The New Normal

HOWEVER…when I ask the Lord to give me eyes to see grace, to see beauty, to see ALL that is good, He takes my breath away. – Mundane Faithfulness

I am not sure I ever asked to see grace, but all of a sudden grace just happened. Grace starts to take over when the hard is unbearable. When the hurt is to great. When I am simply too tired to try.

The past week I settled into a new normal, as I told someone Saturday. I now expect in the evening a night sweat or two (or three). I am prepared now when the sweat takes over (often through my clothes) and I must turn on my fan at my desk. Typically right around 9:00 am every morning. I am learning my new limitations. Accepting the difficult reality that is “I had cancer”. Because it is a thing…. there is a past tense of cancer. I had it. Now it is gone. Just like that.

The support and love carried me through and now I am learning to navigate the post cancer life on my own.

I cry thinking about looking in the mirror at my scars. I deliberately shower, change my clothes and hardly look in the mirror before I am covered. I don’t know if this will ever change. I find it hard to accept something that feels not apart of who I am. After the mastectomy I lost all feeling across my chest. I often forget that I even have them.

Do I hate them? That’s a tough question to answer. They just are. Maybe hate would not be the best word to use. They are not what I had. I know I have mentioned this before, but they are not. Clothes don’t fit as they should. Bathing Suits are meant for “real breasts” not strangely constructed fake breasts. Everything about them is hard. (both literally and figuratively).

But if you ask a stranger they look amazing.

That is just it though. How others perceive me and how I perceive myself are two different things.

So I am intentionally working on the self perception part…

I am aware of the emotional storm that left me in the current state that I am in. I feel like me but in a different light, with different fears, different thoughts and looking to the world with a new set of eyes. So I daily try to embrace my scars, the hurt, the fear, the rejection, the outcast, and all that cancer brought about. I am still in menopause and on top of that I now take a pill each morning, that worsens the side affects of the menopausal state. I wonder over my eyelashes that have now gone scarce and my buzzed head that is coming in. I daily feel around my breasts for abnormal. Afraid that something might be there. It is all apart of what cancer left.

They don’t tell you that in recovery and healing how distant you will feel from the world. I am more introverted. I value time alone and hours of rest.I also realize that some of this is who I am and who I have always been. But before cancer, I never dared to live that person out fully. And now I have no shame. I just do. I do me. And the new me, the new normal is good.

Weekends are starting to fill up, my skin is tan and my legs are tired. (Biking and Running are in full swing). Saturday I went to Boulder early in the morning to watch the 70.3 Ironman. This race I had signed up to do just weeks before being diagnosed. Shortly after learning of my diagnosis, the Ironman organization refunded me. Needless to say it was bittersweet to be there on race day watching as the racers passed by, knowing that I would have been in the field had I not had cancer. Feeling of envy mixed with joy that I was able to be there to watch. Someone sent me a message and said, “You have accomplished far more than that race in the past year”. I thought to myself, that is so true.

Thank you. Those words cut straight to my heart and meant so much. Today I take deeper breaths, cry often, laugh a lot and try my best to seek joy in everything. This new normal. It is good. It is different but it is still good.

Hope this finds you well today.

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From the race course Saturday morning, I rode around 20 miles or so to check on the racers cheer on a dear friend!

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