I don’t normally check out my naked body in the mirror. Never have, really. Oddly, that had nothing to do with my not liking my body. I just never wanted to look too closely.
These days, I’m peeking more, and longer, because I don’t want to forget what that jagged, puckered line over my right breast means. It means I am a survivor. A breast cancer survivor. And the Scar is from the lumpectomy I had four years ago.
Weirdly, over time my Scar seems to have changed, somehow. Like the tissue underneath is a fault line that shifts and cracks while I am asleep. That’s okay. It’s doing its thing. More importantly, I’m still doing mine.
The breast, itself, is a little over half its original size, and misshapen. Prior to my lumpectomy, my surgeon told me that I’d probably “lose volume” in the breast and cited an implant as an option. My reply: “Hell, no.”
Radiation therapy, which I had, causes changes in breast tissue, as well. At the end of the day, I’m fine with that. As is my husband, who loves me unconditionally. He didn’t marry me for my tits. Perky as they were.
When I soak in a hot tub, my Scar seems to bloom from the heat. It turns a sort of labial, hot-pink. I run my index finger over it — a soft stroking. In turn, my Scar gifts me with a smile, grateful for the attention.
I stand in front of the steamed-up mirror, and as it dissipates, I watch myself, gently smoothing cocoa butter over and around my Scar. I have to take care of it, pamper it if you will. It’s part of who I am now, and that’s pretty f*ckin’ awesome.