Moving Back into Life

My blog posts have been less frequent in 2011.

It was this time a year ago when I began to cope with a diagnosis of cancer.

They tell me I’m cancer free right now. But every morning I swallow a small white pill that my oncologist prescribed to block estrogen from being absorbed in my body.

I have been led to believe the small white pill protects me from ill health.

Yet I don’t seem to find comfort in the tiny pill. And every day it reminds me that my body made a space for cancer. It did that without my permission.

When I began coping with the diagnosis, I floated in denial for quite some time.

I thought about what I needed to do to rid myself of the evil cells. And I moved through each of the steps to eradicate the disease.

My cancer was discovered through my regular mammogram. At first I was sure nothing was wrong except the radiologist’s eyes. And so I scheduled a second opinion.

Moving through those nights and days, I tried not to think about worse case scenarios. And yet I contacted a newspaper broker as I thought about what might happen.

The reason I chose a bilateral mastectomy is that I never wanted to experience this sense of helplessness again.

It was a good choice. The pathologists at Faulkner Hospital found tiny cancer cells in the breast was hadn’t shown problems.

As my oncologist said, the second cancer was so small, it might not have ever become what he called a “real cancer.” One of those was enough for me.

Breast cancer affected my grandmother and aunt. It’s shadow has always touched my memories.

And now I have my own experience and I’ve moved from denial, anger and compromise into acceptance. I know I skipped the depression stage. Perhaps I am just starting to experience that part.

I haven’t wanted to think about my cancer. And yet there it is every day as  I look in the mirror and notice that my body is shaped like a plump pear. I think about escaping cancer as I swallow the estrogen-blocking pill. I haven’t had any trouble remembering to take the pill, unlike my cholestrol drug.

I think about cancer as I move through the food market, purchasing only organic foods, avoiding water in plastic bottles.

My cancer, which has been cut out of my body, defines much of what I do these days.

I sit and watch the water flow by the windows of my life. I smile with friends. I sleep more. I plan to continue flooding my life with joy and beauty.

It seems to be time to move beyond thinking about cancer. It is time to move back into life. I want to erase the dis-ease. But the truth is I am grateful cancer came and brought me the realization I am a time-limited being. I need to make the most of all the minutes.