Every time I take a shower, I take a good long look at these things on my chest. I stand there and stare. Not like in a "yo, I look good" appreciative way, but more like, "Everything okay?" quizzical manner. I stare at every stitch, every scar, every perceived swollen spot. I don't spend like 10 or 20 minutes just looking at myself or anything. I do a body check to make sure nothing new pops up on me.
Ever since my expansion, my left side is starting to resemble a breast. The right side, of course, still looks all sorts of messed up. I'm hoping that with one or two more expansions that will change and my chest will look somewhat normal. It's not going to happen overnight, that's for sure. Rome wasn't built in a day, and my chest certainly wasn't either. Since I did not have a nipple-sparing mastectomy, that means (duh) I no longer have nipples. Before all the cancer happened, I would have thought that would be hard for me to accept. "Oh my god, I am a freak girl with NO NIPPLES." Surprisingly, I don't really care. I don't see this as what I don't have (nipples) and more like what I do have (boobs that aren't trying to kill me). Pretty sure I got the better deal in this trade.
My body acceptance includes understanding and being okay with that I am covered in scars almost from head to toe. I have two scars on my belly button, a scar underneath my right armpit, and a scar across my neck. I'll have two scars across each fake boob and probably four scars where each of my drains were inserted in my chest. I look nothing like I did in August 2010 - that girl is gone. Then again, that girl was all cancery with a non-working thyroid. She might have been a skinny little thing with all her body parts, but serious illness and possible death was lurking. (Okay, going to stop referring to myself in the third person 'cuz that's just creepy.)
I'm starting to see my scars as battle wounds, not skin imperfections to hide and be ashamed of. Sure, I have days where I look at myself and wish that things were different, though those days are fewer and far between. I doubt that I will walk around in shorts and a bikini top, proclaiming for all to hear, "CANCER GAVE ME THIS BODY." I didn't walk around like that before my cancer and certainly won't start now. Ha.
Do I regret having a double mastectomy? I absolutely do not and doubt that I ever will. I'd do it again if I had to (oh God, I hope I don't have to). Ever since the great Boobicide of 2012, a lot of my fears and anxiety about ending up like my mother are gone. I threw everything I could and then some at breast cancer, and I will never see this surgery as a regret or mistake.