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!
Gratitude. 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.
Fear. 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.