Fear of the Mirror
When I hear "chemo", I immediately think of a bald head, frail muscles and bones, hollow eyes, pale skin, and a tired body.
I'm scared of the changes to the way my body feels and looks. It's vanity and it's superficial, but it's still very real.
So I'm trying to let myself go through the emotions of knowing that my body is about to undergo some major changes--some of them permanent, and letting myself be sad and scared about it before I face and tackle it. I can't know exactly what side effects and physical changes I'll go through yet, but I know some of what it *can* include, and there's just nothing "pretty" about them.
After spending the past three years trying to recover from feeling so weak and terrible when I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease, knowing that an even worse wave of physical and emotional challenges is about to hit me is really really really hard for me.
I like my curly hair. It's kind of my signature. It's going to be hard to see it go...and then have to start all over.
I like being strong and fit and physically capable. I do burpees for fun. My workout is my favorite part of every day. Having muscle and endurance is a big part of what makes me feel confident and resilient.
I like dressing up and accessorizing and wearing high heels when it's not practical. I don't always dress for comfort -- I like the wow factor, the sparkle and the shine.
Can you wear heels to chemo? Will I want to?
I know it's not forever. I know it's not the end of the world and in the grand scheme, it's a small thing to be doing what I can to be cancer-free. But when I look at my body in the mirror today, I like what I see, and so I'm scared and sad and angry at what I know is coming.
I'll do what I can to make the best of it. I'll rock a fedora and funky earrings with my bald head, and learn makeup tricks to try not to look so pale and hollow. I might even end up with a fancy and perky new set of ta-tas at the end of all this.
But getting there is going to be tough. And I'm not going to pretend it won't affect me. It will. It already has. So today I'm sad about it.