Thursday, January 1, 2009

new year, still here.

the first day of 2009 finds me where i often am: sitting at my desk, connected to the world through the magic of the internet, with my little dog curled up at my feet. it's not such a bad place to be, but i also know there is more outside my door. most of 2008 saw me in hiding. hunkered down, working on healing and hesitant to leave the house, especially for social events.

i have been hiding in my clothes, too. dark layers to cover up breasts out of whack and a body i've felt was much too chubby. i have wanted to be invisible. i have learned how easy it is to become invisible.


so, a new year, a new me? well, the breasts are on their way to being attractive again. i am hopeful that with such time-consuming healing behind me, i can reclaim that energy for exercise. i am hopeful that i can find joy again in movement and fitness.

i don't want to spend this new year looking back with longing at what i was before cancer. i am committing myself to creating and supporting my healthiest new me, after cancer. i know i have work to do on my body-image. it is work i've done before, so at least i know what tool box to open.

in the past week, i have looked at a number of photo galleries online, where women who have had breast reconstruction of different kinds share their process, step-by-step. it's not easy to even view the pictures, many are gruesome and make me feel all wiggly in my tummy. the positive is that i have now seen what others look like, going through similar surgeries. and mine isn't the worst. it's not the best either, but i am glad to report that it looks better everyday.

the surface bruising is healing rapidly, thanks to my dedication to arnica and vitamin c, i think.

my whole breast is still very sore and tender, but it is improving, steadily. the doctor says that in another 3 weeks, the swelling will be significantly down and things will begin to soften up. the tight vertical incision that connects nipple to the crease under the breast will take many months to become soft and stretch to accept the natural weight and drape of the tissue.

i am also hopeful that i will be so busy with a new job that those 6-8 months will fly by and before i know it, things in the cleavage area will be looking beautiful. i am certainly ready now (mentally, that is) to toss off these shapeless sport bras and put on something flattering. sitting here today, i have no idea what size i am or when i can shop for some new underthings. i simply know that i have not a single bra that matches my new size!

ah, the job search. nothing, nada, nope. not a single response to my many applications for jobs in the past two months. my tired brain leaps for answers. why? i am qualified. i am diligently looking and applying. can what i have to offer rise above the economic crises and the over-stocked portland talent pool? i am beginning to wonder if i am crazy to remain positive and hopeful about finding a job.

i have a few more job postings to apply for today. perhaps the universe just wanted me to get past surgery and into a bright new year? maybe i am just supposed to pursue grad school now? just in case, i am applying for financial aid, to see if it is possible for me to just go to school full time.

oh, i never wanted a crystal ball as much as i do right now!

but that isn't how it works, is it? we must all just go through each day, one day at a time. life takes as long as it takes. the truly difficult challenge is to stay present to each day. the urge to skip ahead and see the future and the tug backwards, processing the past - there is our real work. to just be with what is. i'd love to say i'm there. or here, as the case may be.

i guess the important thing to realize is i am still here, trying. aware of my challenges. working on self-compassion and being present. working on getting out of my head and into my heart. thankful for my health. trying to share my light with others and lift them up.

i saw sandra bernhard on tv last night, when she was asked about her new year's resolutions and her answer really resonates with me. sandra said "i don't do resolutions once a year at new years, it's an everyday thing. every day i try to turn the beat around."i think that fits. in each moment of awareness, i will try to turn the beat around.

happy new year, my friends. thank-you for your faithful support and love. i need you more than you could ever know. may your 2009 be blessed with prosperity, abundant good health and regular reminders of just how very much you are loved.


Pancit said...

Well, I've never seen your body, but I love your face! Glad to have found your blog. You're a wonderful writer! I look forward to reading more of your stuff. Happy New Year, Tay! :-)

Christine said...

happy new year - i am not sure how i came across your site but i did. I read back a bit and am wowed by your strength and clarity. I just wanted to say thanks for putting this out there.

salmonpoetry said...

Happy New Year Tay! May this year bring you happiness and good health. Glad to hear that the breast is healing, that is good news, and that you've found fellow travellers along the road of reconstruction that show that the future holds hope for healing.

I am sure that the holidays have not helped with the job search, I know that I am on two search committees and we have had to delay and extend deadlines because we have gotten behind with the weather closures. Nobody feels much like reviewing job apps when the holidays bear down and snow is falling.
You are qualified and persistence will pay off in the end. It will likely take longer in this crisis economy, but eventually you will prevail if you keep at it, because you are smart and creative. At the same time one has to take breaks and not let it become all consuming, it is such a frustrating, uncertain, and nerve-wracking process to be looking for work when one needs income badly. Investigating full-time school sounds like a good and smart option in the meantime.

I hope to see more of you this year, please come out of your shell as you see fit, there is a welcoming creative community waiting to embrace you when the time is right!

Sondra said...

Happy New Year Tay,
I was out of the country for the holidays and just got caught up this morning. Hang in there as you will see beautiful breasts appear, especially since you are taking such good care.
It's good the weather was so awful for you had to stay in and could use some diversions by thinking how awful it was outside.
Attitude is the best way to beat the blues and the job hunting will come to fruition.
I remember a time that I was down and used the Runes, every time I drew them they told me "Patience".
It works if you can develop some.
My best to you, 2009 will be a better year for you.

Paige said...

Happy New Year Tay- I can totally relate to being in hibernation mode, as well as the comforts of dogs and the internet. (I write this sitting here by the woodstove, typing at my laptop with two sleeping dogs at my feet). Like you I am also among the exercise deprived- but due to knee problems, not breast reconstruction. Being unable to do one's normal activities while waiting to heal is tough. I know for myself that since breast cancer being able to exercise has been more important than ever to my mental and physical well being.
Like you I put a lot of thought, time, and energy into living the healthiest possible post-cancer life, and try to look ahead versus focusing on my losses. Still, grieving happens and is an important part of the process. I think sometimes we just need to grieve a bit. I do anyhow. Not usually but sometimes. The New Year is such a time for reflection- on where we've been, where we're headed (our goals and the lurking unknowns). Lots of grist for the mill of introspection here.
Wishing you well and sending healing thoughts your way. Paige

Laura said...

Tay, I was just in the doctor's office and I thought about our recent lunch, and realized I hadn't picked a SoulCollage card about it. So I did, and I picked this one:
Then while I was waiting, I heard that song, "Turn the Beat Around." Next time I see you, let's make sure you get to pick a card.

Grooving on the Synchronicity. Thanks so much!