Thursday, May 3, 2018

Appearance vs Reality

When you visualize what a cold looks like you’d probably envision runny eyes ‘n nose, Kleenex on the floor and most likely stay away from the person fighting off the cold. So what do you think of when you think of cancer? If we polled 10 people we’d probably hear words like hair loss, skinny, death...maybe cancer free. What I’ve learned & writing about today, is that appearance isn’t reality. 

When I was first diagnosed I was like many people and misinformed about cancer. What cancer looked like and what it actually was weren’t one thing or one look but instead many. I’ve been told numerous times I couldn’t have cancer because I had hair and no extreme weight loss. It’s not that people didn’t support or believe me, but they like me, had the general appearance on the brain. I’ve replied to these conversations saying how I too wish I’d lost my hair. Wait what? Yup. You heard me. When you look “ok” how are you supposed to see how far you’ve come?  My end of treatment photo looks more like I had a hangover from a wild Saturday night vs a beautiful side by side shot taken 6 plus months apart. My cancer scars weren’t visible but instead disguised by clothing. This time round I’m posting pics from my colostomy surgery.  My face never got a side by side but darn it my stomach scar will!  Sorry I can’t post the other things done to me, my blog would have a R rating! 😉 

Because of this I sometimes struggle to leave my home. I struggle if I look too good but really it’s just that I take a decent photograph & applied a face of makeup. Every time I’m at the Cancer Agency I see my thick file and think wow you’ve been through so much. I’ve felt pain like nobody should and I’m forever changed in so many ways, although some ways for the better. Cancer teaches you so many lessons about strength, love and vanity to name a few. 

A few days ago I decided to ride my bike. Please know it was just circles around my neighbourhood and nothing overly extreme. I was hardly comfortable but gosh I was happy. Happy to be doing something I took for granted but really enjoyed. My bikes name is Mango and I swear she spoke to me and said “good to see you” as air was inflated back in to her tires. Because I had plastic surgery where my tumour was removed (vulva near my sphincter) that was where I felt the most pain. I’ll have another surgery in 6 months or so to sort that out so I’ll be better able to ride thereafter. For now any future bike rides remain closer to home or maybe I need to invent a cool plushly padded oversized bike seat!  If you look at my photos linked to this blog you can see me sitting on my bike with a huge smile on my face. As Charlie Sheen would say “winning!”

My appearance may seem that of a “normal” gal but not quite. I’m still not going out with my friends for more than lunch or car rides but to me that’s a huge win. I’d like to hit up a movie theatre next as those seats are much more comfortable than Mango. Amy Schumer’s new movie called ‘I feel pretty’ seems hilarious and probably quite suitable for where I’m at.  It’s ok to feel pretty when going through cancer and not let it take that away from you too. Doesn’t happen every day but makeup is one thing I’ll beat cancer at every time. That’s appearance. Unlike the common cold cancer brings people together in various now you reading this blog. That’s reality. 




Update Dec 5th

Sorry I am a day late! This is from Carly yesterday :) Pic 1 was taken months ago and shows how big my hernia was. It was even bigger at...