Monday, September 27, 2010

Body Image

Many women I know struggle to love their bodies, to feel comfortable with their own weight or skin or hair.  I have definitely felt this way ever since at age 11, I noticed my thighs.  I have this vivid memory of sitting at a school desk, looking down at my legs, and feeling like they didn’t look like they were supposed to.

It’s difficult to not process all of the images we are subjected to on tv, in magazines, on billboards, in movies, and feel like we are separate from all of the airbrushing, styling and make up.  We are real and they are not.  To look good is to feel good and vice versa, right?

But what about when you don’t feel good OR look good?  What if your body just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?  I know we are all spiritual beings and I must believe we are living in these bodies temporarily, but I want to be happy in mine while I’m in it. 

So certainly I questioned my body and it’s abilities last year when it wasn’t getting pregnant.  And then I questioned it again when we discovered the cancer party that had been going on in my mediastinal region, as though parents were out of town.  (Well, we’re home, kids, and you’d better get this place cleaned up.  Fast.  Because this party of yours is O-V-E-R.) 

I want to be able to trust my instincts and go with my gut and all that, but I’m conflicted.  There are many moments when I doubt myself and feel like my body has failed me.  I imagine others faced with serious medical issues must feel the same way.  I know I must take care of my body while I’m living in it, but I’m not supposed to be too superficial.  Look Good, Feel Better.  Make up clogs your pores.  There are so many messages, so many experts, how, in times of crisis, do we decide who to listen to when we're not sure about what our own bodies are saying to us?


Dan surprised me tonight.  Yesterday was our fifth anniversary (and also this summer marked 11 years since we first met) and we celebrated with a delicious dinner at Parc (French bistro in Center City, Philadelphia).  I wore my blonde wig, make up and of course, a sundress.  We had a great table by the open window, got a sparkler in our dessert and on-street parking (free!).  Definitely an anniversary to remember, in the midst of a time in our lives I think both of us want desperately to forget.

Our plan for tonight’s dinner was to eat with my family (and Dan’s parents who are visiting us this weekend) in the sukkah of my Aunt Marcy and Uncle Gary.  For those of you unfamiliar with the word sukkah – it’s basically a wooden structure with branches as a roof (so you can see the sky from inside) that stays up for a week (during the harvest holiday of Sukkot- which commemorates the time our Jewish ancestors were wandering through the desert, living in similar temporary homes).  Judah was definitely excited about it (he’s been singing Sukkot songs for many weeks) and we were all looking forward to socializing with family before my final treatment this Thursday.

What I didn’t know was that Dan had been orchestrating this event for even longer than Judah has been building Torahs out of legos.  With the help of our wedding caterers, he recreated our wedding menu, even down to the dessert (buttery apple tart thingys), which we brought in specially from a café near our then-home in Bella Vista (and which were lovingly hand-delivered by the Adams-Kaplan crew 5 years later).  There were menus printed (to rectify a missing menu mixup from the actual wedding day) and decorated on the backs by Judah B., and some wonderful friends were also there to surprise and celebrate with us.  I was totally speechless (you may have observed that this happens very infrequently) and thrilled with the whole thing.  I definitely feel loved and supported.  If only every person dealing with such crisis was surrounded by people as thoughtful and caring…

To my wonderful husband, I say thank you.  I still can’t believe you got me (I’m surely not on my A game if I let this one get by me), but I’m glad that you did.  I’m pretty sure this was on the list of qualifications.  I can’t wait for us to get on with our lives and to all of the other adventures that lay ahead.

To my family and friends, I say, I could not have gotten this far – with a smile still on my face – without you.  I am forever indebted to all of my blog followers, FB, and real life friends, who have been with us every step of the way, bringing/sending nourishment for the body and soul on a daily basis.  I am both happy to feel strong enough to make homemade applesauce (from our freshly picked bounty) as well as anxious for Thursday to hurry up and get here so we can kick some Round 6 tuchas, and thereafter, enter into Phase Two: Radiation (or, The Zapper).



  1. Wow! Now THAT was a great anniversary present!
    I will be thinking all kinds of Hurry Up thoughts for you this week.

  2. Now THAT'S impressive!!! Husbands everywhere- take notice-- consult with Dan for special occasions!!! So sorry to have missed such a wonderful celebration. On to Chemo Six with Mia leading our team down the homestretch!! Right beside you... XOXO

  3. Dan gets MAJOR props!!! So happy that you had such a nice weekend!

  4. What a wonderful anniversary dinner! Way to go, Dan....Sweet! Wishing you many, many more!!!!!