This past year was a flying shit show. 2020 was bonkers. I had planned on having my preventative mastectomy and diep flap procedure (check out this page where I explain some of this) in the fall of 2020…. But then suddenly, a pandemic. That changed all sorts of plans. It changed how I am preparing for my mastectomy. My doctors office wasn’t going to be performing any “elective” surgeries (my surgery is not considered elective, but I don’t have active cancer, so it does not take precedence over those that do) which they told me back in April. It was like, ok, that’s probably a good thing anyways, no need to have major surgery during a time when having a compromised immune system could be deadly for me.
But I still had a lot of work to do. I had had a consultation with my doctors in preparation for my upcoming surgery, and they wanted me to lose weight, for a few reasons. Based on the goals that I had for my body post surgery, my doctors wanted me to lose weight so that my boobs would be able to be the size I wanted them to be, post surgery. So I had to change how I was going to prepare for my mastectomy. I currently have really large breasts, and they are a source of uncomfortableness and insecurity for me, both mentally and physically. Plus, the more in shape I am for surgery, the easier it would make my recovery. Being in shape is not synonymous with losing weight, but I knew what I needed to do. I knew that I needed to change a few things, work on a few things, and heal from the inside out, to prepare for this surgery. So in my mind, I pushed my surgery to January of 2021.
Remember that flying shit show we talked about? Well, needless to say, things did not go quite as I had planned. I imagined being my most fit (mentally and physically) self come January. I was going to be READY for that surgery. I had already been working on all the internal mess that is my brain and past issues that have created current ones, so I kept just hammering away at that. I made wonderful progress this year, in that regard. I have done so much work and have come so far. I also launched my business and invested in a business coach, and let me tell you something. If you really want to take a deep dive into who you are, become an entrepreneur.
The mindset work required to open yourself up to success and criticism is heavy. So I had put all this on my plate. I decided to get my brain, heart and soul on the right path to recovery, was going to work on medically supervised weight loss for major surgery to remove body parts, and launched my business. Yeah, totally easy peasy, no big deal, we’ll cram several years worth of work and progress and development into one year. Oh and also, turn your whole world upside down. Sounds good right? RIGHT…..
I was feeling like complete shit come December. I had NOT accomplished any of the physical aspects of my plan. I wasn’t any more in shape than I had been at the start of the year, and I had actually gained some weight, not lost any. What an asshole of a failure I was.
But oh, WAIT. Did I accomplish other things? HELL YES I DID. I launched my business. I’m working my way through a life coaching certification. I have been reading, journaling, recovering, and investing in my mental health. And guess what? I have made SO MUCH progress within myself. I have cultivated new thoughts, thought patterns, behavior patterns, and habits. I was so focused on what I didn’t accomplish this past year, that I completely discounted what I DID accomplish.
Working on yourself and your thoughts and behaviors is no joke. It is WORK. Hard work. And the thing is, accomplishing any other feats before we have done the inner work, is almost impossible. Real, lasting change, has to come from a healed place, not a place of shame. Having done all this inner work, thought work, and mindset work, has gotten me to a place where I am now able to actually process the other physical goals I want to work toward.
Part of that is also recovery. Recovering from a decades long battle of not feeling worthy, of not feeling good enough, of feeling ashamed for wanting more, of being shown and told that my body type made me not worthy or capable of having more. I was so ashamed that I had never processed and dealt with my childhood issues, and that I had “let” them turn into a physical problem, where I used food to cope. I created an unhealthy relationship with food, my body, and exercise. It started out with over exercising and not eating enough for a few years in my late teens and early twenties. Then it morphed into never wanting to step foot in a gym or move my body for exercise purposes, and eating as much food as I could all the time.
Uncovering those thoughts and habits around food and the issues that it stems from, is A LOT. It so much, too much, and also feels like I should be able to do more. That I shouldn’t be so exhausted from this mental healing and work. But damnit, I was fucking wiped out. I didn’t have the capacity to also conquer the physical things I needed to work through. But that’s ok. Its really fucking ok. I feel good about where I am ending this year. A much stronger and aware version of myself. Not a better version, just a different one.
Now, I’ve done the work mentally that I needed to do (and will continue to always do), to get myself to a place where I am ready to accept the next steps of hard work I need to do. I think we often try to skip the messy and difficult middle, and get right to the part where we are recovered and happy. But we can’t get to that place without all the messy stuff in between.
I share my story with you, my progress and my failures, so that perhaps you feel less alone in your journey. So that you know that what you are going through is not unique to just you – so many of us struggle and suffer in silence. I hope that you can come here and find community that supports your journey.
And oh yeah, surgery will not be in January. I have more work to do. That I want to do. So buckle up and hang with me during this journey.