Sunday, July 28, 2013


My bilateral mastectomy is just a little over a month away on September 4th. This is a curious time, I'm not too interested in talking about the "cancer" or the "surgery" right now; I'm certain this is yet another coping mechanism to protect me from the scariness and the surrender that I know I would resist if I gave the surgery too much thinking energy. I, also, cannot bear to hear anyone speak to me about it as if they know, unless of course they do, then chatter away PLEASE, but don't fill my head with the negatives that can be, only give me the news of easy healing and painless post-op recovery. I wish I could tell you how many people share their compassionate concern with me from the most ignorant place one can stand, some of them, convinced they understand, with the gaul of asking me how I am feeling, or am I better today? Believe me, I am by no means angry about their misperception, just marveling at it all. Cancer is a different world, none like I've ever known. It is indeed a place of fatigue, exhaustion-mentally and physically, worry, fear, loss, grief, hopelessness, helplessness, mutilation, mistrust in doctors and treatments and sometimes in one's own judgement, a place of confusion, a sense of warped reality as in "What the Fuck just happened! I was fine yesterday. Is this real?," a place of preoccupation to the nth degree with one's mortality, inundation with daunting questions: "when this is gone, will it return somewhere else?, "how will I feel without my breasts? will I be off balance? will I look or feel less beautiful than before? will my husband think I am? will everyone notice like the "Scarlet Letter" on my chest? will I cope? or will I crash into self-pity?" So, with all of that going on in my head, I'm trying really hard to keep myself busy. I have all of those lists to complete, you know the ones that we let ourselves delay like cleaning the kitchen cabinets, tossing the pile of mail we haven't dealt with; I just know if I have that list staring at me post-op, I won't be able to rest. I am a doer and I will have to have it done in order to rest and heal. I know, it is a distraction also, so what! Let it be, who needs the reality of cancer and losing their breasts staring them in the face? Not I, not you.  
I have other work to do as well in the immediate future, some of which I have briefly attempted. I know I had a predisposition to breast cancer, it runs far and wide in my family, a little on my father's side and a lot on my mother's side, but I also know it takes the right terrain to grow cancer. I'm taking some responsibility for this myself, you can argue all you want and try to tell me it's not my fault and all the reasons may, in fact, sound reasonable, logical. I know I am frustrated with my life and have been for a few years. I tend to let my day follow the schedule of those in my life that I love and, in essence, lose time for the things I desire, the things I need to thrive. It's been too long living life this way and allowing myself to fall into the recesses of everyone else's identity. I began to feel less of a knowing of who I am individually and autonomously. I began to die. Some days I feel invisible. By the end of the day, when others are easing into their rest, I think I can, finally, do that art project or writing project that I desire, but by then I am too tired and another day has gone in which I have not expressed my soul and my spirit's burning light is dimmed. This is not uncommon among women and neither is breast cancer. Is there a link? My intuition told me 4 months before I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I would be diagnosed and to do what I could to  prepare myself. My intuition tells me now to work hard to change these habits of putting my self second to others. I witnessed my Mother and Mother's Mother perform these same behaviors and I was trained well. I know how to take care of others at my own expense and I'm damn tired of it. I can be a loving wife and caring mother and still stand strong in my spirit and I am determined to rethink and re-pattern my day in order to put myself first. Afterall, my life will cease if I don't, this I know. If you love me, don't let me do too much for you when I offer and remind me to put myself first on the list of "to-do's" for the day. I am worth it! If you are processing your life in the same way and you are a woman: CHANGE NOW. Love yourself first, this goes against what most women were taught, DO IT ANYWAY! Other's can survive and will survive and can wait for you and will wait for you OR they can do whatever needs to be done themselves. Stand tall in your spirit and cultivate it. You will soon learn that you are the driving force in your family and your wisdom will deepen when you devote yourself to what ever it is that your spirit desires. Be strong and then stay strong. Your husband will love you more and your daughter's life will be spared the pain when she is a mature woman. This I wish for you and for my own life.

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