the first day of 2009 finds me where i often am: sitting at my desk, connected to the world through the magic of the internet, with my little dog curled up at my feet. it's not such a bad place to be, but i also know there is more outside my door. most of 2008 saw me in hiding. hunkered down, working on healing and hesitant to leave the house, especially for social events.
i have been hiding in my clothes, too. dark layers to cover up breasts out of whack and a body i've felt was much too chubby. i have wanted to be invisible. i have learned how easy it is to become invisible.
so, a new year, a new me? well, the breasts are on their way to being attractive again. i am hopeful that with such time-consuming healing behind me, i can reclaim that energy for exercise. i am hopeful that i can find joy again in movement and fitness.
i don't want to spend this new year looking back with longing at what i was before cancer. i am committing myself to creating and supporting my healthiest new me, after cancer. i know i have work to do on my body-image. it is work i've done before, so at least i know what tool box to open.
in the past week, i have looked at a number of photo galleries online, where women who have had breast reconstruction of different kinds share their process, step-by-step. it's not easy to even view the pictures, many are gruesome and make me feel all wiggly in my tummy. the positive is that i have now seen what others look like, going through similar surgeries. and mine isn't the worst. it's not the best either, but i am glad to report that it looks better everyday.
the surface bruising is healing rapidly, thanks to my dedication to arnica and vitamin c, i think.
my whole breast is still very sore and tender, but it is improving, steadily. the doctor says that in another 3 weeks, the swelling will be significantly down and things will begin to soften up. the tight vertical incision that connects nipple to the crease under the breast will take many months to become soft and stretch to accept the natural weight and drape of the tissue.
i am also hopeful that i will be so busy with a new job that those 6-8 months will fly by and before i know it, things in the cleavage area will be looking beautiful. i am certainly ready now (mentally, that is) to toss off these shapeless sport bras and put on something flattering. sitting here today, i have no idea what size i am or when i can shop for some new underthings. i simply know that i have not a single bra that matches my new size!
ah, the job search. nothing, nada, nope. not a single response to my many applications for jobs in the past two months. my tired brain leaps for answers. why? i am qualified. i am diligently looking and applying. can what i have to offer rise above the economic crises and the over-stocked portland talent pool? i am beginning to wonder if i am crazy to remain positive and hopeful about finding a job.
i have a few more job postings to apply for today. perhaps the universe just wanted me to get past surgery and into a bright new year? maybe i am just supposed to pursue grad school now? just in case, i am applying for financial aid, to see if it is possible for me to just go to school full time.
oh, i never wanted a crystal ball as much as i do right now!
but that isn't how it works, is it? we must all just go through each day, one day at a time. life takes as long as it takes. the truly difficult challenge is to stay present to each day. the urge to skip ahead and see the future and the tug backwards, processing the past - there is our real work. to just be with what is. i'd love to say i'm there. or here, as the case may be.
i guess the important thing to realize is i am still here, trying. aware of my challenges. working on self-compassion and being present. working on getting out of my head and into my heart. thankful for my health. trying to share my light with others and lift them up.
i saw sandra bernhard on tv last night, when she was asked about her new year's resolutions and her answer really resonates with me. sandra said "i don't do resolutions once a year at new years, it's an everyday thing. every day i try to turn the beat around."i think that fits. in each moment of awareness, i will try to turn the beat around.
happy new year, my friends. thank-you for your faithful support and love. i need you more than you could ever know. may your 2009 be blessed with prosperity, abundant good health and regular reminders of just how very much you are loved.