Yesterday was one month until my surgery date. November 7th. Most days, I still don’t feel anything either way. I’m not constantly obsessing, I’m not crying, I’m not anything. And then I read articles like this, articles that should give me hope (and, I suppose, do give me hope) but that first make me cry, terrified of this entire experience.
I have never considered myself a strong person. I don’t necessarily consider myself weak or pathetic, but “strong” has never been a self-descriptor. And that’s what I keep coming back to: I am not strong enough for this.
In the beginning, I didn’t feel strong enough for any of it. Not the risk, not the future surgeries, not anything. I wallowed in depression and tears for two months before putting on my big-girl pants and getting on with my life. And then I wasn’t strong enough for the traditional surgery. I needed it done all at once, I needed to wake up and still be normal, still be me.
Now, I’m counting on waking up with hard, awful tissue expanders. All I hear is how terrible they are; while on one hand I’m grateful for the honesty, I also wish people could be a little less negative. I have traded what I thought I needed for the ability to stay home, to avoid flying to and from another state for surgery.
But the reality is, I still don’t feel strong enough for all the what ifs. What if I wake up truly deformed? What if I have complications and God forbid need to go without implants for a long period of time – or what if I have to go without permanently? What if the pain is unbearable? What if I cannot function because of it, what if I never feel like myself again? What if I can no longer recognize my body – not only in looks but in function? Although I’m no exercise fanatic, the idea of never again being able to do yoga or a pushup gives me heart palpitations.
What if I can never again wear a bathing suit? Or feel attractive? Or feel normal? I’m not strong enough for any of that. I’m just not. Part of me refuses to be because I shouldn’t have to.
I want to believe my life will be like that article, that I’ll find my new normal. And I want to believe my “new normal” will still be some semblance of the normal I know. I just don’t think I am strong enough for it not to be, but lord knows I’m trying.
Like a star come down to walk the Earth in radiant array,
I saw the light of my spirit descend the other day.
I was standing by the bus stop on Northeast 33rd when I got the word:
I will be made a new creature one bright day.
I don’t have to be afraid,
Speed that day on its way.