On the eve of my last chemo I found myself in the bathroom at 12am staring at my reflection and crying.
I don’t look like me anymore…I have no hair for one thing, and my whole life I’ve had lots of long hair. I have scars all over me, and my womanhood will never look the same again. I can’t get over the ugly hole in my armpit. Like someone took an icecream scooper to it. What the heck. You can cover your chest but good luck hiding that in summer jeez! Chunks taken out and needle tracks all up my arm - and these are just the scars you can see…but they are only on the surface.
Yes I am crying. But I’m not crying because I’m sad.
I’m crying because I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. Sound crazy?
Let me explain.
You see once upon a time I spent A LOT of time trying to look good. As an embarrassing example, I wouldn’t even leave the house to get the mail from down the driveway without putting makeup on. Seriously. I had my reasons and I don’t believe they were superficial…although the mailbox thing is slightly ridiculous.
Unfortunately, victims of sexual, physical, mental, emotional abuse usually end up this way – most of the time without even realising it. This is an excerpt from that autobiography I mentioned in a previous post.
“There was a point in my life where for an entire year I went out clubbing every single night bar one; Mondays, simply because there was never anything happening in town on a Monday. I would stumble home at the break of day, often drunk as a skunk or if not drunk, then hyped up from the adrenaline of finally finding something I loved to do. For the first time in my entire life I was happy, however superficial that sense of happiness was. The truth is, my self-esteem was absolutely shattered into a million shards all thanks to the experiences I had as a child growing up. By going out every night I was attempting to pick up each one of those shards and stick them back together with the glue of “Attention”. All attention was welcome, especially positive attention from the opposite sex. In fact if I’m extremely honest, I was looking for my sense of purpose and identity through men who flattered me and told me all the things I wanted and needed to hear. Going out every night was one big huge DISTRACTION from my own personal tornado called LIFE. Attention from men seasoned the distraction with promises of a fairy tale future. HA! Fat lot of good that did me. When woman go out to bars every night you can be sure that they aren’t just there to look at the woodwork, or stare into the eyes of their mates all night while drinking and dancing their way into oblivion”.
Obviously I’m not proud of this behaviour. But as I reflect back on it now, I see how deeply rooted my shame was planted.
But even as I read over this and look at myself in the mirror – I remain Thankful.
I still have my eyebrows for one. And my eyelashes are holding in there!! Whoop Whoop!!But seriously....
Something has happened in me since all this began;
I am no longer bound up and being suffocated by the chains of aesthetics. That doesn’t mean I’m going to go around looking like I’m horey or homeless either!! (Don’t worry my darling husband!! Haha)
It’s just that now for some inexplicable reason I am at peace. So much so that I can cruise around my house rocking my bald head in front of my husband and kids without having a full on anxiety attack. Now that is a miracle. Some may even be connecting a few dots here and realising something amazing….yes, its called being healed.
I believe the damage that was done to me so long ago over all those years has been repaired and restored now….all thanks to this cancer journey. Crazy aye. That something so hideous can produce something so beautiful….but only if you let it of course.
Don't get me wrong, I still care about the way I look, but the way I think and feel about it now is completely different – and its soooo LIBERATING! Yeah I still take a few selfies along the way lol but I’m really just doing that to mark my journey. Each photo has some significance and represents a signpost to me. Plus I think the wigs are just fun. Much cheaper than drastically changing it up at the hairdressers!!
Anyway, I know a lot of ladies who did crazy things to their bodies just to please and keep their men. Some of these women were role models to me and I looked up to them big time. Now I just feel terribly sorry for them (not in a horrible way). I know there is something in us that wants to please our fullas, but jeez….life is just so much more than vanity and low self-esteem. But I digress….sort of. There is an encouragement in there if someone wants to grab it.
So why am I thankful?
So here’s to my last chemo!!
The journey is FAR from over but at least I only have one more week of hideous-ness to go and then on to radiation. I’ll start celebrating after that but for now….won’t you join me in thanking our father God for what was, is and is to come!
One last thanks to my family and friends supporting me from near and far. We couldn't have done it without you that's for sure. As my hubby said in a recent insta post…”you might think of my wife as a champion, but she would say the real champions are you guys”. That's so true!
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From the first session to the last. Accompanied by two very special people..my darling hubby and special friend Raewyn.
SO GLAD to get this hideous thing out of my arm. Now I can use all the hot water in the shower in one day...gotta catch up on those super long showers!
First the ponytail, then the shave. It was a hard day but we did it with lots of laughs mixed with a few tears.
The many wigs of Rebecca Tereu. I have to say...it was fun. But I don't really appreciate the hot scratchy things in the heat. Bandannas are far more comfy!
My kiddies coming to visit me during one of my many unscheduled hospital kids. These two light up my world. xx
Eyebrows on fleek!! haha Lets hope I keep them! Not sure what I'd look like with none! Eeek!!
My oncology nurse Fiona. This lady literally brightened up my day everytime I saw her. We had such the heartiest laughs. Not sure how appropriate it was while everybody else was going through so much yuck...but maybe they caught the happy bug!
Straight after chemo....what do we do?? Well go to the supermarket to get munchies of course. This is the Tereu women we're talking about hehe