In Honor


Later today, the doctor will be cutting out a piece of my breast.  3 cm, more or less.  The size of a kiwi or a Roma tomato.

 Maybe smaller if all the prayers have worked….

I just finished my “antibacterial” shower, the second in less than 12 hours (doctors orders) and applied the Lidocaine patch.  The patch needs to be in place 6 hours before the lymphatic mapping procedure at 11:00, where they will inject me with a blue contrast material and after which I might have a little after glow going on that might make me look gray around the gills.

The nurse told my husband not to worry…I might look like I’m not breathing, but it’s just the dye.  Awesome.  It will go great with the gray hoodie I’m wearing.

*sigh* It will be a long day at the medical center.  I have to be there at 8:30 for the needle localization…a procedure where they insert “needles” into my breast as markers for the surgeon.  This will give her the tumor coordinates, so to speak.  Surgery is scheduled for 1:30 and I’m thrilled that they keep telling me I will be ready to go home at about 4:00.

As I washed myself a few minutes ago, touching my breast with healing and compassion for what is to come, I couldn’t help but wonder.  Wonder at this companion I’ve carried with me for 58 years, from tiny bud to full ripe fruit….through the nursing of two babies and sensual delights of an unmentionable number iof lovers.  I’ve loved my breasts and hated them, only to come around full circle to love once again once I realized that they were in jeopardy.  That I  was in jeopardy.

And I couldn’t help but wonder how the surgery will effect the way my breast will look and feel….what angle the scar will take and whether or not the change will be obvious to others.  It will definitely be smaller but my doc has assured me that she will make the shape as “nice” as possible.  Having a female surgeon, and an excellent one, gives me great confidence.  She gets it, in a way no man ever could.

Naturally, prayers have been going forth that the cancer be obliterated…the tumor shrunken like a dark brown raisin under a white hot sun….leaving a fresh healthy margin in its place.  I’ve been praying that my nodes are clear, and that the surgery itself will be quick and brilliantly successful.

But now…in the early dawn hours as I lie here, cleansed and waiting, I want to thank my breast.  To honor her journey thus far, and to pay homage.  It….I….will not be the same after today.  But I vow to love myself, scars and all, into health and wholeness, with a holy gratitude for the gifts my breast – my entire body – has given to me.

The precious and fragile and resilient and mysterious earthen vessel that houses my soul and makes this journey through physical life possible, I Thank you.  I Bless you.  I Love you.


Wednesday Words

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
                            Wendell Berry, ‘The Real Work’

I am on a journey that I, quite shockingly, have no impulse to blog about.  Write about, YES!  I spend an hour most mornings – more when time allows – with my books and my steno pad and the pre-dawn quiet, journaling. 

As I wait for the date for a lumpectomy  (as soon as next week and, I’m told, to be followed by 4-6 months of chemo, a year of Herceptin, and another month or so of radiation….we will see about that *smile*) my non-work hours are filled with long stretches of Silence, meditation, and prayer.  A tremendous amount of healing has been transpiring in my life since the end of January when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Tripple Positive breast cancer.  So much so that I will not be the least surprised (albiet extremely grateful) if, after I am cut open, my lovely doctor doesn’t find any sign of a tumor whatsoever!

GRACE heals like that….and I am deeply and whole-soulfully engaged in the healing, transformative power of grace on every level.

My son got married a week and a half ago, and it was one of the most glorious, blessed days of my life.  It was perfect and beautiful and a deeply meaningful time for my entire family.  Two days later I quietly celebrated my 58th birthday, my Love Cup still overflowing from the prior weekends’ events and this weekend my grandson comes for a visit.

All is well.

I am feeling amazing and feel healthier and more joyful than I’ve been in ages.  Something that is surprising to a lot of people.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have had moments of gut wrenching fear, confusion, and grief as I’ve struggled to get my arms around this and decide what course of action was best. There have been and continue to be wakeful hours in which I fight to keep myself in the present, and it fall over a cliff of “what ifs”. 

 And yet, those moments are much outweighed by the awesome sense of God permeating my life, including more and more moments when I step out of this realm and become fully wrapped up in the sacred Mystery.

 I read that a cancer diagnosis creates a very solitary journey for the one diagnosed.  While that is very true, it is also true that I have never felt more loved and supported – by those seen and Unseen – than I do today. 

 I am not alone.

People tell me I glow, and look 10 years younger and I have to agree.  I’m 20 lbs lighter, for example, and my body has been healing itself of a number of little issues I’ve had for ages.  Roseacea, some little precancerous skin afflictions, acid reflux.  It’s been the result of a combination to a resurrected spiritual practice, major lifestyle and dietary changes and going all organic with my skin care products (just this past weekend I made some body and facial cleansers and a whipped body butter, all from organic and raw ingredients).  For the first time in my life, self care has become my priority, and it is quickly showing benefits.

But the most important healing I’m undergoing…more than my health, even….is the one I am experiencing in my relationship with and to The Creator.  My divine Mother/Father.  For that, I can thank the Messenger named cancer. 

Today I have a day off – another change I made!   I now work only 4 days a week, and never more then two days in a row unless I want to.  What a BLESSING that is!  And don’t tell the boss, but I have every intention on quitting my job after I m done with what I need to do.  Whether I find other work or not isn’t the question.  Leaving a toxic workplace (after I gleen the benefits of my health insurance and medical leave) IS.

What comes after that, I haven’t a clue.

But I’m becoming much more comfortable with the unknown and I WILL live a lifestyle fully congruent with my Souls’ longing and purpose.

That’s all I need to know for now…