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.


lindsay said...

Wow Jenn! You continue to amaze me with you beautiful words. I wanted to thank you for sharing these thoughts with us as it is not easy to do for some. You are surrounded with a huge family that loves you that feeds your strength and spirit. I always keep you in my thoughts!
Lindsay XXX

lisalou said...

As always, I am touched.
We love you a whole lot!

Traci said...

I pray God will be with you every minute you are in surgery.
Stay strong.

khunalexandra said...

I know how you feel in many ways. Please feel free to browse my own cancer voyage at

Phebe said...

sniff, sniff. Thanks for touching me Jenn. I love your honesty and willingness to share. I am sorry that I haven't been able to help more. I fall into the category of your friends that "worry" You have been in my prayers constantly. You are an inspiration.

Amanda said...

You are amazing and beautiful! Keep strong! You rock :)


Roger said...

Hey Jenn.
I remember vividly going into surgery when they removed my kidney because of cancer. I felt confident that this wasn't going to kill me. That was six years ago and I'm still alive.
I missed your get-together this past weekend. I wish I could be in two places at once. My family was here, all of them for a reunion. You know how important that is. It may be a bit selfish on my part, but I still remember that day in February 2002 and I know what my priorities are. My granddaughter is almost 5 months old and so precious. I'll introduce you to her sometime when we run into each other at the Farmer's Market. In the meantime, take care. You'll definitely outlive me by lots of years and that's fine with me.