Dear Body — A Wildfire Poem
You’re in a time out.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Well, it’s kinda you too.
I think you need to sleep on the couch,
I’m so mad at you.
I’m so grateful for you,
but I’m mad too.
I don’t understand you.
We were cut open at just 11 years old.
Sliced and diced 11 times.
I ate right. Worked out.
Didn’t eat the ultimate Reese’s peanut butter cup ice cream sundaes I wanted
and built muscle and strength.
I dealt with your ongoing pain
and learned to push through,
even when I kept waking up
missing body parts.
Your brokenness made me stronger.
Like those cracks covered in gold in Japanese culture.
Finding beauty in the brokenness.
Then when I thought we were besties you lied to me.
I found the lump on you myself.
I thought it was because I was working you too hard.
But it wasn’t.
It was CANCER, body.
I thought we were strong and finally healed and whole.
But, like Samson and Delilah,
you stole my hair and you betrayed me.
How do I trust you again?
I held you last night as I was curled in a ball in pain…again.
I held you and I wept.
I’m trying to fall in love with a body I don’t fully trust.
If you’ve ever tried to, you know.
On March 1st I tried to do my “feel it on the first” and I broke down.
My fingers trailed over to the right side of my chest, right under my armpits.
As I moved my fingers over my own skin, I couldn’t feel a thing.
It felt like I was doing an exam on another person.
My mind went numb, as numb as my skin there.
The skin where surgeons carved out my lymph nodes and breast tissue and radiation burnt away any of the remaining feeling.
I held my hand on that feelingless part of my body and wept. My incisions on my belly tighten and I wept more.
I held tight to my confused body.
Speaking truth over her.
Allowing my Father to heal us both.
Do you feel beautiful?
Do you look in the mirror and love what you see?
Do you see the intricacies of your breathtaking creation?
We are SO fearfully, and wonderfully made.
Whether you are a breast cancer survivor or not, our society benefits greatly from us, as women, hating our bodies.
Throw in cancer, health issues, pregnancy, depression, a pandemic or any other life change and we may look down and realize we can’t recognize our bodies.
Did you know that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful? Believe it or not, this is actually doubled from just 2% in 2004.
Also, 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty.
My daughter caught me looking at my chest yesterday and stood beside me, one hand around my waist. “You look beautiful, Mommy. I’m so glad you’re here and you’re my mom.”
I held her with tears in my eyes.
I pass that on to YOU, sister.
Can you look in the mirror today and say these three things:
You are BEAUTIFUL.
You are HERE.
You are LOVED.
You ARE. You ARE. You ARE.
We are so much stronger together!
Blog header image: Adrienne Gerber Photography
Asha Miller — Pilot’s wife, mother of two, breast cancer thriver. Diagnosed at 34. IDC and DCIS, Stage IIIb, ER+, PR+. Battling through 12 surgeries, Asha has remained determined to fight back in the war against her body. In 2016 Asha started a journey of wellness and fitness in pursuit of becoming her best self. She fell in love with the strength it brought to every aspect of her life and continues this lifestyle today while teaching others to live their best lives. An unexpected breast cancer diagnosis in September 2017 did not stop Asha from pursuing mental, physical, or spiritual healing. She underwent a double mastectomy with expanders, then had second stage reconstruction that put under-the-muscle implants in later, after healing from 30 radiation treatments. Five months after that surgery, she learned the disappointing news that her implants were recalled for causing another type of cancer. Asha underwent yet another breast surgery to take out those implants last year in 2020 and is currently flat. Three years into her cancer journey, Asha is known for her devotion to her family, steadfast faith, positive presence on Instagram, social activism voice, love of health and fitness, and organic living. She also is an enthusiast for self advocacy while navigating the health care system, especially as BIPOC women. @dearcancer_itsme
This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the “Community” issue, published originally August 14, 2021. More information available at wildfirecommunity.org
WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit wildfirecommunity.org for more info.