We live a construction life over here at the Harms house.
I’ve been watching my man build amazing things for two decades. But I never imagined there would be a point in my life when a piece of me would have to be physically reconstructed. That at age 40 my chest would literally be taken apart and put back together.
During that process of physical breast reconstruction, non-physical parts of my life were reconstructed as well.
Pieces of my marriage were taken apart and reconstructed.
Pieces of my thought life were taken apart and reconstructed.
Pieces of my self-esteem were taken apart and reconstructed.
Pieces of my sense of womanhood were taken apart and reconstructed.
And pieces of my relationship with my Savior were taken apart and reconstructed too.
The funny thing is, when my physical body healed, the feeling was gone and I was left with permanent physical numbness.
But as the non-physical parts of me worked through the reconstruction process, the depth of my emotions intensified. I now feel more deeply than I ever have before. I love my husband more. I have more confidence as the woman God created me to be. I find more joy in adventurous things. And I cling to my Savior with a new intensity.
Sometimes I miss the before-cancer me. I miss life without hot flashes. I miss knowing my husband was the only person who ever got to see me with my shirt off. And I miss the naivety of thinking I’d live my smooth-sailing-life to old age and die on a porch swing with my Corey by my side.
But I don’t miss those things of the past as much as I treasure my life in the now. Breast cancer and breast reconstruction were the means the infinitely wise God used to get me to this place, and I choose to be thankful. Thankful for the trial and thankful for my life reconstructed.
I’m also thankful you’ve come along for the ride 🙂
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 20, 2016; one month to the day after my 40th birthday. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and a five month reconstruction process and was forced to make crazy decisions about my body that should be reserved for Twilight Zone episodes.
I’m currently on a 10-year prescription of Tamoxifen which used to produce hot flashes that brought laughter to my house. One time when I had my head in the freezer (I once saw Claire Huxtable do this for relief on The Cosby Show), my then 14-year-old son Owen said very matter-of-factly, “It’s better than cancer.” The boy speaks truth.
I’m currently under contract with Familius Publishing House for my first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the Word of Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction. It will be released October 12, 2021.
I write on a variety of topics, but I love connecting with women going through the bizarre journey of breast reconstruction that affects so much more than the physical body. And if you read much of what I write, you will quickly find that I also love Jesus and being a boy mom.
I am a freelance writer, speaker and editor with a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in English: Literary Studies.