Monday, November 12, 2007

thoughts on the body

as i lay in bed trying to fall asleep last night, dark thoughts kept pushing in. i would take deep breaths and push them away, but those thoughts were so persistent. imagining the cutting, the actual surgery and then the aftermath, me looking down at what is left. these tumors are composed of my actual breast tissue, it's not extra tissue that grows, it's my own cells that turn toxic. how bizarre to think of part of my own body turning against itself.

one of the hardest things is the unknowns, of course. since we are currently assuming that this tumor will be another benign one, my mind has jumped to the next thing. trying to predict how extensive the damage will be cosmetically, not knowing how much margin will need to be taken, how much breast will be left. how i will feel and look. it might sound silly and vain to even think about or care how i will look, but i do.

as unenlightened as it is to confess, i am attached to this body.

my scar last time was so subtle i had to point it out to lovers. at first, there was a noticeable loss of mass in that breast, but it seemed to even out over time. no one but me ever notices the slight size difference, perhaps because very few of us humans are perfectly symmetrical specimens, anyway. yet this second removal of tissue may just tip the scale into serious lopsided territory. to take enough of a margin around the tumor to prevent another from forming, that's alot of tissue.

how very surreal to have this rapidly growing thing inside me...

if people told all their secrets about their bodies, everyone would admit to complicated love-hate feelings about different body parts. i can admit now that i've spent much of my life hating nearly everything but my feet and my breasts. for the last ten years i've done alot of personal work on developing a better body image, a more love-love relationship with all of it.

we have our good days and our not so good days, me and my body. i have certainly learned to listen, to trust the wisdom of the body. but i have also often pushed her to work harder and longer than was wise. a friend once said of me that i am, and i quote, "the prettiest little filly with the drive and endurance of a draft horse". that strong constitution will likely be the thing that pulls me through this. and the waves of support rolling in from you all.

yet as i've gotten older, i note that while i have endurance, pushing myself on and on has a price attached. i get injured, repetitive stress shows up in my limbs. i can't find time to maintain my body in good shape, i depend on adrenalin too much, and too often, to make it through the push. i know my system is already depleted going into this battle.

one of the reasons i quit my job to pursue my studio full time was to be able to take better care of myself. then along comes this tumor, as if to say,
um, were you serious about that? well, you better BE serious about it. i'm here to hold you accountable, help you keep that commitment. cause the body over here? she needs more from you. more give and less take, for one. she needs you to keep those dates at the gym, to stop making her silly with sugar and to just relax more.
even toxic cells hold wisdom. the tumor is right, i do need to keep those promises.


Betsy said...

Thank you for posting your blog site on the book club message; it is amazing that so much has happened in your life after we were just discussing health insurance over sushi...I have read your blog postings, and am moved and amazed. My thoughts are with you!! Would you like company in the studio? I could come tomorrow and bring a project to work on.

Natalia said...

crazy how there is a lesson in everything, no? not that there is a reason, per se, that you have the tumor, ie: punishment or reward. however, i think there is always something to be learned, a wisdom or perspective to be found that is illuminating, even in times of darkness. i think you are right on about your body needing you attention, love and care right now. i know worry and fear can be so overwhleming, but try not to focus too much on the financial side of this all. that will always be there. sending much love your way