What a relief! I got into the pool for the first time today. The water was the perfect temperature, and I had a nice easy workout. I was able to do my two favorite strokes – breast and back, with no trouble. I just took it slowly. During backstroke, I did occasionally feel some twinges under my right arm from the SNB, but it was easy to keep going through it. After, I felt really relaxed, refreshed, and happy that I had done something good for my body (more than just a mile stroll in my neighborhood).
Of course, there was the locker room. I wore my bathing suit to the gym, which is what I always do (I shower and put on regular undergarments after my swim). When I took off my clothes, I looked pretty much the same as I previously had in a bathing suit. You can sort of see the drop off of my stomach, but it’s mostly smoothed out by the suit. And, my breasts look even better – first of all, they’re not as saggy or big, so they don’t look completely smooshed and flattened into the shelf bra of the bathing suit. Secondly, no nipples pointing out (which used to be a problem because I swear that locker room is only about 60 degrees)! So overall, I was feeling pretty confident in my suit.
It was when I got out of the pool that I began to think about getting naked in the locker room. Now, I’m guessing that like me, most women do a pretty good job of not staring at other women and just concentrating on getting themselves dressed. But I think even out of the corner of someone’s eye, I might be a little grotesque. While I think my abdominal scar is looking great, it’d be pretty horrific to someone seeing it for the first time and with no idea of what it is. Same with my nippleless scarred boobs. And the most embarrassing thing of all – I was going to put on those granny panties in front of other people! Oy.
As I got out of the shower though and headed toward the dressing area, I began to feel less embarrassed and more sort of proud. I mean, I walk around on the street fully clothed and no one knows what I’ve been through in order to get out of my house and just walk a few feet. At the gym, people can tell by looking at my naked body that I’ve been through something rough – and I was proud of myself for finally being at the gym (although I’d have been prouder if I’d been allowed to go two weeks ago!). I also had a realization – what if someone saw me and thought, “Yikes -she must have had breast cancer. That reminds me; I need to make an appt for my mammogram.” Yes! My body all by itself is advocacy!