Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Calming the anxious

My oncologist had wanted my surgery to be three to four weeks from my last infusion.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't work out that way.  I thought my surgery would be on February 20th, which would have been today.  But it wasn't.  Conflicting schedules between my breast surgeon and my plastic surgeon made it necessary to schedule the surgery for February 26th. 

I have been living in awareness of this cancer inside me since August 3rd, 2012 the day of diagnosis.  When the radiologist told me that some cancer possibly remained after chemotherapy, I had a visual image of a time bomb strapped to my chest.  The wait for surgery has created extreme amounts of anxiety that no amount of ativan can quell... and although I know that I should be creating art, I feel stuck.

Today, I didn't feel very well so I went to the after hours clinic to see about getting some antibiotics.  I don't want anything to jeopardize surgery for next week.   While there, I waited for an extremely long time before being seen (even though I had an appointment).  I sat down in the examining room and started to bawl... not just cry, but sob uncontrollably.   Yes, I am an anxious hot mess.

So how do I find ways to move out of this state of anxiety towards peace?  How do I metaphorically disarm the time bomb I have been carrying around?  At first I started drawing a picture of myself with sticks of dynamite inserted in my bra- but found that it wasn't very helpful.  It kind of made me feel more anxious.

I need to dig deeper into what this anxiety is about.  Am I fearful?  Sad?  Angry? or some messy combination of all three? All of my BC sisters say that waiting for surgery is the worst part.  That once it happens, I will just feel relieved that it is over... and although there will be pain, I will get better and stronger each day.  Those BC sisters are pretty great like that.

So- I don't have any great piece of art to share today, but I promise to create something fabulous before surgery.  In the meantime- check out my cool hair growth!  Lots of gray, but I don't mind. I remember how anxious I was about losing my hair.  Now I have become accustomed to seeing myself this way- and I have grown to not just accept it, but be almost pleased that I was able to experience myself bald.  Without the distraction of hair, I actually could really look at my face.  I like my face.  I don't think I would have ever said that before.


  1. You look amazing...and what you said about being bald and experiencing your face? YES! That and the freedom of not being tied to something that we women use to define ourselves.

    All those emotions, the anxiety...what is causing the anxiety? It's grief in it's most raw form. You are grieving what was, what will not be any longer, that you are faced with your own mortality and the whole damn thing is so big that it can't be contained.

    I'm glad that you are letting the emotions flow and that you are doing what you can to keep your body primed for the 26th. And it's time to get that dynamite off your chest -- literally and figuratively. xoxo

  2. As always, beautiful expression of painful thoughts, beautiful image, beautiful YOU. You are my heroine. Hang tough just a little longer. Much love.

  3. i only wish i had walked into that waiting room and found you so i could hold you and hold you and hold you.
    you are so beautiful and courageous. you and your willingness to look deeper, deeply.