Three images keep looping through my mind. 

The picture of my new pal Wendy over at a little c  (because she refuses to give it a big C) looking absolutely beautiful in an artful and seriously gorgeous kind of way with her head bedazzled. But saying bedazzled doesn’t sound right, it sounds tacky and this, this is stunning. I was envious and it almost not quite but almost made me want to shave my head again. I would take bald if I looked as phenomenal as Wendy does. Wendy also did the grooviest thing with her port, prompting my self deprecating banter all week for not having thought of it when I had that gross thing buried in my chest for a year. She painted her port to look like a daisy. Go see it. I love daisies! I have daisy rings and daisy bracelets, daisies hand painted on the wall in my office with Amelia’s pinky making the yellow dot; if only I had known I could have a daisy port. I kinda have a girl crush on Wendy this week if you can’t tell. She is the coolest cat. I remember the day I had my head shaved and came home to get my first glimpse in private. As I pulled the hat off, I really really hoped that I looked like a Wendy, but I didn’t. She has indeed proven that lemonade without vodka is just boring (her post) I sooo wish I had her flavor of vodka when I had lemonade.

Me on a hot summer day, in front of my bathroom mirror. About five months into chemo. My eyebrows, eyelashes and hair all gone by then. Bloat from steroids and the pallor of serious sickness. Nauseated by the cognitive dissonance that came with looking in the mirror and not seeing a person who looked like me. It is frightening and dismantling. Unsettling. I remember weeping. Wondering where I had gone, wondering if I would ever get me back; questioning deep within, my hair will grow back, but will I? I wonder sometimes still, after five years, if I have….and suddenly, it’s hard to breathe…

A sparkly blonde. Fake. Fake nails, big hair colored, fake tan, fake eyelashes,Botox, fake boobs, lips plumped, and dazzling white veneers. Thousands spent buying her beauty.

Where does beauty hide in cancer?

Is beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Indeed.

Behold Nancy and her concave chest, riddled with infection for a year. Behold Bonnie, newly breastless, drains and facing chemo. Behold Philippa swimming in an exotic river in Burma. Behold bedazzled Wendy. Behold our hairless wives sisters daughters friends and lovers with now healthy yet mangled breasts. That is what is real. Real beauty.

We women who sparkle from something so deeply pure and raw and beautiful and certain that arrives with cancer. Behold.

Beautiful ~Christina Aguilera

(Don’t look at me)
Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly, it’s hard to breathe
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed

To all your friends, you’re delirious
So consumed in all your doom
Trying hard to fill the emptiness
The pieces gone, left the puzzle undone
Is that the way it is

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring you down
Don’t you bring me down today…

No matter what we do
No matter what we say
We’re the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go
The sun will always shine
And tomorrow we might wake on the other side
All the other times

We are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes, words can’t bring us down
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down
Don’t you bring me down today