Image via: iStock.
I’m so aware. Every time I look in the mirror and I see my scars and hair that isn’t mine and feel the aches and pains of treatment I’m aware. Buying a pink can of soup isn’t what made me, my friends or my family aware. It just serves as a reminder. A reminder of the horror and fear.
Now that treatment is over, though, it’s all past me, right? It’s time for me to claim my “new normal”. New normal? There is no new normal after cancer.
The morning I went to see my plastic surgeon for my three month follow-up I woke with a low grade panic. What would he say? What would I say? Will I ever be normal? Since my cancer diagnosis, going to see a doctor—any doctor—turns everything upside down. Even if it’s a good appointment or one that I’ve known about for months.
Sitting in the waiting room, I begin to calm down. The office is nice and quiet and familiar now. When I see the doctor, we discuss how I’m healing from the first phase of reconstruction. We talk about how I’m still healing three months later; the thumb sized gaping hole in my breast is now a “pinprick” thankfully.
He says, that’s normal. I don’t know his definition of normal but taking three months for a gaping whole in my chest to heal doesn’t fit within my definition of normal.
Then, we talk about phase two—my reconstruction surgery; the part that the doctor’s office very clinically calls symmetry surgery. This is when the doctor goes in and does his best work—the work that is supposed to give me a normal look. What does he consider normal? (Post continues after gallery.)
I can’t help but think that I will never look normal. Normal, to me, is my body before cancer. I won’t ever have that back.
Don’t get me wrong. My medical team did wonders. Up until this point, all the surgeries, the chemotherapy, the radiation—they were all designed to rid me of cancer and give me some resemblance of my life back. We talked ad nauseum about the physical maladies that come along with cancer and its treatment. “Get it out and keep It out,” was the game plan.