Thursday, January 3, 2008

the meaning of free and clear

i'm starting to feel more like myself. still find i am tired and able to sleep many hours a night, but my awake hours are getting better. each day this week has felt like i am waking up into my brain again. today i felt bright and excited to work. my fingers are now itching to get into projects. anything but this seemingly endless laying around and resting. i've read so many books this past month. a gluttonous amount of books, really. you know it's bad when a voracious reader like me has to take a break!

today i had my post-op appointment with dr. naik. she was happy with my healing progress, rash notwithstanding. it was wonderful to hold a copy of the actual pathology report that says clear margins. i don't think a piece of paper has even looked that beautiful. we couldn't stop smiling at each other. it must feel good as a surgeon to get that report as well.

a few people have asked, what does that mean, clear margins? i asked for clarification today. what it means is after the first surgery, the tissue that was removed surrounding the tumor, except for one area, all tested to be free and clear of phyllodes cancer cells. in the second surgery, dr. naik went back into the space and took more tissue in the area where the margin was not clear. that second piece of tissue was clear. so as far as we can know through this process, the phyllodes cancer cells are gone. are there some lurking elsewhere in the breast? there is no way of knowing. it's a wait and see thing.

what is not clear is if there are DCIS cells still hiding within the breast tissue. there were not any in the margins around the tumor. but they could be somewhere else. from dr. naik's perspective, this right breast of mine seems to want to grow freaky cancer cells. that is cause for some alarm, which is why i have chosen to get the radiation therapy. i'm working hard on wrapping my mind around it. i am glad to have a month to learn to embrace it, because i know deep in my cells that every kind of therapy works better when you believe in it. the mind-body connection has been proven and i'm a strong believer.

so, now that it feels like the big danger has been tossed over the side, i am moving rapidly on. in my typical fashion, i am beginning to processing the experience and mine it for art. why not? it's my experience, after all. call it art therapy if you will, but exploiting my own experiences for artistic inspiration is something i've done since forever and it never fails to satisfy. i am excited to begin painting again. i've been fantasizing about getting photocopies of my turnip's ultrasound. images are competing for attention. all this stuff is rolling around in my head and heart, going bump in the night.

sooner rather than later, it's going to have to push it's way out.

1 comment:

Natalia said...

makes so much sense that as an artist you will use art to help you process your experience and perhaps also to help you heal. i cannot wait to see what you create. i've thought that one possible silver lining to this experience was not even whatever inspiration you may derive (which it sounds like you are) but that you are being forced to explore different things with your jewelry making to accommodate your body's limitations.