recovery fashion part 16: maroon medical gown/remembering the body/the countdown is on

I have a little less than a month to go before what I hope will be my final surgery in this breast reconstruction process. I’ve had my fair amount of operations over the years. Never have I ever looked forward to a single one—until this time. This time I’m counting down the days! I can’t wait to get to know my body as an entity unto itself again, beyond the borders of patienthood, weekly procedures, and unpredictable bouts of pain.

I know I’m lucky to be able to look forward to this. I know not everyone has this chance.

I have no problem or self-consciousness with scars, but my own do come to serve as symbols for me. As I took this photo in the surgeon’s office, the robe fell open—and I noticed for the first time that the scar from my liver resection back in 2014 (a vertical line from breast bone to belly button) is barely visible anymore. And there was a moment of recognition in this: that what was once all-consuming and terrifying is now only a line nearly faded beyond recognition. And that someday, all of this might be too (with the bonus of lessons learned).