Tuesday, March 18, 2008

healing ... again

It is good for me to be told: no you cannot exercise, no you cannot swim, no you cannot work.

I am free to do nothing. To sit outside with Jubilee and watch the wind in the trees. To be empty, and quiet.

I am healing … again … I think both emotionally and physically … from the trauma of being diagnosed with breast cancer, having my breast removed, and then “reconstructed”. In time, I want to write a little more clearly and decisively about this experience, and in a way that will directly address the way the medical system and the culture responds to breast cancer, and the way that the patient gets sucked into that mindset.

Reconstructive surgery is touted as either “no big deal” or the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is neither. It is both painful and disfiguring, even if you have the best plastic surgeon (and I do).

I know that I will adapt to my new breast, but I also know that I will never be “normal-looking” again. I wonder if I could have had the guts to be a uni-breast, if it had been more encouraged, more accepted.

My cancers were very small (the invasive cancer was detectable only by MRI) and early stage. There must be a way to stop cancers at this stage without resorting to removing the entire breast. I have read somewhere about an infrared (I think) beam that could be directed at the tumor, and kill it from within. However, it needs further testing and research. I would have gladly volunteered to be part of that study.

And I will get photos up here of my new breasts – I’m just still feeling a bit too swollen, wounded and vulnerable. So I return to the backyard – to heal.