Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Less worrier, more warrior

It is 2:59am.  Tomorrow I go to the hospital for surgery.   I will be getting a skin sparing (hopefully) nipple sparing bilateral mastectomy with sentinel node biopsy.  This next sentence has been re-written about ten times at this point.  It is hard to put in to words exactly what I am feeling.  Angry that I am forced to make a decision that no one would ever want to make.  Afraid of what could happen in the six to eight hour surgery or of the complications that I could encounter afterwards.  Sad that I will be different physically when the surgery is over.  Relieved that I will finally be getting what remains of this cancer out of my body.  This is what I must do in order to increase my odds for survival.  And with two little ones who count on me, I am all about increasing my odds.

There is a t-shirt I saw that says "Yes they are fake, the real ones tried to kill me."  Although it is a funny shirt, I don't feel the sentiment rings true for me.  I feel this cancer happened to me and my breasts.  They are as much innocent victim as I am.  But unfortunately, they will be sacrificed so that I might live.   So, I wanted a way to honor them before tomorrow.  I have been working on this art piece over the last several days.  It has been hard.  I have been easily distracted away from the pain that making this piece touches in me.  It is easier to wash the dishes or do the laundry than to mourn.  But I know I need to in order to go into surgery without the emotional knots my psyche is tied up in currently.  I feel deeply that releasing these emotions will help me in my recovery.

The project began with picture taking.  I set a timer and took multiple pictures so that I might remember what I looked like prior to February 26th.  I found an old cigar box that I had been saving for a special art project.  I spray painted the box gold.  I needed it to be precious.  I then searched through years of photographs trying to find images of me breastfeeding my two children.  Luckily I found one for each child.  I printed up a selection of photographs and assembled my mini shrine. I used small vellum envelopes to hold the pictures.   But it felt very incomplete.  So, I sat down and wrote a goodbye letter to my breasts.  I talked about how my relationship with my breasts developed.  I thanked them for nursing my children.  I apologized for not finding the lump earlier.  When I finished the letter, I did feel more at peace.  I placed a small red envelope in the back of my shrine with the letter inside.  And then I decorated the box with strange little nipple flowers because I can't be too serious!

This shrine has been important to me.  It has helped me move out of that worrier state back into my warrior mode.  I  realize that I can still be afraid and feel strong. 

So the pictures are a little blurry.  Not much natural light at three o'clock in the morning.  Thanks for being on this journey with me.  Thank you for all of your support and well wishes.  It has meant so much to me.  Virtual hugs, prayers, and wishes of good luck are all much appreciated.  I will write soon to let you know how I am doing.

Now it is 3:46 am, and  I still need to go clean up my mess!  I guess I can sleep in the operating room.


  1. How you are handling this journey speaks volumes. Even humour at the end of the post. Yes you will sleep while in surgery...there's never any real need to get a good night's sleep the night before a surgery and most people couldn't even if they tried, very hard.

    I am humbled by the way you have honoured yourself, honoured your breasts. I love how you have been able to mourn and to express that sorrow.

    Your emotional, mental state is in a good place as you move into the next phase of kicking cancer to the curb. And having a focus and a goal -- those little ones of yours -- it makes every difference. It's what brings out the warrior.

    Sending love, light, healing, warm thoughts, prayers and positive energy. xo

  2. If this isn't indicative of Warrior behavior, then I don't know what is. Simply brilliant and utterly beautiful. Peace, healing, courage, health. This is my mantra for you. Thinking about you today and sending so much love your way.

  3. Sending you hugs, healing prayers, and lots of energy. Praying for a speedy recovery for you. Thinking of you today. Your courage amazes me.::hugs::

  4. You amaze me! Your ability to stay in the moment, to work though all these emotions in such creative and thoughtful ways. I pray for your emotional health as well as your physical. This post shows you are there. I hope you have the best sleep in a long time and that you have beautiful revealing dreams that you will remember. All my love.