Sunday, October 5, 2014

Breathe and Reset

"If you've met one person with breast cancer, you've met ... one person with breast cancer. For although there are certain aspects of the experience that are seemingly universal - the initial terror, a reckoning with mortality, and initiation into the bewildering world of treatment - breast cancer changes the lives of those it confronts in ways that are unique in every case." - Judith Newman, Allure Magazine October 2014


That is how the wonderful writer, Judith Newman begins her article, Live to Tell, in this month's Allure magazine. She goes on to interview six women whose lives have been touched in different ways by
#breastcancer. The truth of the words in her introduction resonated with me and my experience. It is truly unique and each woman must navigate it in her own way.

I am still awaiting surgery. Several truly upsetting snafus forced me to change doctors, hospitals, and ultimately my decision about what kind of surgery I'm having. I'll detail that nonsense in another post, but suffice it to say, I'm with the medical team I need to be with having the surgery I want and need. 

The change forced me to take time to reflect on what was happening to me. I have found a few truths of my own to pass on.

  • Decisions. They are yours to make. At my first meeting with my new surgeon (a breast specialist), she told me the type of surgery I have is my choice. "But I won't let you make a bad one," she said. I realize now the first surgeon I was with was steering me toward what was easy for him at a time that was convenient for him. It really had little to do with me and my treatment.
  • Fear. Deal with it. Don't ignore it as I did. Fear is a way of informing our experience. I was so filled with dread as my first surgery date approached that I was afraid I wouldn't survive the operation. I realize this fear was grounded in the fact that I didn't trust the doctors I was with and had ignored several red flags that should have made me put the brakes on this whole procedure. A paperwork problem made the decision for me and I am truly grateful to be where I am now.
  • Prayer. Yes, it matters. No, I can't prove it. But there is something buoying in knowing that people you care about are praying for you. There is also great power in the knowledge that people who do not know me are praying. A colleague I don't know very well asked if she could put me on her church's prayer chain.Absolutely, I replied.  In my darkest moments in the past two weeks when I didn't know where to turn, I prayed to God to deliver me. In His tender mercy, He did. He put angels in my path who knew what to do. . 
I still have breast cancer, and I know I am facing trying days ahead, but a weight has been lifted from me. I have control back. I am ready to be healed.