Since my last blog I have finished chemotherapy, removed my port, and had reconstruction surgery. Oh and, most importantly, I’M CANCER FREE!
I’ve really fought hard to embrace each change and accept and respect my body at every stage of this journey. And I’m so thankful to have completed the last step of this “transformation” and settle into this new body and move towards healing and strength.
Part of claiming this new body as my own is looking for landmarks of my old self –things that didn’t change– like the curve of my shoulders or the freckles on my left cheek.
These landmarks help me remember that the old me is still there. The other part is welcoming the new scars, implants, and all the “newness” as part of who I am now and accepting it as the new me. Looking at myself, how can this person I see be me? Beauty isn’t always a head full of hair, beautiful lashes, and a flawless body. As I stare at myself now, I know I’m beautiful, because my beauty was brought by strength, hope, and courage. That out shines any outer appearance.
Surviving cancer is much more abstract than fighting cancer.
From the first day of diagnosis you get a clear checklist of things that must happen. Double mastectomy: Check. Port in place: Check. Chemotherapy: Check. Recover: Check. Reconstruction: Check. Now go live your life, but be vigilant about your health for the rest of your life….how exactly does one do that?
It took a lot of grit and courage to get through all this, especially with a 3 and 5 year old. But now I find myself in an even more difficult place of learning to live and accept the new information, the experiences I have gained as a result of being a young cancer survivor. It’s no man’s land with way fewer clear cut tasks and a lot of confusing, painful mindset shifts and blocking out the negative subconscious thoughts.
The innocence of being a young healthy person is gone.
It’s like for 30 years I lived in peaceful oblivion about my broken DNA. Cancer changed everything. It opened my eyes and I dug deep in my faith.
Although most of my days are good, I have had some down days that I have really learned a lot from. Cancer can bring about a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days you can conquer the world and other days the brain fog is so bad you can barely pull yourself out of bed, but I am accepting both and learning to carry my cross on those bad days and lean on Jesus to get me through. “For the God on the mountain is the God on the valley” and I have really felt that to my core over the past year. Jesus knows about pain. Jesus knows about suffering. He is close to the broken-hearted. He is aware of our deepest fears, and, most importantly, he is gracious and compassionate. There are so many temporary fixes the world has to offer to deal with the valleys, but, in Him, we have the opportunity to be still and experience the presence and power of God……something I am positive has carried me daily during this journey. God gave me this mountain to climb for a purpose, and that’s what I will do.
Just remember it is His will, not yours. God’s answers are sometimes later than we would like, but His promise is He will make everything beautiful in its time. So, if you are feeling the weight of the world right now, take a breath, grab His right hand and trust His promise that everything will be made beautiful according to His time for your life.
Lindsey received treatment at the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion, a partnership between Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.