Many thanks to eShakti for sponsoring this post! I received a free product in exchange for my honest opinion.
I finished my last chemotherapy treatment on October 16th, 2007, three months after my junior year of high school started. After undergoing inpatient treatments for the better part of a year, I was excited to have my hair grow back and regain a bit of normalcy in my life. I soon realized that there was no going back to “normal” after cancer. My whole life had been altered with this one word, this one tumor that had changed who I was and who I wanted to become. I’m not going to lie, going back to “real life” was much harder then I thought. I constantly was looking over my shoulder, expecting for my cancer to come back. I was struggling with constant knee pain and a limp and an immune system with the capacity of a teaspoon. I was trying to wrap my mind around survivors guilt as I watched my friends on my floor loose their battles. On top of that my friends seemed to think that I needed to treat cancer like I had stubbed my toe and that now it was over, I should move on and never talk about it again.
Before I knew it, I was being pushed away by friends who I had considered close and special. One of my best friends in high school simply stopped talking to me one day without any explanation – someone told me he was tired of my cancer talk. Another “friend” claimed that I limped down the hall just to get attention. Ouch. I started to become ashamed of my cancer, of my limp and of my short hair. I was embarrassed to wear anything that would show off my left leg and would prompt people to ask why it was so scared and misshapen. My senior year, I had to undergo another knee surgery to try to prevent the need for a knee replacement and I was mortified that I would have to be in a wheelchair for a month and so worried about what my “friends” would start saying.
I learned to hide everything about my experiences and to hide my scars. I was ashamed and embarrassed about what happened to me and when I moved to Idaho to go to school, I refused to talk about what was wrong with my knee and why I was in a brace. I decided that no one would know my past so that no one could hold it against me.
How many times are we made to feel like this? How many times do we undergo a traumatic or damaging event and are made to feel like we should be ashamed of it? How many times has my voice been silenced because I was too afraid to speak up for myself and in turn, others?
After a semester at school and finding true friends, I slowly began to let my walls down and open up about what happened to my leg. I realized that I could relate to so many others in my community who understood what I went through in one way or another. It took a while, but I began to find a balance between being open about my cancer without going overboard with information. I began to feel empowered by my scars.
Now, after 5 surgeries, one knee replacement and almost 8 years later, I have learned to be proud of my scars. I have learned the importance of loving my body and the miracles that have allowed me to keep my left leg! I may be scarred, but I am standing on two legs.
I am not afraid to wear things that show off my left leg because I’m not afraid to answer questions about it. I have realized that my left knee has become an opportunity to educate those around me about pediatric cancer. I can be an advocate for those who are still fighting and a voice for my friends who have lost my battle.
I was so excited when eShakti reached out to me and offered to send me a dress this summer because I have finally become comfortable wearing things that show off my leg! Lemme tell you, dress shopping for me is a miserable experience because: 1. I am so tall, so all dresses are way too short on me and 2. I’m bigger in the bust, so I usually need a large to accommodate that, but my waist is a size medium, so finding a dress that fits both parts of my body correctly is a nightmare! The amazing thing about eShakti is that you send them your body measurements and they will customize the dress to your body! After sending them my measurements and requesting that the dress length was taken to my knees and making sure I could keep the pockets, I received the perfect dress that fit my body! I seriously cannot get over how easy it was to finally get a dress that fit, didn’t give the world a view of my bootay and show off my scar! I am totally ordering another dress next month!
Be proud of your scars and your journey. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for what may have happened to you. Show off your battle wounds. You are not scarred. You are a tiger who has earned her stripes.
What scars do you have? Do you show them off? Have you tried eShakti?