draft form forever. But a recent conversation with my husband made me rethink it. I didn't go back and edit it. It's pretty raw. But it's real. And even now? This part feels really hard to share with the world, but I figure I've shared everything else with you, so why stop now? It's real. It's raw. It's not the prettiest thing. But there it is.  

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of taking a shower. And yes, it was my first shower post surgery and it seemed like it took forever for the doctor to give me permission. So the shower. I mean, it just felt so nice. And needed. And great.

But, you know. Okay, maybe you don't know. And I'm trying to find the right words. But I'm struggling. Because I don't know, maybe it's too much sharing. But at the same time, it helps me to work things out when I share here.

Anyway, the shower was lovely. But the thing is my bathroom has a pretty big mirror in it. And I haven't really looked in a mirror until that point. I mean, I've brushed my teeth and technically I have looked in the mirror. I guess I just haven't really looked at myself in the mirror. And it's no secret (or won't be the first time you look at me) that my body has changed just a tiny bit. And by tiny I mean a whole lot. And I know this. I knew this going into surgery. But it's one thing to know it and it's another to see it. And yes, it's a very small price to pay to get this cancer out. Still. You know, my body has changed. And while I've mostly accepted it, it can be hard to actually see. Because things are different. And there's this whole part of me that's, well, it's gone now.

I know I'm kind of tap dancing around this here. But my breasts? They are gone now. Just gone. Only one straight line of stitches is left in their place. And it's strange and weird and sad and even a bit depressing. Because it's like all of a sudden - standing in my bathroom - boom. It all just hits me. Right there. Like a punch in the stomach.

And oh yes, I know. I'm still beautiful. And I'm lovely on the inside. Yes, yes. I hear it. I believe people sincerely mean it when they say it too. And yet, there is still a small part of me that I need to convince myself that that is true. And I also know that I am the only person who can really convince myself of that, that I need to believe it's true. And I also have faith I will get there, it just won't happen overnight.

It's just another part of the process I have to get through right now. Another step in this journey.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Brandie.

    These words have such power. I am so glad to have you as a friend.

  2. You are the most courageous person I know. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You'll see it again soon. The best part...you'll still be here to share your beauty with all of us.

  3. Great post! I remember the first time my mom looked in the mirror after her surgery. Keep fighting the battle!

  4. there might be nothing as beautiful as a woman that owns her space--that tells her truth. your honesty shines through:) xoxo

  5. As women, our breasts are such a part of us. Obviously. But they're also a big part of our feminine identity. You breastfed your babies. You bought your first bra, and you found that perfect undergarment for your wedding day. So much of who we are can be linked to our breasts. Our frustrations or self identity (good and bad) are all wrapped up into our chest. To have that smack you in the face has got to be so hard. This is why reconstruction, if a woman wants, should be allowed during the mastectomy surgery. Though, in all honesty, scars and incisions around your breasts are hard to take even when you're NOT facing cancer, and not facing just a complete removal. So I don't know how much easier reconstruction right away would be.

    You are amazing for sharing this part. So many women feel awful, and then feel guilty for feeling awful because, as you said, you're removing cancer, so you shouldn't be thinking about "looks." We worry about being vain. But it's not vanity. It is a sense of self. A sense of womanhood and motherhood.

    And I am so sorry that you've had to face this. It cannot be easy. I hope that sharing - and knowing that you help women going through the same thing - will help you heal that hurt.

  6. I think it's so cool that you shared this. And, I think it's going to be healing for you. Hey, I can't imagine doing what you are doing. I'm in awe of your courage!

  7. This was very real, Brandie. I know I can't fully understand what you're going through, and maybe hearing that you're still beautiful, inside AND out, doesn't count for a hill of beans until YOU believe it, but I am going to reiterate what everyone else already knows: You ARE beautiful. Just as you can see the beauty within your children that doesn't exist in their physical appearances, so can your true friends see the beauty within you.

    Plus, boobs are overrated.

  8. Brandie,
    I love REAL...

  9. you've always been honest -- ever since! and brave indeed.

    you are one beautiful person -- inside and out.

    big (((hugs))) and kisses!

  10. This is one of the most amazing blog posts I've read in some time. Very powerful and raw and REAL, which is what makes it so great.

    Take care.


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)