As Good as it Gets

Where have you gotten lost and given up hope? Perhaps that place is so small, so stuffed down that you have nearly forgotten it all together. You know it though, that twinge of sorrow or regret, a little sigh of “maybe tomorrow “.

For me this came up in the form of, “This is as good as it gets. At least I am here.” Specifically, I am referring to the changes that surgery brought to my body. Here we peel back another layer, the residual effects such a radical alteration of the body may bring. So far in my writing I have processed shock and loss, grief and body image, sensuality and femininity. As I get closer to the one year anniversary of my July 15th double mastectomy, I notice that I still can not do all the things I have done before. I am feeling limited and restrained by this new body, the pectoral muscles lifted off my chest wall, these implants ever seeking to drift to the sides, pushing against the insides of my arms when unconstrained. The tightness of scar tissue always reminding.

I was once a fierce warrior princess, at least in the fantasy realm of my mind. Outwardly I felt no limitation. If I wanted something badly enough I could find a path to it. There was fierce determination to the point of recklessness. I hated to ask for help. Now I grapple with jars of pickles, with plank position in yoga. I feel geriatric in my attempts at stretching and I almost stopped at, “Oh, this is as good as it gets”….

…until three weeks ago when I met my physical therapist. I seriously almost canceled my appointment because, look, I’m here. I’m alive. I can lift my son. I can carry a bag of groceries. This is as good as it gets. Right?

Keri did an in depth interview. Her no nonsense attitude and calm-centeredness put me at ease, made me curious -let’s see where this can go. I have nothing to lose. After taking her measurements on my flexibility and strength, she got on her soapbox:

This is unacceptable! I bet you thought, “oh this is the way it is now, right? I see so many people, women in particular, who just put their heads down, grit and bear it. That is no way to live! We can do better than that. We are going to get you strong and flexible again.”

This is kind of how I imagine a “Born Again” experience might be. Keri just walked on water. I left there feeling so ignited and more hopeful than I have felt in almost a year.

Will I return to mixed martial arts? Probably not, but what a gift to be handed back your hope! Each time I stretch and reach and lift I am building neural pathways and new muscle. I am pushing and growing for it is not enough to just be here.

I dare to want more.


10 thoughts on “As Good as it Gets”

  1. Hi Melissa, Just wanna thank you for writing. I find it helpful when I read it. Kinda helps me a bit in the hope dept.


  2. So glad you found a good physical therapist. Be patient, it will take time but it will get better. The New Normal will be a better place. I didn’t have implants (terrible infection, failed reconstructive surgery) and I still get tightness on my (tattooed) scar. Yoga, exercise, stretching and acupuncture helps. Rock on with your bad self!

  3. SO happy for you and thanks for sharing. So many are a bit hopeless and need the hope you shared to remind us there is always more. Blessings dear heart. Continued Love and healing for you. Hugs, Janet

  4. Another beautiful and inspiring post, Melissa. I am in awe of you. Even though I’m not in any health crisis right now, some days I feel a complete lack of energy and inspiration. Your post just gave me a shot in the arm. Thank you!

  5. Another very inspiring share from you Melissa! Thank you for being so open, so honest. I am taking home a lot of needed wisdom from you, as I am struggling with some difficulties. Thank you courage and wise woman you!

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