I looked at it. I did it. I’m feeling quite brave, a little grossed out and sort of just, I don’t know… confused? Maybe sad? But not really, because it hasn’t quite hit me that this is my body we’re talking about and that I will not wake up tomorrow and realize this was all just a disturbing dream.

My guardian angel and volunteer nurse, Teresa, was checking out the construction site and for the first time ever, I looked down. Then, since I couldn’t quite see well enough, like a person who knows there is something totally disgusting on the ground, but leans in for a better look anyway, I stood up and looked at my naked chest in the mirror.

It was quick. I looked just long enough to see a large purple bruise where my left breast had been and the angry red line covered in cracked blood and glue (yes, they glued me shut instead of using stitches). Then I sat down before I could pass out.

Teresa watched me carefully, probably trying to gauge if this was the moment I was going to completely and totally lose it. For the record, this was not that moment. No tears. Mainly just questions. There is more skin left there than I had anticipated. It’s puffier than I thought it would be. The bottom of the wound almost looks like the curve of the underside of my breast.

I have to trust that somehow when this is all done, the doctors will have turned this war-torn and abandoned site into something that resembles femininity. It’s what they do.

Trust. It’s what I’m learning to do.