"Scars are tattoos with better stories."
I saw that yesterday online on a t-shirt with a pink ribbon above it.
Scars may have stories, some that we may not want to hear. My scars are a constant reminder of my breast cancer status. I can't ever get too far away from thinking about it because of them. But as I get farther away from my diagnosis and surgery, they become more a part of me. I don't get a little sock in the gut when I see myself in the mirror anymore. I was wearing my foobies a few weeks ago, and Eric commented how strange it was to see me with "breasts" again.
Lately, I've been seeing several women having problems with their reconstruction surgery. Unable to sit up because the surgeon took abdominal muscle to form a breast. Painful expanders. Repeat surgeries to fix things, and so on. I am very comfortable with my decision not to reconstruct. I don't fault anyone for choosing to reconstruct-it is a very personal decision. My decision is working for me and I'm glad not to have any surgeries (that I know of) on the horizon.
The downside of not reconstructing is that I do have a constant reminder of what I've been through. There is no facade of normalcy. There are days when several hours goes by and I don't think about cancer at all. But when I change or shower, there it is again. But the scars don't bother me. In a weird way, it makes me feel like a warrior-they are signs of my my battle. They have made me stronger.
I have a scar from my cesarean 12 years ago. It took me a long time to see the upside of that one. It was a very traumatic experience. But that scar put me on a journey toward a completely new way of looking at pregnancy and birth. A healthier and safer way. If it were not for that scar, I would not have had the two amazing unmedicated homebirths that I had with my younger two children. That scar benefited them too.
I can only hope that is the case with the scars on my chest. It has put me on a path of wellness. I was already on it from my weight loss last year. But I'm learning a lot about the link between nutrition and disease. It's so much more than weight maintenance now. It's eating healthy to live healthy. I hope this rubs off on my family so that they can avoid disease by having a healthy diet. In that way, then they would benefit from these scars as well.
Yes, my scars have stories to tell. But the story continues to unfold. Only God knows how it will end. My life is in His hands and I pray I can glorify Him through my scars.
About this blog
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.