A couple of months before the pandemic started and we were mandated to go into a lockdown, I ran into a former colleague who I hadn’t since I returned to work after surviving cancer. This person had left shortly after I returned and then I left that company as well. This person sees me and yells, “Wow! is that you?” Startled and unsure what to say, I responded “yes, it’s me.” “Oh, my goodness! you don’t look like you had cancer, you almost look normal” she continued. Taken aback by her words I simply smiled and said “thank you.” After her initial shock and remarks, we continued to make small talk and after a few minutes we parted ways. As luck would have it, I was not alone during this bizarre encounter. One of my current colleagues was with me and witnessed the interaction and she let me know that she thought my previous college was being extremely rude with her comments. Which I responded “well, it might not have been the best choice of words to use in the situation but my appearance was quite different the last time she saw me, therefore my change in appearance was a big shock to her and she didn’t know what else to say.”
Due to the chemo and radiation treatment, my appearance changed drastically. I went completely bald and my eyebrows and eyelids were very thin. My face and arms looked super pale when not flashing redness flair and, I lost a good amount of weight and muscle definition in my body. No matter how positive my spirit reflected outward, my physical appearance illustrated my cancer battle wounds. At the time, I didn’t want to accept it but my physical appearance reflected the harshness of cancer.
Thankfully, after completing my cancer treatment, my body started to transition into a stage of recuperation and healing. Although, my inner body is not completing healed and I carry the residual of the tumor inside, my outer self has recovered and is healthy looking to the outside world.
Our physical appearance tends to change several times in our life for different reasons therefore we need to make sure that we love ourselves regardless of our appearance. Illness, accidents, parenting, stress, exercise or aging can drastically impact or health and our outer physical appearance but this does not define us. We need to carry ourselves with confidence and reflect our true inner beauty. When we live with God’s love in our hearts, that love shines through and radiates as both inner and outer beauty to the world around us.