I didn’t get any sleep last night. I look and feel like crap which isn’t helping with my situation. Self doubt is running rampant in my head. Have I made the right decision to stop the injections in my chest? Will the end result be something that I can accept and live with for the next 50 years? This isn’t like trying a new hairstyle and not liking it. This is a very permanent and life altering decision. What the fu#k should I do?
I have struggled with low self esteem my whole life. Always feeling like I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough….you name it, I felt it. At times its been almost crippling. When I was young I was teased constantly. A lot of kids are, but the sounds of “Flatty Patti”, “Fatty Patti”, still ring in my ears. I fought to prove to people that I wasn’t a dumb blonde that I had something between my ears that was worth exploring. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t sometimes. There was a time as a young adult that I couldn’t even look someone in the eye when speaking with them as I couldn’t face seeing what they thought of me! I know that is terrible and I am not proud of that phase of my life, but it is all part of me and at times like this those fears creep back into my head and take over.
I have never been able to look in a mirror without seeing something or someone that I was happy with. Sure, over the years I have learned to put on a good face and present myself as a confident and self assured business woman; and a lot of that is true. I love what I do. I am proud that I was able to start my own company, produce exciting campaigns, win awards and develop a great reputation in my industry. That truly is an accomplishment I am proud of. But that is Patti Hone, President and Creative Director. Take that away and I’m left with Patti Hone, the woman who still feels unworthy, and unattractive. Now, take all those self doubts and fears and add cancer and a double mastectomy into the mix and you have a nasty mess…and many sleepless nights.
Throughout this journey people have told me that I have been very brave. I don’t think bravery has ever entered into my head. I have just dealt with what I needed to and forged ahead so as to get through this as best I can. At no time did I ever feel that cancer was going to get the best of me…even if it took away one of the best parts of me. I’ve never felt sorry for myself or said “why me?” That would be futile. I had cancer, I had to have a mastectomy, so deal with it. Well I have “dealt with it” but now I am dealing with the after effects and I am really struggling.
To say that I have got used to seeing my scared and misshapen chest is true. I have got used to it but I certainly don’t like it. I have tried to picture what the end result will be once the expanders are removed and the implants are put in but it will never be what I wanted. After yesterday’s decision to stop the injections and settle for smaller implants I am struggling even more. I had an image in my head of what I would eventually look like and now that image has to be readjusted. I am going to have a much smaller chest than I thought. Whether bigger or smaller I will still have ugly red scars forever so its not like I will miraculously have fabulous looking breasts. That was never on the table. I will have man made silicone mounds that don’t move. Just writing this I can hear my inner “mean girl” teasing me and taunting me. If I felt self conscious before all this you can just imagine how I am feeling now. I am trying my best to block her out. To remember that how I look isn’t what defines me, but let’s face it, how you look or at least how you feel about how you look makes a big difference. I have managed to overcome a lot of the anxiety and self doubt that I fought with over the years, or at least been able to deal with it. So I guess I am going to have to battle with it again. I won’t let it win. I am determined to find a way to accept what I will now look like and try to find the confidence I need. But I also know that this will be and always has been a hurdle for me. It will never go away completely and will always be hovering at the back of my mind waiting to take over and try to convince me that I am not good enough or pretty enough or strong enough.
Last night was bad. Today is a bit better and hopefully tomorrow will be better still. I will do my best to keep positive. To remind myself that I have come a long way. And I will work on keeping the mean girls at bay and promise to kick self doubts ass when it comes my way.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.