Yeah, what she said…
It is possible I’d become less anxious about mammograms now that I’m 3 ½ years out from diagnosis. I’ve said a few times on this blog that I’ll never be “over” cancer—that fear of recurrence will always be with me. I know I am not the only person who thinks like that. That great Slate article published last year quoted Dana Jennings: “Even though my health keeps improving, and there’s a good chance that I’m cancer free, I still feel stalked, as if the cancer were perched on my shoulder like some unrepentant imp.”
Well, that nails it.
Medical facilities still grate on my nerves, so, I was only a tiny bit less anxious for my recent experience a couple of weeks ago. So it was a bit upsetting to be shown an image with a new, large white area on the chest wall under the place where the original…
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So very true.
This hydrangea was in my backyard and I think it suits my post today. Much like a life splintered by the diagnosis of Breast Cancer, the fallout comes after all of the treatment is done. This pom flower, flourished through her treatment, but now as Autumn creeps in, you can see where perhaps her splendor lay, but now is riddled with pink splatters ~ like how the rest of my life is now speckled with cancer.
But it’s not all flowery after you’re through with the treatments. As many who have endured disease and illness (not necessarily just breast cancer), the aftermath is often the hardest. I remember the distinct “WHAT NOW?” feeling after treatment was over. I was sent out into the world with a few follow up appointments scheduled for future dates in my back pocket, some daily meds to take and a bewildered look on my face.
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So, recently a work colleague achieved a new level of status at our company and in their (yes, it is a single person, but I am using the plural pronouns to be gender-neutral – I’m anonymizing as much as possible, while still sharing the guts of my emotions – which is what this post and this blog is all about – me!) career.
This person’s achievement affects my job description/responsibilities and we had that conversation this past Tuesday.
When I was recounting the story to my sistas (their word for all of us and I love it!) at Support Group that night, I confessed that I had approached that particular work relationship for the first 18 months or so (I’ve been there a tad over 2 years now) with warmth and friendliness (which unfortunately has not resulted in the type relationship I was hoping to build – but please look around at my quote editorials about being the only one fighting for a relationship and deciding enough is enough) and . . .
. . . I paused at this point to choose my next words, and one of my sistas (well, our sista leader actually), piped up with:
“You got over it.”
This had me actually laughing out loud, and reflexively (gently) slapping her arm (she was sitting next to me) in solidarity.
So, yes, I got over it. 🙂
This is incredibly spot on, and so well-explained. I might have to draw my own diagram, although being nearly out of primary treatment, I’m less likely to run into this problem – at least with this crisis.
Susan Silk and Barry Goldman
April 7, 2013
When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”
“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”
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Every time I hear of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer or testing positive for the BRCA gene, my heart sinks. I close my eyes and take in a deep breath and hold them in my heart, silently whispering the phrase Namaste (the light in me acknowledges the light in you). I feel all the way to the core of my soul what they are going through or what they are about to go through.
When I woke this morning, I along with the rest of the world heard of Angelina Jolie’s wonderfully easy and glamorous experience with a nipple sparing elective double mastectomy. According to her article in the New York Times, she was back to normal in a few days. Her children have only witnessed tiny scars on her perfectly reconstructed breasts and she wants everyone to know how easy the whole thing was for her. And…
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What she said.
“Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and…
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Work in progress . . .
“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”