An Open Letter to Those Dealing with Breast Cancer
Open Letters. I have never written a letter to myself. Seems odd to me really, but I have a lot on my mind these days and I want to get it out there just incase someone else is going through the same things and needs a friend. So maybe you are going through breast cancer, maybe you are not. But please feel free to replace the name Emily with your own name when reading.
You are still Emily.
Repeat those words to yourself every day. You are still Emily.
Everyone changes physically as they progress through life. Some people get fatter, some get skinnier, some get wrinkles, some get saggy boobs, some get grey hair and others go bald. Everyone physically changes as they progress through life. But physical changes can be modified and they be temporary!
Emily, you have physically changed. You have lost a breast and your hair is falling out. But guess what! It is all 100% temporary. You are still just like everyone else who changes physically through life, you have the ability to make the changes you want to see.
But, Emily, you need to remember that you are still that tenacious, overachieving, determined, graceful women you were before you even knew you had cancer. Your spirit, your personality, your intelligence, your beliefs, those are still very much the same as they were. Sure you can change those too as you grow, but if you want to still be tenacious, overachieving, determined, graceful, etc. you can still be those things because those are the things that make you, Emily. You are not defined by your chest. Hell those boobs never made you any money anyways, you are not feeding anything with them, and really for you, your boobs were just an accessory, a decoration. You can get new decorative boobs when you are ready to and in the mean time there are other modifications you can make to feel balanced. Your hair, it will fall out. All of it! You will have a new smooth, shinny head, but hey, bald is fashionable, and it can be beautiful. But you need to be strong and brave enough to embraces it for a few months. Yes, that is right. A few months. Because, it too is temporary.
Unlike Hercules, you do not need your hair to be successful, strong, tenacious, or graceful. You do not need your boob to photograph weddings, or hunt and hike and drive and dance and have fun. You do not need those silly physical things that society thinks you need to be a beautiful person! You need a smile, maybe some lipstick and maybe a little fake eyelashes…but there is no shame in that either. You don’t “need” to make yourself look “pretty” but if it makes you feel more confident and more in control, then rock it!
And Emily, you do not need anyones permission to smile, and continue to enjoy your life during your chemo treatments just as you did before you started. You can do what makes you happy and makes you feel good. If you want that beer and those hot wings, then get your butt up and get them! If you want to hike 5kms in the sun on a beautiful wooded path, you go do that because you can. If you want to Netflix and chill with a glass of wine because you need a moment to slow down, take it, do it, own it and stop looking for permission. You are still in control.
You are still in control!
You are still in control of doing what makes you feel good.
You are still in control of being a beautiful and graceful person.
You are still in control of your successes.
You are still physically in control of you.
Because you are still Emily. You have not changed for the worst. You have only changed for the better.
You are still in control.
Now go out there and do something that makes you smile!