Fear can take up a lot of room, if given even half a chance. In spite of your mighty efforts at optimism, it can leak in, sit itself down in the driver’s seat and latch a death grip on the steering wheel. Fear does not recognize the energetic possibility of good news. Fear lines up all the bad possibilities and checks them off for you; the worst grocery list ever:
- Get cancer
- Have cancer in multiple places
- Lose your breast
- Have it spread to your lymph nodes
Damn if the first part of it wasn’t true though. I did get cancer, it was in multiple places, I did lose my breast, and the surgery confirmed it had crept into the sentinel lymph node. This week of waiting, post-surgery has been about wresting Fear to the ground, holding space for the better-feeling alternatives, wanting so much to be alive and well and beyond this — wanting the truck to turn around.
We, Gordy and I, stay close and talk gratitude. We retell the story and he beams with pride at my courage in finding that fussy little thing in my breast and saying something about it, doing something about it. We compare our experiences through the surgical journey and are reassured by the skill and competence of our surgeon as it showed up to each of us. I am immeasurably grateful for the kindness and caring of my recovery nurse, Debra, who stayed with me through eight hours of unfortunate side effects from anesthesia and shared her own personal breast cancer story. She started me on the path of awe — the powerful way that the Universe guides you and gives you what you need to crack yourself wide open and be the biggest and best version of you possible. No regrets. I woke up the next day to the warm, warm wishes of those who had taken the time to read my post and send good thoughts and energy my way. I felt it then. I feel it now. The crack opens wider and the good light gets in.
I am recovering well. I am eager to do my stuff. Gordy is adamant about doing it for me. It is pouring rain right now and he is down at the barn settling the horses in. I watch him from the window and I see in the easy movement of his body that he knows what to do and the horses know it, too. He is the bridge that is keeping this altogether. The thunder makes Gracie nervous, so I wrap her in her thunder shirt, dose her with Rescue Remedy and sit by her side. I am still useful. I am still wanted.
I worry that our lives are too big…as if it was my job to somehow have things “right sized” so as to accommodate cancer when it barged in and sat itself down in the middle of us. Gordy had a good answer for that. We are not fostering Baby Molly anymore. We are adopting her. That makes me so happy. There has been such sadness in this cancer journey and we had become so attached to that little girl. Honestly, I did not think I could bear another sadness, the sadness of saying good-bye to her. Her new name is Maizey. She bounces around Gordy as he trudges to the house through the rain, splashing in puddles, head in the air, defying the rain and it makes us both laugh as we catch each other’s eyes through the open doorway. What a tonic she is.
The pathology report came back today. The surgeon called us and we held our collective breath as he told us everything we already knew and two really big things we didn’t: Clean margins and of the twenty-one other lymph nodes taken, the only one positive was the one we knew about. We are not chasing cancer anymore, we are ahead of it…way ahead of it.
Ha! Take that, Fear. Take that, Cancer. We turned the damn truck around. Eternal gratefulness and love to everyone who gave it a mighty, energetic shove.