I give honor to God…
and I send Big Love to every woman who has ever had to make herself say out loud… I HAVE BREAST CANCER.
It’s been about 10 weeks, now, that I’ve been on this journey. I was about to say it’s a sad journey, but really it’s more strange than sad. And in those moments when I forget to be afraid of the outcome of this, it is fascinating… as I begin to join the ranks of the legends of women who sit and wonder what in their world…. in their emotions… in their habits… in their relationships… caused their bodies to get so fed up with their reality that despair of some sort had to be expressed through a cancerous lump in their breast.
I take it all personal. I know men get breast cancer too… yet I am taking this personal in a womanly way. I am the mother of 10 children. Six gorgeous sons and four fabulous daughters. In my mind the color blue is for sweet baby boys, and the palest of pinks make me remember the marvel of my own dainty baby girls. That’s why I have to think of the force that I will have to find-muster-gather-execute now as my new Hot Pink Life Force.
So far, it seems that I am fortunate. Not lucky, maybe… but fortunate because I found the lump before it got to be too big and before the cancer had a chance to move through-out my body. Even with the precarious Triple Negative label stuck on me like a big red X or something, the surgeon seems positive that my cancer can be treated. Not cured… he was very careful to say… but it’s definitely treatable. The oncologist says pretty much the same thing. What do I say? I say that Cancer hasn’t taken into account what a crazy-faith bearing child of God I am: I have given birth 10 times… 5 times totally natural OK? And I have NO stretch marks. Now … you tell me God doesn’t have a hand on me. I have wrestled with sons, argued with daughters, cooked thirty years worth of nightly dinners, including the big big holiday dinners (that’s 100+ 20 lb. turkeys), homeschooled 4, prayed 4 through college w/o much financial aid, taught 7 how to drive (so far), dealt with 33 years of all kind of woman stuff, kid stuff and marriage stuff – good bad and ugly – and I haven’t taken orders from anyone but God and Me for a long long time. I have Crazy Faith that gets in the way of even the most logical pessimism and poor prognoses and I’ve been walking with Jesus for longer than I can remember.
The night before my surgery I made a “faith skirt”. My sister-friend (who is a great seamstress/tailor/angel creator) had come over to spend the evening with me and she had on a lovely cotton print wrap skirt that was made quite simply from a 2 yard length of material, hemmed on all 4 sides, with skinny ties sewn on both sides, to belt it. Artfully wrapped around her, it was simple-pretty, very feminine and very fuss free. She let me try it on and I loved it. After my friend left I brought my sewing machine into my bedroom, tore a piece of blue printed cotton fabric to the right size, hemmed all the sides, sewed on the ties, all the while praying silently about the surgery that would take place the next morning and for God to be a present help in all of this new trouble. It took me less than an hour to make the skirt. And as I tried it on I felt a strange sense of accomplishment and a wonderful peace about this whole ordeal. All I need to do from this point on is to show up and bring my Faith. That’s all. I slept very peacefully the night before the surgery… and in the morning I felt at peace with the whole thing as I wrapped myself in blue-print cotton Faith and stepped into the process.
August 12, 2009
Thank God the surgery took place early this morning and by noon I was back at home. Lump out, clear margins, no lymph-node involvement. Not too much pain. Praying for the best possible outcome. Trying my best to walk only in Faith.
The worst part for me was the worry about having to be put to sleep. Total lack of control… I like to know what’s going on… usually, but this time I was actually looking forward to entering the process and getting it over with. Letting Go and Letting God…the New Hot Pink Life Force process.
Dx: 1.5 centimeter poorly differentiated tumor, Er-/Pr-, Her2-
Tumor removed with clear margins, 5 lymph-nodes removed all negative for cancer.
Completed 5 days of 2x a day radiation treatments via Savi catheter.
Scheduled to begin 4 treatments of chemo: Taxetare and Cytoxin next Thursday.
Wrapping my self in Faith, and in the love of my family and sister-friends.
Peacefully planning out my next faith-skirt.