I finally admitted to myself that I feel angry. What is it the mental health experts say? Anger is hurt or fear turned inward. Well, I have enough hurt and fear to fuel alot of anger. If you are going down the Breast Cancer road, I know you have this fuel as well.
It’s normal, it’s natural, and it will help propel us toward healing. We need our anger! So let’s channel it and not deny it! Will you help me?
A dear friend sent me the above photograph this week that was taken late last summer, one month before I found the lump. Every year, some close high school friends, their kids, and now grandkids and I spend several days at my family cottage. We laugh, we swim, we reminisce, and we reconnect. This photo was taken on our last night together on the beach at a local restaurant. I look at the woman peering back at me. She is a stranger to me now, and I start to cry. The first thing I notice is this woman who supposedly is me, is beautiful. “Why didn’t I know how beautiful I was?” came flying into my mind. No longer do I see the extra pounds or my imperfections, I only see my radiant beauty flowing from this photo. I also see my breast that is now missing looking so lovely under my summer shirt. It doesn’t matter that I am 55 years old and in the middle of menopause. My breast looked perfect to me in a droopy “it’s summer, you don’t need your best bra on today” sort of way. Funny, when posting the picture the Blog cut off my breast.
I didn’t appreciate who I was. I didn’t appreciate the friends that were with me that night. I didn’t appreciate my hair. I remember getting ready to go to dinner that night. I washed my hair. It’s the cottage, we don’t have alot of hair styling gel there. That is the way it is supposed to be. My hair looked kind of straight and straggly to me before I left for the restaurant. Yet suddenly, in the photo, my hair looks like I just spent the day at the salon. I feel angry that I no longer have this life and this hair.
And I realized that was the last photo taken of my breast before I lost it to Breast Cancer. The last photo where I didn’t have to worry if my prothesis is straight, if my boob looks real, are people looking down to see what’s going on where my breast used to be, or didn’t have to worry if a little cleavage stuck out. I always did appreciate my breasts. As long as I can remember since being very proud to get a training bra at age 10, I thought they were my best physical feature because I had big boobs. I used to think that was important. I feel angry I lost my breast.
If anger is from fear, then why are we afraid? Well, we are afraid first and foremost because we wonder if we will live. That is a priorty to all of us. We want to live! And we are afraid because we don’t know if we have the courage to complete this journey. We are also afraid because we do not have any idea who we are at this particular moment on our Breast Cancer journey.
So let’s talk some more about not knowing who you are. Your family may be the same, your job may be the same, your friends may be the same, but you are different. Those words, “You have Breast Cancer” changed everything in your world.
Damn it, we are on this journey. We cannot change it. Truly we have no control over it. We have had to turn the control of our bodies over to our surgeons, oncologists, and radiologists. No wonder we feel angry!
I am going to keep working on this anger. I don’t have a choice because I know the anger will propel me forward. And I must continue forward. I want to live! And I know you do too!