The Life of a Breast Cancer Survivor
by Simon Johnson
Getting the prognosis that your cancer has been sent into remission is certainly a joyous one. While it is a cause for celebration, it also brings a new set of worries and concerns. Once you have undergone stringent treatment to overcome the disease, you are going to have to adjust to a new way of living. One of the downsides of the methodologies used to get rid of the cancer is that it can leave you looking starkly different. Many women do not recognize their reflections in the mirrors anymore.
This could be due to the presence of a scar or even many scars after surgery. You may also have to deal with losing a significant portion of your breasts, if not completely. If you have undergone chemotherapy, hair loss may be just one of the many physical changes that you have undergone. While you are glad that your treatment was successful, it can be difficult to accept the new you. Especially when you have gone through a mastectomy. This is certainly not an easy time for you, but what you need to remember is that you will be able to create a new “normal” for yourself.
Right after surgery, one of the hardest things that you will have to do is to be able to accept your new body. For women whose breasts have played such a defining role as identifying them as women, this can be tough. While it may be difficult, one of the first things that you need to do is get a full-length mirror and allow yourself the time to get used to yourself. The first thing you should do is to identify the things that still are very much “you”. You need to know that you have not changed all that much. Pick at least three things about your body that you can appreciate. Then, it is time to examine your new features. It is going to be hard at first, but the more often you catch glimpses of your body, the more you will come to recognize it as your own.
Of course, this exercise is not just for you. If you have a partner or spouse, it is a good idea to reveal your body to them as well. It will go a long way in helping you accept yourself as well as opening the door for the two of you to be intimate with one another. You may not like what you see at first, but you will come to terms with it over time.
Depending on how aggressive your mastectomy was, you may still have a significant portion of breast tissue left. In this case, many women prefer to opt for breast reconstruction. This can certainly help with you feeling like your old self again. Call a Scottsdale plastic surgeon to schedule a consultation. He or she will be able to give you a better picture of what can be done to restore the original look and feel of your breasts.
The battle might be over, but that does not mean that you are done fighting. You might have to undergo continuous additional treatments for a while. You should also never skip a single appointment that you might have with your doctor or oncologist. Regular checkups are the best way to catch the cancer should it return. Remember, you can do this – you are a strong warrior, after all.
About the Author
Simon Johnson is a researcher in the field of breast cancer issues. He likes to share everything from his personal experience with the online community of interested or affected people.