Thursday, November 27, 2008

The last straw

In less than one week this will all be over. Even as I write it, I can hardly believe it. My surgery is scheduled for December 3, 2008. I have opted, through MUCH deliberation to have a lateral mastectomy (just one side) with immediate reconstruction. This means that the surgeon will remove the nipple and all of the breast tissue attached to it from my right breast, I will also have to have all of the lymph nodes from my right arm extracted. The plastic surgeon will perform my reconstructive surgery at the same time. The implant will be placed under the muscle of my chest wall and will gradually be filled with saline over the next few months. How do I feel? Where do I begin?

Relief. I am relieved that I was strong enough. I am relieved that we did it, that my little family survived this, and thrived!

I’m thankful for the lessons, the life lessons. Grateful for my family and the most solid, and unbreakable circle of friends I could ever hope for in this life. I love you all so much, I could never begin to repay you for your worry, your kindness and your love. I’m grateful for a new outlook on life, one that pushes me to stay present, love constantly and teach. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live and love my son. I’m thankful for my husband, my partner in life and love. Thankful for his realism and his constancy and his ability to make me laugh even through tears.

I try not to spend a lot of my time here. Fear is a space that I can get lost in very quickly and where my imagination likes to take control. It’s dangerous and foreboding full of questions like “What if it comes back” and self-corrections like, “you mean WHEN it comes back”. You see what I mean? Not a fun place. But it does exist.
Right now my fear is waking up to a new body that I don’t want to recognize as my own. My fear is the look on Dave’s face the first time he sees me naked. My fear is that it’s not over.

Love. I love that cancer and the opportunities that come with it have made me look deep into my core. I know exactly what I’m made of; I know what I stand for, who loves me, who I love. And I love life.

Consider this –

we are not humans on a spiritual journey, we are spirits on a human journey

I have shaved my head, weakened my immunity and removed pieces, but my spirit is whole and flourishing. Try and catch me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Too Young
Too Strong
Too Brave

You never stood a chance

I laugh more often,
love more deeply,
and live everyday with purpose

You may have taken my hair, but you'll never get my heart
I'm going to thank you and then I'm going to let you go.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
~Max Ehrmann~