Back to the Beginning
I have started and stopped writing this post for over a week now, and there are at least three different drafts saved in a folder on my desk top. I write and erase, read it over, take a break, doubt myself, and then put it away only to start over again a few days later. It seems sort of off-topic, and it is completely embarrassing, and yet – it’s like I can’t say anything else until I get his out of the way.
Several weeks ago, I had reconstructive surgery to repair a deformity on my buttock area, from an accident. The surgery required liposuction, fat grafting, and list of other things with fun names that were all to rebuild that area. I was incredibly fortunate that my insurance company felt that the surgery was medically necessary, and made a benefit exception to cover it completely. I didn’t pay a dime out of pocket.
Even with the surgery, this area will likely never look as it did before – my hope was/is that this area of my body will look normal when I am wearing every-day clothing. Before surgery, I always wore special garments to smooth the area and make it look normal. My surgery went well, and I am healing nicely. Due to swelling, it will be months before I know if it was successful, and it is likely I could require additional surgery.
I don’t know what about this I find so embarrasing. Some of it is that we are very clearly talking about my butt, and how many women do you know that enjoy talking about the physical imperfections of that area of their body, right? We are also talking about what is wrong with it, as well as discussing(on the internet!) what I spend a great deal of time trying to cover up. Part of it, though, is that I also feel sort of ashamed and guilty that I care enough about how I look to have surgery to correct it. The truth is, no matter how abnormal it looks, or how it affects my self-esteem, it is a completely cosmetic issue. Changing it does not affect how my body functions. As an athlete I pour so much of my energy, effort into making my body perform at a certain level. I run, and lift weights, and sweat because of the way it make me feel, because I love doing it. I find myself being proud of scars and bruises. If my body is performing like it should, I feel like I shouldn’t care how it looks.
But, I do. Oh man, I do. It makes me self-conscious. This area, my butt, makes me feel ruined, and abnormal. It makes me afraid to wear dresses, or bathing suits, or pants not made of denim. I could write forever and ever about what is like to have something on your body that is clearly deformed, but it all feels like saying too much and yet not saying enough at the same time.
My body works wonderfully. I am fit. I am strong. Six days before my surgery, I ran my first ever marathon in 4:23:26.
I can’t tell you how odd, and discouraging, it is to go from the high of completing a marathon (with a time I’m very proud of, I might add!) to being confined to bed, on medication, and full of stitches.
I am now, with my surgeon’s consent, beginning a new marathon training plan. Running is painful. It is far more painful, even, than it was after my cesarean. Fat was removed for grafting from four areas on my back, and the movement of running is awkward. Inevitably, my clothes grab at stitches and scabs – catching if I turn too quickly. My butt, obviously, moves when I run – and this is the worst part of all. Every time my foot pounds the pavement, I cringe.
So, there it is. I am struggling to complete two mile runs. I can do a few repetitions of weights before I have to stop. I am sore, and tired, and frustrated. You guys, I am starting over, again.