i've kept my promise this past week. all i've been doing is resting and healing. sweet friends have brought me meals, i've been devouring novels like cookies and my little dog has gotten spoiled with all the snuggling on the couch.
i've come to treat my beleaguered breast like a helpless infant. sick and fragile, it needs round the clock attention and very tender care. i swallow anti-inflammatory herbs and homeopathics, a spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants and eat my veggies. i sleep hours, giving the body deep rest. i take short walks in the fresh air with multiple bras stacked on top one another for support. i apply ice packs on a schedule, gently apply arnica cream to the bruises and watch as they shrink and fade, a bit more everyday.
the incision is still very tender, i can't hug people as i used to, with strength and abandon. the skin is itchy, tired of wearing a bra twenty-four hours a day. parts of the breast are still numb. the feeling has not returned and after now three surgeries in the same place, i wonder if the nerves will ever fully recover. it's possible i will always have a numb spot on this breast.
while the skin knits itself back together, bit by bit, another type of profound healing is going on. it's something harder to name, something spiritual and emotional.
when i first found the lump, my turnip, in my breast, i started this blog. with the blog i opened a door. a door into places in me i've traditionally kept closely guarded. and a door to a world of people i'd never met. i've lived most of my life like a warrior that can never show weakness. that's a position that's hard to hold. you spend so much energy keeping the public surface strong that you have none left to nurture yourself on the inside. and you can't let others in to hold you, either.
the past two months i've been systematically dismantling that guarded position.
what i've discovered is nothing short of a personal miracle. this is how i think of it: for years and years, i went through my life, feeling i was alone, holding a core belief that i would not be supported by the universe. i picture it now as me standing in the dark, alone. then one day, i reached above me to the pull chain on the ceiling light and turned it on.
suddenly i realized that i am actually standing in a massive circle of support. hundreds of faces reflecting warmth, love, encouragement. some of the people in the circle i don't even recognize, some are close friends. it's an amazing, wonderful, seemingly endless and growing circle of people who are connected to me, interested in my story, my well-being. my heart is cracked open in the best way, there is a deep release of fear and then really it hits me: i am being held.
and even more amazing, this circle was always there.
learning to receive, learning to allow myself to be held, is the beginning of a new way of living for me. it's something i've struggled with consciously for years. this didn't come overnight, as much as i am condensing the story here. yet the truth is, cancer didn't allow me to stay in my comfort zone and i was ready to change. i'd taken one big leap of faith. taken a business loan, quit my day job. yet cancer has kept me honest, held my face to the wind. there isn't any way to go but forward, that becomes crystal clear really quickly.
2007 has been a year of taking risks i'd never allowed before.
there is more to come, much more. challenges and hurdles. i'll be undergoing radiation treatment in a month. reconstruction surgery to follow, months later. healing, deep in my cells will continue to be what i am doing, every single day. and i've got just a few months to make it with my business, to start supporting myself.
when i list them like that, the challenges seem even more immense. but i have to believe, with you all around me, i am equal to the task. thank-you so, so much for showing up, for being in my circle.
after all, i am here to thrive.