Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shaking the Etch-a-Sketch

Or some variation thereof...
I have had so many people in the last six weeks say to me that I look so much clearer, vibrant, at ease, happy. What I have realized with each person who expresses something along those lines, is that my body was working so hard to contain the process that was happening in my left breast. Now that the DCIS (I think of it, actually, as the comedonecrosis~~ the tissue inside the ducts beginning to die~~ that was the metabolic rock of Sysiphus) is gone I have/ am more of my own essential energy.
Even through the lingering fatigue from the antibiotics is fading, but still present,, I can feel the truth in this, and I am grateful to this beatiful body of mine.

Two weeks ago my friend came out to my house to take my own personal SCAR Project-like photograph.
It was a very easy and warm experience. When she e-mailed me the photos I must have spent an hour looking and re-looking at every shot and angle...
I love the images of the scar, the new colorations, the odd rearrangings of the tissue due to the cellulitis, and also, I must confess. the whole body images that showed me, body and face, subject to the whims of gravity and time.
What is not beautiful to our culture is so beautiful simply as manifestation.

At a party last night I was telling this story to a friend I've known for 26 years, and we laughed out loud (and repeatedly) at what happens to bodies with age, how we perceive that, and how we both, as artists and as feminist women, shrug.
At the end of the day, what else can one do? (and yet how we are encouraged to so profoundly do anything, anything to keep that from happening)
Let age happen. I will embrace every chapter and verse.

Earlier this week I went in for the second fill on my expander.
Since the first fill happened under anesthesia, and since I had seen every woman who spoke to the process in blogs use words in the flavor of "uncomfortable" and "painful, but woth it in the end", I wasn't sure what to expect.
I went in without any trepidation. While explaining the procedure the nurse cautioned against possible pain, aches, and, because of the distortion due to the inflammation I had, she said the expander might have folded onto a nerve. If so, when it was expanded  and the pressure was shifted, I might feel nerve pain (burning, shooting, stabbing, electrical) that may or may not go away.
I've been a chronic pain patient three times, so pain doesn't scare me, and I know for a fact that the "unhealable" can be healed, so I just nodded without much reaction.

As always, the procedures fascinate me, and this was no different.
They brought in a bag of saline & two very large syringes and filled them to the brim.
Then the nurse found the port in the expander, made for receiving more fluid, with her "mini stud finder", and marked the spot with a purple X.
("When I am old I shall wear purple...")
Then the doctor put the needle in the center of the X and guided it through my pectoralis (chest muscle) to the port below  and slowly pushed the contents of both syringes, another 120 cc's, into my expander.
I thought that having to go through my pec might be painful, but it's a thin muscle and the injection was so gently inserted that it was nothing after the first prick of entry.
There was no aching or pain during the fill nor in the days after.

I came straight back to work and dove into a very full schedule of bodywork.
I never even needed an aspirin.

In two weeks I will return for another fill and we will evaluate to see if I feel that it is up to my size yet.
Then we will schedule the surgery.

In the meantime, a group of wonderful humans have arranged for a benefit concert to be held for me a week from today.
Two hours of upbeat music my Rudi Harst and the Circle Band and the bluesy brilliant voice of my niece, Sarah Bading, to raise money to help see me through the (second) month I will have to take off after the (second) surgery.
We are also having a raffle, with many wonderful gifts to be received, including a quilt made by me.
I am more grateful than I can find language for that so many hearts and hands are lifting me up, over and over again, on this journey.

The present moment national news is very much (and rightfully so!) focused on the Occupy movement, which originally began as the Occupy Wall Street movement and has spread globally.
I follow it closely and have (as most do) my very definite opinions about it, but there are a few I know who have used their words to make a larger, deeper call.
I echo, and expand, on that.

Occupy your heart.
Occupy your body as a radiant co-creator.
Occupy every moment with love.

Thank you all for Occupying this journey with me.


d smith kaich jones said...

thank you for scooting over on the seat and allowing us to ride with you.


stella said...

you sound excellent,can't wait to see you on Sunday. XO

mrs mediocrity said...

starting with a clean etch-a-sketch is always beautiful thing. you continue to amaze me with your strength and beauty, and your take on this wild, crazy world. can't wait to see what you "draw" next!

Sandra Bloom said...

It is a privilege - as I think I said in an earlier comment - to share your journey. You are incredibly generous. Thank you for your openess and desire for others to know what you are learning.

Frank said...

"Occupy your heart.
Occupy your body as a radiant co-creator.
Occupy every moment with love.

Thank you all for Occupying this journey with me."

I love it! Love it! LOVE it!!

Thank you and namaste. I send you a big bear hug from my essence here in Kansas.

(I'm stealing your quote to stick on my FB page)

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Drat. Frank already stole your quote. ;^) I love it too ... and your whole attitude. Shalom, my friend.