|Dress: c/o Karina Dresses|
Shoes: Sole Society (under $40)
Sunglasses: c/o Zenni Optical
Bangle: Dress and Dwell (old), similar here
Bracelet: Lily and Laura
One thing that is rarely said but commonly occurs is that life after chemo or life after cancer can be difficult. I rarely talked about these struggles. There are things that most people are not aware of that cancer fighters and cancer survivors go through and that is the adjustment to 'normal life'. Everyone assumes that now that I am done with chemo that the fight is over. Just because my treatments are not chemo, doesn't mean everything is back to normal.
I can go on and on about what life is like but I definitely want to talk more specifically about body image. One thing I love about the holiday season is finding and wearing festive outfits. This year was a little different. I was unsure I would find anything that I would feel comfortable in and still feel good wearing it.
After my mastectomy, I was feeling off. I tried to fight it off because I thought maybe it is just me being hard on myself. To back track, I've been a strong supporter in loving yourself and your body. I've always accepted my body, and I do my best to encourage others to love themselves as well. However, after chemo, all of a sudden I just felt unbalanced. Some parts of my body were numb and all in all I just didn't feel me as if everything about my body was foreign. I thought I was being hypocritical and thinking I just don't love myself anymore.
One day, I decided to tell my oncologist what I was feeling. I explained every sensation I felt in every motion and the changes I was seeing. I was glad I decided to speak up. Everything I was feeling was due to these long lasting side effects. My doctor explained that my body has been beaten and bruised from the cancer treatments, and to top it off I am recovering from a 9 hour surgery. So she said of course it is not the same. My body is also experiencing nerve damage. I think the honest response is what is helping me heal and understand my body more. I think I just needed the truth because as of lately, most of the responses I would get from anybody is that I am fine and I should be grateful I gained new boobs from all this. Honestly, people trying to make me feel better about having better, bigger breasts didn't help because everyone thinks my surgery is a breast augmentation. It's not at all. I can go on and on about this, but let's just say if you know anyone who went through a mastectomy with breast reconstruction never ever compare it to a boob job. NEVER. It really is not the same.
Then one day, I heard from Karina Dresses again. I mentioned them in this post, and I love how their dresses are not only made with the highest quality but their mission is to make dresses so that women can love and accept their body. So when they reached out to me again, I decided why not. Maybe it will help me get out of this funk about my body. When I tried on my dress, for once, I felt good in a dress. I haven't felt so feminine in a while. It hugged me in all the right places. Heck, I felt pretty! Tre even saw the confidence I had when I wore this dress. This is why I stand by this brand so much. Their dresses are made for all shapes and sizes. They are made to flatter your figure. They really do stand by their mission.
I am wearing the Maggie Atomic Umbrella dress. I love the crossover neckline, length of the dress, and breathable fabric. My favorite feature is the tie at the waist. It's just makes the dress fun and unique!
I know this post was much longer than expected, but I just hope that if anyone out there is going through some type of body image issue, don't let your negative thoughts about your body tear you down during this holiday season. Please know that your body is resilient. Your body can get through anything and you just have to trust yourself and your body. I've seen my body get torn, beaten, and bruised from my treatments and looking back, I am amazed how it is recovering. Just take the time to reflect what you've accomplished and surround yourself by people who love you. If it takes a pretty dress to make you love yourself, then go for it.