Life has provided me and us with an abundance of lists and to-do’s lately. I thought I would offer a retrospective of the last very short bit of time as a list of all the things I have gotten checked off.
It started on Tuesday June 21st with
✔ Get to doc, there is a lump in my breast, saw Lauren Mayer, CNM that morning.
✔ Then get to Radiologist, mammogram and sonogram – yes it is a lump and it is of concern, its spiculated among other things, all in that afternoon (Dr. Helen Mrose at Bay Radiology Rocks!)
✔ Pick up my sister Polly and her two boys at the airport (coincidence??)
✔ Get back to radiologist, time for a biopsy, on Wednesday.
✔ Waaaaaaiiiiiittttt for results, but already know lump is coming out, thanks to really good and straightforward Dr. Mrose.
✔ Make appointment with Dr. Cynthia Drogula, she has been recommended as a precise and elegant surgeon, with offices that will treat me as an individual.
✔ Call back and try that again and get an earlier appointment with surgeon, because I have guaranteed that we will:
✔ Get BIOPSY results in time (call radiologist again)
✔ Process the enormity and the speed of all of this, it is only Thursday after all.
✔ Figure out what I want to tell people, and process the WTF??? , No Really??? and fear sensations and get settled and clear about what I need from others.
✔ Prepare the first anti-pinkwashing manifesto.
✔ Tell my close people – invite in support. easy with some who are so close, and my parents are on holiday in England, loving me up.
✔ Manage somewhat unexpected responses from just a few of my people.
✔ Limit my circle a bit, discover that I have the ability to sense people from quite a distance checking too closely into my system.
✔ This feels invasive, so I construct stronger boundaries, while also trying open to the support that is showing up unconditionally and with deep love, ah the concept of permeable boundaries, remember teaching about those!
✔ Pathology report in – Friday June 24th, the process simply couldn’t be going any faster.
✔ Inform close people that yes I do in fact have cancer, Grade 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
✔ Laura gets back to Dr. Mrose’s office to pick up films for appt. on Monday.
✔ Get through weekend.
✔ Reminded to Receive!
✔ Get some info and details from Dr. Inman (Laura’s brother Kyle:-) this is not his specialty and he was able to give us some reassuring and pertinent info.
✔ Go to church, feels different.
✔ Bless and accept support as it comes with all the innocence and care that it is provided.
✔ Swear that the first thing I discuss with a person who is newly diagnosed with the experience of breast cancer will NOT be about how miserable the wigs are!
✔ Remember that we are all having a unique experience here in Earth School and that I get to choose how I have mine, every moment, every step of the way.
✔ Laura brings me lots of information about holistic supports and options from our friend and favorite nutritionist Jennifer Salos. I do not respond in the manner that was expected (‘nother blog)
✔ Monday morning, less than a week since I discovered the lump, sitting in surgeon, Dr. Cynthia Drogula’s office talking about breast cancer, local treatment, systemic treatment, sentinel node biopsies, wide excision, radiation, studies, mastectomy, statistics.
✔ Sign pre-op consent forms for a wide excision on my left breast, sentinel node biopsy and possible axillary dissection. (I am now confident that there will be no Axillary Dissection BTW, just saying)
✔ We are at the front desk and dates are popping out, and I realize that they are asking me if July 18th would be a good surgery date. “Yes, if we can’t do it tomorrow” July 18th is so far away.
✔ No silly, you can’t do it tomorrow – because now the real to-do list begins!
✔ Pre-surgical to-do list
- Bilateral MRI with contrast Wednesday 7/29 (a whole blog post of its own)
- Chest X-Ray 7/29
- Physical with primary – Lauren Mayer, CNM 6/28
- Blood work – fasting, add in the other tests I was getting anyway 7/7
- EKG – at old primary care Docs office in Arnold 7/7
- Another mammogram to mark/locate the clip placed during biopsy 6/29
- Fill prescription for painkiller -ok, that’s not done yet.
- Read the patient resource guide, printed with advertising dollars from pharmaceuticals…. not interested in learning how to be a compliant patient.
✔ Accept that this is very important, and I really want the surgery team and especially anesthesiologist to be fully aware of my health before surgery.
✔ Get copies of my old mammograms (nah. I haven’t followed the American Cancer Society’s guidelines) I have however developed a loving relationship with my breasts and I touch them – and I found the lump. Lots of stats will come later.
✔ Monday evening, tell Sarah that her Mom is having the experience of Breast Cancer. It was not a scene from a Hallmark Channel movie. Me: “I’d like to talk with you about something that is going on with my health.” Sarah: “Are you dying?” Me: “No, not anytime soon” ……
✔ Realize that I need time!
- Time to let this sink in
- Time to take care of myself
- Time to honor the gravity of having a mass of cells in my body that are capable of causing death
- Time to remind Laura and all who love me that I am not currently dying and that it would probably require a bus or such blunt trauma to cause that to happen anytime soon.
- Time to find out what this is here for.
- Time to go to a gazillion doc appointments.
- Time for reading and research .
- Time to simply be (still trying to get to that – yes I must just take that time)
- Time to love my people and enjoy them.
- Time for tears and cussing.
- Time for laughing.
- Time to do all the stuff to tick off all these darn boxes!
- And time is ok, even if I look and feel perfectly healthy while I am taking it.
- Time to follow my path, as dark and narrow as it seems sometimes.
