It’s a crazy thing to become one of the 10 percent that actually get breast cancer. The one friend in ten who is diagnosed. When I got the call from the radiology office to come back in for further pictures of my right breast, I didn’t give it a lot of energy or thought.
Today three weeks later after three biopsies all testing positive for cancer, I am pondering what life will be like without my breasts. Of course, there will be new ones where mine once were and it will be my skin but they won’t be mine. They won’t have the feel of natural tissue; there will be scars and my nipples won’t respond to different temperatures or sensations. My nipples will be stuck in whatever permanent position I decide to reconstruct them into. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around.
Loosing my breasts sounds so extreme but I’m actually getting off pretty easy as far as cancer goes. Mine is noninvasive and I caught it early enough that it’s treatable without chemo or radiation. It’s called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). There are these tiny calcifications within my milk ducts that haven’t found their way out. I could hold off and see what the calcifications do; but once the cancer finds its way to my lymph nodes then it’s not so simple as just removing my breasts.
Some days I wake up enlivened with lists of actions I can take to get healthier, stay grounded and find healing. Other days I feel the pull to dive deeper by asking the questions, “What is wanting to be loved? What is wanting to be heard? What is wanting to be seen?” These queries take me below the surface into a place that cracks me open to parts of myself I haven’t visited or explored ever!!
My creativity has opened up in a way I can’t explain. I am not sure where these paintings came from, I’m just listening and asking over and over again, “What wants to be heard? What wants to be seen?”
These paintings and who shows up within them comforts me. I truly know that this diagnosis and this journey is an opportunity to widen and awaken my awareness of who I am and to ground my entire being into truly seeing my authentic purpose for showing up for this life.
Discovering I have cancer has proven to be a wild ride and I wonder why it is that it takes death to bring us closer to truly living our life?