Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I'm not sure if it is the realization that my chemo journey is quickly coming to a close (with another surgery to follow). Or the influx of breast cancer data and awareness in my face since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Or perhaps it is the fact that the cumulative effects of the chemo are taking its toll, but suddenly I am a blubbering mess and finally embracing the sucky nature of these last 8 months. It's as if hindsight has moved in and become the wise old teacher.

So many people have commented on how positive I have been throughout this process. But the truth is, it hasn't been about being positive.  It's been about being present. Doing whatever I need to exist in the current moment. While I would like to take credit for this present moment awareness, it's really been my body that is calling the shots, I've just mentally gotten out of the way. And to be honest, I think it is actually a bit of a survivor's technique. Now that I am approaching the end of this part of the journey, it's as if my psyche is finally allowing me to process.

It was always important for me to share my journey. Not for everyone else, but for myself - as a depiction and a reflection of what I have endured. I can look back at the first Facebook post after my surgery and feel proud that I was up and around after just one week. But I can also remember the pain that kept me up and night and the nauseating process of dealing with my drains on a nightly basis and crying myself to sleep wondering how I would make it through.

As I reflect on the posts following my chemo sessions, I can laugh at my quirky posts about foods, TV shows and the importance of counting down the sessions. But, I am also reminded of the days when I couldn't leave my bedside and how important that countdown was.  Or how it took every ounce of mental energy to power through the nausea to down that lentil soup.

I can look at pictures of my sweet puppy Buck as a reflection of the joy that literally got me up in the morning. And I can embrace that with all of the amazing love and support of my many friends and family surrounding and supporting me, most nights, it was just me - and sometimes that was really scary.

While I can see vibrancy in my face as I look at pictures with friends and family, I also see someone I don't really recognize. With all of love I have discovered for myself and others from a much deeper and authentic place, sometimes I just see a sick person. A bald,  browless, eylashless, dry, sick person where my tears are the one constant reminder of my release and my surrender.

This hasn't been about putting on a brave face, this has been about reminding me how I have confronted my deepest darkest fears and in the process found moments of profound grace, love, faith and compassion for myself.  It is the moments that I pray become the mainstay to keep me guided, focused, and connected to the deepest part of myself as I move forward in life. I also welcome the ebb and flow of it all.

I have no idea what lies ahead for me. For better or worse, I am forever changed. While cancer has not defined me, it has transformed and transmuted me. I am now walking in the world with a new skin and a new perspective and a glimpse of the higher version of myself radiating through my eyes.  I am proud and I am humbled. I trust this is a temporary state and that in no time I will be in a new state of rediscovery as my body celebrates the welcoming of so many of the things I have lost. But as my Buddhist therapist keeps reminding me, sometimes we just have to "be in it." So for just a few more weeks, I am embracing and learning to love the "ugh."

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