✔ Decide that I am officially on Sabbatical for my health
✔ Problem solve with Laura about how this can happen with our business Ease, Joy and Alchemy
✔ Write letters to all of my clients, inviting their prayers and suggesting how they could continue to receive the bodywork they need during my Sabbatical.
|Me and Polly at the house we grew up in.|
|Me and Laura at Rye Harbor|
✔ Breathe a big sigh of relief that nothing is happening over the 4th of July weekend, so our plans to run up to Rye, NY and visit our hometown can go ahead as planned. Polly, her boys, Laura and I all pile into Laura’s Subie and head off.
✔ Are you tired yet? I am!
✔ In the midst of this, Sarah is back and forth to riding camp, Polly has a glass show outside of Baltimore, Laura is juggling her client load, stepping into my client load, managing the business and dealing with the effects of a small fire in her Baltimore apartment while she was in CO and deciding about summer course load. Polly and Forrest get sick, and we are all living in this amazing temporary rental home on the water, and being very conscious to keep it clean and take really good care of everything.
✔ Oh, and the deal on the house I am trying to buy gets more and more tenuous by the day and I hire attorneys. So by 7/7 I am sitting in the attorney’s office going over that little challenge.
✔ Cause, did I mention we are essentially homeless at this point? I have sold one house and have not been able to buy the next… we all go “grrrrrr….” at the listing broker and agent here…. please chime in!
✔ Laura has been covering my clients, I really am on Sabbatical, yet I am busier than ever. No time for a pleasant lady’s lunch on my calendar!
✔ Get an online Fax number – cause there are a lot of my medical records flying around the ethers and I want copies too 443-303-8186 if you need it.
✔ Read all of Chrisitane Northrup MD’s stuff on breast cancer
✔ Read borrowed copy of Dr. Susan Love’s 4th edition of the Breast Book and then all the salient parts of the 5th edition I bought the next day
✔ Read a bunch of holistic stuff – why do the two sides have to be so negative about each other?
✔ Really needed the info – overwhelmed by the inf.
✔ Set up Blog
✔ Monday – we’ve made it to July 11th, a week to surgery, all of my pre-op boxes ticked
✔ Pop in to see Chiropractor – Dr. Marisa Wallie – she adjusts me right then… ahhh… did I mention the fall I took last week – ouch (gratuitous tear opportunity)
✔ See Naturopath- Dr. Stephanie Porter – she is local and her specialty is oncology. Much of what she has to offer was already a part of my day to day lifestyle and she has some great pre-op/post-op suggestions to augment what Jennifer has given us.
✔ Get MRI results – must fax them around and can! Celebrate for a moment, need to let that relief sink in.
✔ Talk to ex & friend Kevin, Sarah’s Dad about what I think is important in the case that a bus runs through the operating room on Monday. Like I said, it’ll take a bus or something:-)
✔ Planning – Sarah care after surgery, getting advice on how to best support her. She will be with Dad for the week and camp and add-ons that are fun and distracting – cause this is her summer vacation, she gets to have fun.
✔ Shop for appropriate bed clothing, and darn-it that pink is showing up again.
✔ Get all the documents together for Laura and I to document our Domestic Partnership in Maryland. It ain’t marriage by any stretch of the imagination, but it does guarantee some rights, and with hospitals and such coming up, we want all that covered in advance. Medical Power of Attorney and Directive been done (and I brought that box with me – it isn’t in a storage container!!!!)
✔ Best part- notary at UPS isn’t in, find out that the church administrators are both Notaries, so we head off to St. Margaret’s, get the paperwork done along with a whole lot of laughs and love. However, both Stewart and James were there, and we realize later that there was no ceremony, no music, no flowers!
✔And these are the things you realize afterwards. Signing that paperwork is significant, and Spirit led us to one of the best places we know and surrounded us with people we love, and who make us laugh. And that means way more than flowers and music and ceremony.
✔ Bloodwork back, chest x-ray back, I’m essentially healthy.
Still not done:
Writing back to many people who have sent me wonderful notes of support. I try to keep up and then find that it is bedtime again! I hope you are reading this blog and know I send you love and thanks!
Stocking the house with drinking water and essentials so that Laura doesn’t have to worry about such things. My BNI friends and some others are promising food, so thankful for that.
Sit down with Jennifer and go over all the holistic stuff
Major pre-op “education” visit at surgeon’s office on Wednesday. Ask a thousand questions about all parts of the surgery, looking forward to having 1001 answers and letting that part of my brain rest a bit.
Making capsules of tumeric, ginger and black pepper for their anti-inflammatory and cancer inhibiting properties. I just can’t eat that much of it on food.
Another chiropractic adjustment or two
Pedicure – why should that matter?
Shop for a too small bra, since I am going to be a bit lopsided in a week and tight will feel better. It won’t be pink.
Accept that I will forget something(s)
Continue the visualization and mediation that is helping my body isolate all that it no longer needs and that which doesn’t serve me into this small tumor in my left breast. I will release all of that on Monday and let it go from my body.
Walk to the end of the Thomas Point Park before 8pm, since we keep going too late and getting kicked out by the ranger.
Remind the people I love so much, especially Sarah and Laura that I do love them and I am not planning on going anywhere. That I deeply appreciate their love and support and know that this is an experience that is mine and ours to have, and that it is taking us all somewhere.
Life will never be quite the same. But isn’t that really the case everyday anyway?