How 7-Eleven Improved My Posture

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How 7-Eleven Improved My Posture

How 7-Eleven Improved My Posture
By Lori Renowski — Jul 12, 2014 11:01pm

I think it’s fairly obvious that cancer, no matter what kind it is, wreaks havoc on your body. You’re hit with medicine and treatments in an effort to kill the cancer before it kills you. Even though you’re warned about the side effects, it’s still a shock to your system when you start experiencing them.

I’ve seen the face of cancer before experiencing it first hand, and I’m ashamed to say I always made a judgment on those people wearing that face.

I felt sorry for them. Cancer + chemo= weak. I’m saying this was my perception until I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I think that is why I was so scared.

I can’t speak for everyone but I had (and still have) a constant tug of war battle with my self-image and what cancer is doing to my health and appearance.

Being bald is very scary for anyone, but if you have super long and/or thick hair I think that take the scariness factor one step higher. I spent most of my life with long and thick hair. Cancer takes this from me and I am forced to adjust my self-image controls until I feel OK with myself. At least baldness/hair loss from chemo is usually temporary. There are lots of ways to hide it. Yet for the most part I felt like I stuck out. I never had the courage to go out into the world bald. I always had to have a hat on, even if it was 100 degrees out.

Boobs were cancer’s next choice for a souvenir from my body. This ultimately was my choice. I wasn’t worried about losing my breasts because I thought I was replacing them. I can’t say for 100% I would have went through with the double mastectomy had I known I would be done having boobs forever. I’d like to think I would have. I know at a minimum it would taken a LOT more convincing

Cancer went one step further with me and decided to leave its mark on my teeth. I am still dealing with this one as I haven’t been able to start getting them fixed due to various issues. It has been doing major damage on my self-esteem. I don’t want to smile. As far as I am concerned, this has been the worst damage to deal with.

I’ve found out that I can live without boobs. So I’ve decided that I will do whatever it takes to get my smile back again. And not just any smile, a healthy smile. No cracked teeth.

The reasonI’m in a constant state of tug o’ war is because I start to feel guilty when Istart feeling down about myself. I should just be happy that I’m alive! Whocares if I’m a bald, flat-chested, chunky, toothless yokel?

So there I am trying to find that happy balance between maintaining my physical health and maintaining my mental health.

If it was as simple as counting compliments I would be set. I have to get to the point where I believe in myself and I feel beautiful. I will never be able to be like I was before, so it’s not fair to compare my current self to that person. I’m not saying I’m totally down on myself and I see a hideous monster in the mirror. I’m saying that I’m not where I want to be yet.

Every so often I forget that everyone doesn’t know I have cancer. I’m no longer wearing the outward telltale badges of someone who is going through chemo. I’m flat-chested,but those who don’t know me, or didn’t know me before my mastectomy might just think I’ve always been that way. I was reminded of this when I was out in California in June. Dennis and I stopped at 7-11 to get something to drink. We get a drink and a snack and head towards the counter to pay.

An older Indian woman is behind the counter and she starts ringing us up while I’m rummaging through my purse for my wallet. I hear her say “When’s the baby?”

First of all that’s not proper English so my brain didn’t process it right away. Once I finally did process it, I ignored it. After all, she’s not talking to me because I’m not pregnant.

She repeats,“When is the baby?”

I feel myself start to turn a little red as I start to think, “Oh HELL NO. She is NOT talking to me.” I look up and she’s smiling at me and patting her belly.

WTF!? She IS talking to me. My first thought isn’t really a thought. It’s just red hot anger. How dare she?

Then I look down. I’m slouching , and damn it all… I do look pregnant. Still, I am angry at her question. That’s just not a smart question to ask any woman. Ever. I manage to say “No. No baby.”

I figure she’s feeling pretty silly right about now and that we are done having this conversation.


She smiles and says “Oh, ok. Food?”

Jeezus Christ! What. The. Hell. Are you kidding me right now!?

In my head Iam yelling “NO!! It’s not food. Now ring up my Slurpee and my maple doughnut so I can be on my way.”

I want to smack her, shake her and say “Look bitch, I have cancer. My boobs were removed and my stomach now seems to jut out quite profoundly in their absence. Plus, my stomach is a little puffy due to the hormone treatment I’m on.”

I don’t. I remain calm and I’m actually able to lose the red and maintain my usual shade of pale. I calmly tell her “It’s not food. It’s medicine.”

Now she realizes her mistake. I think she’s waiting for me to go off, be rude, something. I don’t. After I pay for our stuff she looks me in the eye and says,“I’m really sorry for asking”.

I told herit was no big deal. And really, it wasn’t. I forget that I look different now-and I don’t have a sign on my chest announcing my breast cancer.

Dennis said nothing this entire time. I turn to him and say, “I’m really trying not to let this bother me.” I see him tense up just ever so slightly, not entirely sure how to respond. As we are walking out I turn to him and ask, “Would you please remind me occasionally to watch my posture?”

He smiles as we walk out the door and says he definitely will.

I never did eat that maple doughnut.


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Lori, I love your ability to find humor and good in all situations. Keep it up! And we could use a posture reminder every now and then!

Sep 16, 2014 - 6:05 PM by Courtland L

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