Walk away for too long in a non-aligned fashion and sometimes its darn difficult to retrace those memorable meanderings..... can you ever really backtrack?
Walk on. Walk on.
Stories....oh, the stories and experiences that have filtered and been felt by this crazy river girl! Accumulated touchstone people stories tucked together, colourful reckonings, tender truths, textured weavings of startle-charged news all stored inside me. I havent spilled them on paper, or sketched them out. It seems as though I've needed to remain aloof to my little blog........ I've needed to ramble in this noisy life...... you know those outside noises that demand attention?
Until I began to hear the inner growl. The one that niggles and wiggles and pokes you inside the ribs? The noises that push you off your presumed path into landscapes that draw your attention away from what you THINK matters. You know, those noises you can't muffle, stifle or control because they are so big and boisterous you HAVE to listen.
Noises on the outside....... Noises on the inside......
The walk becomes a jog, becomes a run. You can never really run away from the noises on the inside.
And then..... and then......."STOP! LISTEN!" says something deep inside your soul. Life trips you up into a tanglement of confusion. It's then you come face to face with what matters. This time, the face I was looking at when all things stopped? My caring intuitive Doctor.
Though a tunnel, I heard........ "it came back positive...."
WHAT? There were no lumps. No bumps. No sore spots. Nothing. WHAT?
Is it crazy to admit that I was not surprised? My doctor is intuitive. I am intuitive. I knew I was going to hear her say those words. I knew it. Through a tunnel........ Oh my God. I knew. Yet, there was no indication whatsoever.
As I looked into her big brown eyes, the same ones that I have looked into after I gave birth to my babies and she came into the hospital room broadly smiling to see them all wrapped in flannel nestled in my arms, when my son had croup, when my infant daughter had pneumonia ....... when I spilled my anxieties and stress over carrying too much of a load at home and work and needed time off, when my then husband had just been told he had suffered a stroke and she forcefully told us it was going to be alright, that he was going to recover fully (which he did), when I shuddered and stammered out the news of a marriage break up and asked her to take away that wretched sense of feeling discarded like a candy bar wrapper....... AS I looked into her trusting brown eyes, I heard the news. The biopsy was positive. I have breast cancer.
The noises stopped. My voice became small. I felt small. Startled. Alone. SO Alone. The only thing I could do was will myself to stay in that tunnel with her.... to absorb the hopeful side of the news .... tiny .... non-invasive ..... not a death sentence..... going to be fine.... fine..... FINE ...... strong woman ..... early detection ..... caught very early ...... to hear that she was going to be there with me for this part of my life's ride!
"I will be there for you all the way!"
In a matter of seconds, I jumped up from the chair in her office, whipped off my dress, unclipped my bra and demanded she do a double check exam. No bumps..... no hurts. Nothing. I hear myself babbling like a fool. "If its so tiny," I say, "can they just suck it out with a straw or something like you would venom???" "Jesus," I hear myself say, "I've just come around to liking these droopy breasts of mine!!! I've always thought they were just a pain in the ass until I started dating again."
She laughed. I laughed. But, I was telling the truth. For the first time in my life, I was beginning to believe my breasts were beautiful. An asset.
"Why?" I ask, "Why did you send me in the first place?"
"I have no idea." She replies. "It was a gut feeling....."
"I had the same gut feeling."
We stand there stunned and a bit creeped out by the serendipity of the news.
I have always believed her. She has always taken the right steps for me and my family. It was intuition that she sent me for a diagnostic mammogram in the first place. No other reason. She just did it. Thank God. She hugged me like an old friend. We are. Thank God she is in my life.
STOP. LISTEN. Look around you. When was the last time you reflected on your assumptions?? Those noisy mid-life assumptions? They have been slamming me in the face, in the gut, and straight into my soul-full awareness regularly since I heard the news. Meaningless assumptions. They have no power now.
Amazing how quickly you realize that all the stuff you've been hoarding ...... everything from the grudges to the resentments, to the daily irritations slide away into an abyss called "it doesn't matter at all.........." In a short time, which actually felt like eternity as I went through the process of "finding out...." I've come to realize that all that burdensome shit I carry in an over-the-shoulder-satchels are heavy hitter diversions.
Like everyone, I use those smudgy grudges, those bitter tasting resentments and those victim inducing irritations as armour. Protection from feeling vulnerable. Mufflers from those tender truths that leave gouges on our hard held innocence.
