I hate complaining. It makes me feel weak. I think it’s my father’s influence. I’ll blame my intolerance of whining and complaining on him. In fact, if you know my father, you’re probably not surprised by this. On the flip side, I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t allow myself the cathartic experience of complaining just for a bit. I’ve tried to point out good and bad experiences in most of my posts because I don’t want to leave a false impression that this is all “rainbows and unicorns” or that it’s all bad. I hope that when I look back on my posts in a year that I’ll see a good mix of a positive ‘make vodka tonics when life hands you lemons’ attitude and the down side to this experience where sometimes it just sucks.
Right now I find myself exceptionally frustrated with the way I look. I’ve chosen to not wear prosthetics because I want to face this head-on and I don’t want to cover it up. When I tried to wear them, I felt more uncomfortable than I did without them. I know this is a temporary phase for my body….it doesn’t make summer dresses any easier to put on. I keep telling myself that in 4 more days I’ll be able to lift my hands over my head and put on a t-shirt or wear tank tops or some of my dresses. The reality is that I will probably cry when I do because they aren’t going to fit like they used to and I don’t have much of a choice but to accept it and power-thru. I know in a few weeks I’ll have enough fills in me to not look so flat chested. It just doesn’t make me feel better right now.
I read a lot of blogs by women like myself and we all acknowledge and talk about the clothes issues we experience. Many of us talk about the body-image issues as well. It’s an isolating experience even when we know there are others out there going through the same thing. I can’t find clothes to wear that make me feel “normal” so I can’t just throw on a bathing suit and head out to the pool like I used to. Now, I stand in the middle of my closet staring at everything – totally paralyzed by the situation. I put on my strapless sports-bra or wrap myself in ace bandages before putting on my one strapless top that fits like spanx. (I had to find one that was tight enough to not fall off, but strapless so that I can step in it and pull it up.) I then try on a few different cover-ups so that I can walk to the pool. My cover-ups don’t fit right because they were all made or purchased by someone with a D cup….not my current biscuit-shaped B-ish cup. When I get to the pool all I can think about is that I have to wear a sports bra under my suit and I feel disproportionate and awkward. It’s very frustrating and then I get frustrated with myself for even letting it get to me.
Sometimes, all I am doing is going to the grocery store. I’ll stand in the middle of my closet staring at all of my clothes. It should be as easy as wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Instead, I try on three or four button-up shirts and then I can’t find the right shorts/pants to match. I’ll end up with tears in my eyes as I put on the same outfit I’ve been wearing most days (black short-sleeved zip-up hoodie and shorts) because it’s the only thing that makes me feel like less of a tool. Yet, I still feel like a tool because it doesn’t feel like “me.” In the process I’ll have a billion hot flashes which cause me to have to consider my clothing decision as well. No matter how many hormones I’m on, I’m having hot flashes again and can’t figure out why! Ughhhh! This means that I sweat thru my clothes before I even leave my closet.
I feel so shallow for feeling this way. I hate it. I don’t want this to be about vanity. I don’t want to feel my femininity challenged just because I don’t have the cleavage that I once I had. But I can’t deny that its a struggle. Feeling polished and “put together” is something that I’ve always prided myself on – especially after surgery or a major event in my life. I don’t want people to look at me and be able to see that I’m ill or grieving or whatever. With reconstruction, I’m being forced to challenge my definition of “polished and put-together.” I keep trying new things and just haven’t figure it out yet. It doesn’t help that I’m still so limited right now. I don’t want this to sound like I’m complaining because I know that it’s temporary and that I’m lucky for many reasons…but I just want to scream and bitch about it for a minute. I’m DREADING going into the office next week because of it. I don’t want people staring me and wondering if I’m okay or noticing that my clothes are baggy. I just keep telling myself – 4 more days and I can raise my arms over my head. I’ll be able to work out and reach things on a top shelf and stand up to wash my hair and try on some of the clothes I’ve stared at for the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’ll get much better, but I’m hopeful. I won’t have implants for 6-9 months. It’s gotta get easier. I know it doesn’t seem like a long time, but when I want to find a cute outfit to wear out to dinner with friends, 6-9 months feels like an eternity. I’ll get another fill on Monday before I go into the office and maybe that will help too. Until then, I’ll put on my regular post-mastectomy outfit and try to not worry about whether or not you can see the ace bandage under my bathing suit. AGHHHHH!!!!!