Breast Cancer Bites. Kiss My Breast Good-bye.

Breast Cancer Bites. Kiss My Breast Good-bye.

I find myself on the merging ramp to a mastectomy and wishing to yield, for just a moment, before this breast becomes a blurred memory in the traffic flow of life.

She is the part I must release to protect the whole but she will not go without notice or appreciation for what she held space.

There is a body of experience in this sweet breast of mine. She and her sister were late bloomers. No doubt, I got that premature training bra because my mother was tired of fielding questions that always started with a whiny “When???”

As intimate partners go, both breasts have been first class beyond their champagne-glass classification. But she is the one that held space over my heart. For that I grieve her loss. I would love to kiss her for all that we’ve gone through together – but she is not that large nor I that agile.

Sound strange?

Our bodies are living, breathing temples that hold space for a fusion of body, mind and spirit – from the most elemental level to the most sublimely sacred that life has to offer. And each part speaks to aspects of experience that leave imprints – clues – as to how we maneuver through and integrate events from the significant to the mundane.

From the time she first popped onto the scene, this sweet gal of mine protected my heart from, as well as expressed it to, inexperienced curiosity seekers and seasoned explorers until she found the one who gave her no need to shield and every reason to expand into a union of body, heart and spirit. Read more

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When grief answers first … wait.

When Grief Answers First

When grief answers first, it isn’t pretty. And, sometimes, it’s raucous and self-involved. At least that’s my experience with it. Maybe I am more messy than most – though I suspect not. I suspect that what I am giving voice to here will not seem strange – or sacrilegious to the preciousness of life – if you have spent intimate time with grief.

Singular grief sucks. Multiple grief sucks. Overlapping grief sucks. I’ve done them all. When that gut-punch, double over, drop-to-your-knees moment hits, it is hard to imagine that there is anything beyond the pain.

When I found out I had breast cancer – just months after Ray took his last breath – grief spoke first. “Well, here’s your ticket out of all this pain. Your work here is done. It’s been a good run.”

When losing someone or something you love becomes a reality, it throws off the order. Ray’s run with a cancer that ended in death turned my days – and my morning prayer time – upside down. The pain felt in his absence left me with a desire for connection at any cost. Even if it meant I spoke to Ray first – and God second. Something I never did while he was alive.

My healing hierarchy fell out of balance while cancer cells feasted on estrogen without supervision – or should I say without “super vision.” When the small lump grew and ate away breast mass, I witnessed what the physical demonstration of grief must look like in a part of my body designed to nurture life as well as receive pleasure. Read more

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Why I’m Not Fighting Cancer – Again.

I’m told I have breast cancer – invasive lobular carcinoma. Stage 2.

The initial test results came through 7 days before the Celebration of Life I had planned for Ray – my husband for 37 years – who died on the fast track of a cancer found too late.

I chose to put the news of my party crasher quietly on the backburner and go on with my plans to celebrate the LIFE I shared with this man.

Maybe I am just too raw, with this overlapping Ray’s passing, but I’m not accepting the invitation to play war here. I’m not fighting cancer – again. I am LIVING while I navigate this next chapter in my LIFE as I learn to live it without his presence.

What you say? Isn’t the battle with cancer about fighting for your life?

No. Not when you STOP LIFE to fight it.

Anyone who’s gone through this knows what I am talking about. A lot of stuff goes through your head when faced with your mortality – or that of one you love. You say “Yes” where you might normally say, “Stop” or “Wait” or “No, let me try another way.” Read more

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Life. Death. Breast Cancer.

Life. Death. Breast Cancer.

I have no clever first-line hook for this post. And it won’t be neat and tidy with a beginning, middle and end. If you’ve spent any time here at all, you know I am not shy about sharing when life gets messy – though never for drama’s sake. God knows we all have our tribulations and don’t need another magnifier in the world.

A wise woman recently said it perfectly. If I am going to share the heavy stuff with you, it will be to build your muscle – not sink you.

When I posted about the only New Year’s resolution you’ll ever need back in January, I had no idea the hurricane that was mounting at sea or that there would be no stopping it when it hit shore. I also didn’t know how challenged I would be to catch my breath, let alone post anything in the messy room.

I figured, when I could show back up here, I’d post about my beloved’s battle with a cancer found too late (that had metastasized throughout his body) and all the stuff you witness to in that agonizing race to buy time – at least enough time to digest the news.

But then he died. Just 50 days after diagnosis.

So, I figured I’d make my way back here and blog about death and grief and how precious life is and the things we say “Yes” and “No” to and all the silly stuff that captures our attention while the really important stuff gets lost in the hooplahah.

But now I find myself in a most bizarre overlap.

The cancer train has not yet left the station. It seems that I have breast cancer. That the lump they told me was benign in January, before the hurricane hit shore, is not benign now. It has grown and gotten greedy and is invasively feeding off healthy breast tissue. Another intimate life-long partner, challenged. Read more

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Broken Compasses

Creativity Challenge Heart Map from Broken Compasses Blog

If I were a magician, I’d hand out broken compasses. It’s all about misdirection. – Jarod Kintz

Taos creativity retreat. Years ago. Stashes of colored craft paper, newsprint, crayons, markers, glitter, scissors and glue spread out over a large table before 40-plus participants. Our challenge? Make a map that depicts your life. Your journey. Where you came from. Where you are going. And plan to share it with the group after lunch. The room burst into a flurry as we gathered our map charting materials.

Back at my table, I waited for the green and pink colored craft paper I selected as my home base to speak to me. Army brat. Gypsy wife. Detroit. New York. Los Angeles. Atlanta. Hopes. Dreams. Betrayals. Celebrations.

My left-brain was the first to speak. “Well, you’re screwed. How you gonna map out your mess?” My right-brain rebelled against flashes of intersecting points created by lines and pictures that stated, “You are here. You were there.”

I started tearing the green paper, trying not to look as lost as I felt. Maybe a Read more

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