Wow. Vulnerability never felt so raw. It arrived in a rush of prickling heat, jumbled thoughts. Initially, the diagnosis left me ripped in two. Disassociated. Too numb to drive. Sobbing until I thought I would throw up. Then, I would remember what my doctor told me. It was EARLY. Non-invasive. Treatable. From there, those drizzled tears were tucked away.
Responsibilities took precedence. I still had to do my job as a counsellor. Being a Mom took top priority. I am their lifeline. Their leader. Their rock solid Momma. Always. Other life events were happening...... celebratory ones that were more meaningful. I was in a place of suspension going through the motions, but rarely breaking down. However, the week between hearing the original news to meeting with my surgeon was a see-saw blur of holding it together and crumpling in a heap.
I didn't want to tell many people until I had more news....... more information. But, the people I did share it with were so lovingly supportive. They still are. Now, even more. Offering to come stay at the house, to look after us, to drive me to treatments, to help winterize the house, to make bread, scrub floors, drive kids, sit with me...... anything! just ask, they have ALL stated. Community of friends and family. WOW.
Blessings and offerings.......
Life altering lessons in a place of discomfort.
Love, compassion, empathy, action! This is what matters......
Joy and woe are woven fine...... hope lifts up from the dredges of woe. Not from joy. Woe is where hope is conceived.
Human touch, shared tears, held and rocked....... encouragement and reminders.....
Heart to heart conversations revealed themselves in such a timely manner that it couldn't have been anything but the Grace of God.
Mysterious ways, God reveals Grace. Someone should talk to Him about his humour. I mean REALLY!
I had a dream the morning I met with the Surgeon that miraculously transformed the panic that was devouring me into lightness. Calm, clear headed uplifting lightness. I still quite believe it. I dreamt of a gathering. I dreamt of a surprise encounter. I dreamt about deep conversations with people I seemed to know well. As I awoke from this dream, I heard the "ME" in the dream say......... "We have no control of some things in our lives. We have to let the universe look after us....."
Hope had gestated. Hope was growing like a gorgeous weed inside me, nourished by early morning light. I felt a calm I hadn't experienced in months, much less the previous month of mammograms and a biopsy. Solid. Strong. Focused. Reconciled. My dream left me in a place of personal reconciliation. I was dumbfounded by the change in how I was looking at this mid-life event. But I went with the feeling. I let the calm feeling soothe me like a balm. I lte it lead me. From that moment on. It was in that frame of mind I met with the Surgeon.
Can you know right away that you're able to surrender your trust completely to someone you've just met? Yes. It happened as soon as this dynamic woman with energy and intelligence galore came bounding into the room and announced "You're the reason why we want every woman to have a diagnostic mammogram! You're the poster girl! Your breast cancer? It's stage 0! Its so tiny........... let me show you a diagram."
From there, the conversation went into detail. She described the gameplan. She told me that scar may not be pretty, but who cares, she says. Yeah, who cares? She told me I would need radiation. That's the routine. No matter how small the cancer area is. I'm alright with that.
It will be difficult and I have to travel to another city every day for four weeks right through the Christmas season, but my friends and family will escort me there and back. We will sing Caroles. We will share secrets. We will listen to good music and sip hot tea. We will drive through snow and maybe even stay in Saint John some nights and talk late into the night. About stuff that matters. We will let go of our assumptions. Together. On these drives. AND we will laugh at the absurdities, and the stories we share.
Blessings and offerings........... my little universe is truly looking after me. I am surrounded by love, near and far. LOVE!
Stage 0! Who the hell has ever heard of that? Is this a gift in disguise? yes.
Originally, I was sent for a diagnostic mammogram for no apparent reason? Based on my Doctor's intuition? The cancer would not have been detected until it had grown way beyond its minute boundaries if it hadn't been for me continually meeting with my Doctor while I was at the worst of my marriage grief.
Stage 0 is where I'm at. I'm the poster girl for getting the old floppy boobies squished in those damn picture machines. I wonder if I can put that on my resume?
My surgery is on Wednesday October 26th at 10 am AST. 9:00 am EST. From there, I heal. From there, the universe will be all around me......... as will caring people, spirit companions until the treatment and intervention is complete.
Can I leave you dear bloggie reader and friend with one request? Will you share a little of your light on me Wednesday morning? I'd really like to feel all that warmth. No worries. No negative thoughts. No talk of survivor. I'm NOT looking at this as a combat battle in the trenches. I'm looking at it as a LOVE bombardment, and I need your help sending out that energy! Because when it comes right down to it, nothing soothes any beast better than open hearted LOVE. THAT's what matters.
Time for bed.............. dreams matter too.