Having breast cancer can lead to emotional distress and thousands of insecurities. When I learned that I had breast cancer, I felt like the clouds opened up and a brick house fell on top of me. These insecurities leave you feeling overwhelmed and alone — but you are never alone.
Breast cancer leaves behind a secret sisterhood of those who came before you or are going through the cancer experience along with you. I want to share with you some of my insecurities as I went through breast cancer and as I adjust to my new body.
From the moment that you hear the words “breast cancer,” your mind goes to the worst possible conclusion. But you know what? It is completely natural to believe the worst because cancer is a totally scary disease. The possibility of death made me feel very insecure.
First, I felt that I hadn’t accomplished everything that I had wanted. How dare cancer take my future accomplishments away from me? I also didn’t want to die because of my children. I haven’t taught them everything that they need to know. And I didn’t want them to have the trauma of losing their mother. I knew my daughter would have memories of me, but my son was only 2, so what memories would he have? I didn’t want to leave my husband or family.
I learned that when you have insecurities of death, you can combat them with actions. Each second with my children, family, and close friends mean so much more. I wrote letters to my children for the worst-case scenario. I held everyone a little longer, and unimportant things slipped away. Putting myself into action gave me peace for the future. I couldn’t control my fate, but I could — and still can — control what I do with my time.
I also felt insecure about raising my children the way I wanted. I wanted to teach them a positive lesson that when you are faced with a difficult situation, you face it with grace, hope, and positivity. I was not sure of myself, nor if I could raise them as they should be raised, while I was dealing with breast cancer. I certainly knew that I did not want them around a lot of sadness and pain. I wanted them to have a normal childhood experience.
I learned that when you have insecurities about raising children while going through breast cancer, follow your heart. I learned that children need your love and honesty in order to thrive. Even when I had a bad day or was recovering from my double mastectomy, I could always give them love, no matter what. I had the right words to tell my daughter whenever we talked about breast cancer because I trusted my instincts. Of course, they experienced some worries and fear because we are a family. But parenting the way I intended wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Family and friends were also a huge support.
I still have insecurities about my mastectomy scars and how I look. I am not so sure how long that will take, but it might take years to get there. I’m going to take it day by day and actively prevent myself from giving in to my insecurities. I’ll get there one day. I’m sure that you will overcome your insecurities, too, by going step-by-step.
Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Breast Cancer News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to breast cancer.