As I walk around the house I see myself in our wedding pictures - I look at myself and wonder if I'm ever going to get back to "that" ... and in the same glance, I catch my reflection in the glass of the frame - and feel so different. Different, but the same ... but not. I lost so much of my femininity in 2010 - I lost my breasts, my long hair, most of my eyelashes and eyebrows - even my period stopped. My yoga body got soft and is now -- very cushy. Embarking on 2011 I realize that this year will be about regaining all that was lost, but it won't ever be the same as it was before - so yes, it will be a new normal for me. My reconstruction is complete so I have my "breasts" back, my eyebrows have come back and I can see tiny little eyelashes growing back in everyday. Even my period came back the other day, just two months of being absent. That must be a good sign, right? And it's going to take a lot of work to get back to where I was physically before the diagnosis. And my long hair -- well, I only have about a half an inch of hair, and catching my reflection in the picture frame only serves to remind me of how slow it's growing. But it's growing, so for that I must be thankful.
Since the turn of the year, I've had 2 or 3 breakdowns. It's only been 15 days into 2011. I attribute it to the slow down of activity - the lack of "things to do" for treatment. It's like when you are out and about all day, running errands and checking things off your list -- and then when you get home and you finally sit for a moment - your mind quiets and you reflect on all that you've done that day. It's like that. My mind is finally quieting, and the emotions are rising to the surface after being ignored for 7 months.
But things are good. I got involved with a non-profit called Be Bright Pink, an organization dedicated to young women who have, had or are at high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer. I've applied to be an ambassador for the organization and lead a chapter in Colorado, something they don't have yet. We had our first meeting last weekend and I'm excited to be involved. It's going to be a good thing, and it's providing me with an outlet to turn my diagnosis into something positive and constructive. Most importantly, it's allowing me to help others who are going through what I went through.
It's hard to know where to go from here, because it's hard to define where "here" is. It feels like the same place we've always been, but it's obviously changed. I started the Tamoxifen treatment on January 2 -- just to try it and see how it affects me. So far - I don't notice anything, so that's good. I hope it continues like that. Making a resolution for myself for 2011 seemed trivial, so I didn't make one. Usually a resolution means you want to be better in some fashion in the new year. I don't want to be better than I was in 2010 ... I just want to be the same.