Some things will never heal no matter how hard we try.
There are things we go through in life that leave scars. Some are physical, some emotional and some are both. The scars that cancer has left me with will never heal. They may fade, but they will never be gone for good. Cancer has left me with an indelible mark upon my body and my psyche. The physical scars left from mastectomy and six subsequent surgeries are very present. I see them every time I dress and undress. They are red, jagged and ugly. I have been looking at them now for three years and yet they are still shocking and sometimes hard to accept. I actually measured the scar on my left side and it runs almost 17 inches. From my breastbone, across my chest and around almost to my shoulder blade. Seventeen inches!!! There’s no hiding these….ever!
The surgeries have left me with more than scars. I now suffer from chronic nerve pain which keeps me up all night. I’m exhausted all the time. I want things to go back to the way they were before CANCER…but they will never be, ever. Even if my physical scars may fade someday, the scars left on my soul are there for good. Not much is talked about in the “cancer world” regarding the emotional damage done by this disease. The fear that is ever present that one day it might come back. The anxiety that overtakes your entire being every time you enter a medical building, hospital or lab as you relive your diagnosis, tests and surgeries. The financial toll this disease takes when you are unable to work but still have to pay your bills. The physical drain of just trying to get through each day when you feel so tired that just getting up to pee might as well be climbing Mount Everest. The loss of self-esteem and self confidence that is shattered when you are sliced and diced and carved up to rid yourself of cancer. How about the loss of friends and loved ones when you need them more than ever. Cancer strips you of so much. It turns your life upside down and keeps kicking you even when you’re as low as you can go. Cancer is the biggest bully I’ve ever met. It doesn’t listen to reason. It doesn’t care about your feelings. It doesn’t want to be your friend. It only wants to destroy you. Plain and simple.
I have always been a “wear my heart on my sleeve” kinda girl. I cry at commercials on T.V. and have always had to work on not showing my emotions at inappropriate times. So you can imagine just how hard it’s been for me to keep my shit together and not be a puddle of tears 24/7. My emotions are bubbling so close to the surface now that one small insignificant thing can set me off. I’m working hard to keep everything pushed down…way down, where no one can see what an absolute fu#king mess I am most of the time; bust it’s a struggle. I am not saying that I am miserable all the time, not at all. I make a point of trying to laugh as much as possible…and usually at my own expense. I mean, if you can’t find humor in this shit storm of a journey I’ve been on then well, what can I say?! If I couldn’t laugh about some of things I’ve been through, I don’t think I would have made it this far. Laughter helps to cover what you’re really feeling. It helps cover those painful emotions that keep trying to escape form the basement I’ve locked them in. And laughter helps deflect the awkwardness some people feel around me now.
Cancer has left me with scars. Big ones. Painful ones. But with time they WILL fade, but they won’t heal completely. Cancer scars you not just physically. It makes sure that its mark is left on every aspect of your life. It makes sure that you know its been there. It makes sure that you see and feel the damage its created. This experience, these scars, will always be there to remind me of what I’ve been through and what I’ve overcome. The scars that cancer has left upon me reminds me everyday of just how lucky I am, because these scars that I see and feel mean that I SURVIVED!