It was one year ago today! Dr. Pories took my lump away!
February 17 is my DCIS surgery anniversary. One year ago today I was having a lumpectomy. It wasn’t too bad. The shit they slathered from my chest to my rib cage to clean me off pre-surgery turned out to be something I’m allergic too — Chloraprep — so I had a rash for a good month after that. But I walked into that room in my surgery gowns and socks wheeling an IV like a queen with my sisters and husband trying not to cry while watching me pad down the corridor.
The operating room was sunnier and brighter than I had expected, everyone was nice, I went to sleep. I woke up and was OK. Dr. Susan Pories injected me with a shit ton of lidocaine to keep me comfortable for a long time.
They went in at the nipple and my stitches made it look like my boobs were winking, and I liked to think they resembled Marlene Dietrich.
During that time I wrote this piece called "Joy and Cancer Can Coexist — Sniff My Cat’s Head While I Tell You About It" (and submitted it to Creative Nonfiction), and I think now is as good a time as any to share it.
Also — anniversaries. It seems the longer we live and the more we experience and the stronger we love the more dates we accrue that move us and give us pause. It’s funny and poignant, our linear existence here on earth. Not that I remember (in any cognizant way) other existences.
Maybe I have alternate dimensions and non-linear time on the mind because I recently watched The Arrival with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, which has some time-bending elements to it I loved. It was an excellent film — one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for a big sci-fi story that manages to carry an important message, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or any season of MTV’s The Real World. ;-)
Anyway, I’ve had some mild PTSD (my therapist said it’s OK to call it that) soft-shoeing my way back or forward into a life gently pulling for more ease. It’s been a hard year. Who wouldn’t say that? But when I look back on last year and feel into my experience I can say the general timbre of it is positive. I see light and I see love. That is not the case when I think back to other times that were not in line with who I am and when I bent to what others were expecting. So it feels wonderful to be able to say I did everything in line with who I am. I stretched more than kvetched.
I love this quote that Sharon Ramel, my web-based Shamanic healing teacher (yes, I have one of those), mentioned in a recent email. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We carry many seeds in our hearts – the seeds of fear, the seeds of love, the seeds of past hurts, the seeds of peace, the seeds of hopelessness, the seeds of trust, and so many more. Which seeds are we watering? Which seeds do we spend time with, which do we nurture, encourage, support? We always have a choice.” Sharon goes on to write, “Water the seeds of Love and Peace. We are changing the world. Uplifting our vibrations for the good of all.”
What seeds are you sowing? Which ones are you watering? I’m hoping to literally grow Skyrocket Junipers this spring and their spiritual counterpart in my heart. Why not? Weird and fucked up things happen to us. Do the awesome while we can.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.