a positive frame of mind has continued through this week and grown, in fact. spring does wonders for the spirit, although last year at this time i was not tuned into the season change. that post-radiation period is a blur in my memory. thank goodness i am a year past all that and moving into wonderful, life-affirming new things!
the photo above was taken on our family trip to mexico at the beginning of april. my sister meghan (right) and sister-in-law, heather (center) and i had all picked up these fun dresses as souvenirs. that evening marks the first time i have felt beautiful in a long time...since before the cancer, before november of 2007.
since that special night, in the tropical magic with my family all around, i have been reflecting on just what made the change. what elements came together to turn the tide in my self-esteem around the way i look. or really, the way i feel about how i look.
i came to some encouraging conclusions:
- wearing contacts all week instead of my glasses and putting on a bit of make-up was a factor. a bigger factor than i realized, all these months i haven't worn contacts because of the cost. this piece of insight is encouraging because it's easy to fix.
- being relaxed and letting go of worry gives a girl a glow. yes, i was on a great vacation, but that doesn't mean i have to be back into worry-mode here at home. in fact, now that i know my financial aid starts coming in june, i am feeling all the big worries slide away. knowing i am on a really good career path for me takes so much worry out of life.
- having my wonderful family all around, feeling so loved and getting tons of hugs from the kids was so sustaining. being connected to people you love also brings a beautiful glow. well, back here in portland, i am still 3,000 miles away from my family. but i can connect more with friends i love here.
- not being in pain is a great beauty treatment! the combination of rest, exercise, warmth, good company and excellent tequila made for a nearly pain-free week. it seems like at least some of those things can be reproduced here at home. i'm going to try, anyway! (one bottle of amazing tequila came home with me...to be sipped and savored...even just smelling it transports me to a happy place)
back home, i am feeling better than i have in many months. i have a new potion for clearing up my acne working wonders, i'm spending a little time actually trying to look good everyday. this is new and i realize now i have been trying to be invisible for such a long time, i forgot what tools i even used to look bright and attractive!
little encouragements mean alot. something that i write here on my list might seem of small consequence to most. yet we all have those things that either boost our confidence or serve to erode it, bit by bit. the unsightly tattoo marker that was put on between my breasts for radiation treatment really bugged me, it meant i couldn't wear low-cut tops. it added to all the angst over my mangled breasts and i have hated the reminder, seeing it everyday since feburary 4, 2008. so i have been getting laser treatments to remove it and finally, after several months, i am seeing great progress. it's quite faint now, nearly gone.
a check-up with my plastic surgeon that did my breast lift & reduction in decemeber went well this past week. the breast is shifting into shape, a rather nice shape. something i couldn't even imagine four months ago! the scars are not as they should be, however. but even there, he had good news. easy-peasy scar revision can improve that gnarly area, with minimal recovery time. in fact, he said the stuck-down, indented scar on the other breast, where my tumors were removed, can also be fixed every easily. i left his office on cloud nine, let me tell you. motivated and inspired to do everything i can to improve myself through exercise and diet because for the first time in 18 months, i can see the possibility that i can get back to feeling good naked.
i look into the future and i see myself feeling better and better and better. sitting here today, i know i am going to get my groove back and find my beautiful, more each day.