However, an unexpected diagnosis from some tests, turned my life upside down. I have spent the better part of the past 12 days grieving, being brave, then grieving again, on the phone to family, to friends, planning, on the phone to doctors, convincing myself that a second opinion would be different, then convincing myself that that the recommended course of action is the correct one. Well maybe not convincing myself, but allowing myself to see and feel the truth in it. In general, coming to acceptance of what has to happen to save my life, while NOT allowing myself to "accept" being part of the group of people that has cancer. It's a tricky balance, because I need to keep positive and keep thinking that it's already beat, to accept the recommended course of action, so that I can help the doctors to help me to beat it, yet at the same time I mustn't accept being part of "that group", if you know what I mean.
I need to keep being grateful for the silver linings, and for the positive aspects of this - and, yes there really are some. I am grateful that this was caught so early, that it is a stage where it can almost be considered pre-cancerous. Almost, but not quite. Stage zero, is about as early as it can be caught. I am grateful that our healthcare system will pay for the reconstruction afterwards. Not only that, but they will, ummm, do both sides, so that they'll match afterwards, and I'll get to be "perky" again. I am even grateful that this is on my... less sensitive side (gasp, I said it!) I am grateful that it can be treated "easily", though I have to say that the thought of losing a breast is no fun at all. I am also grateful that they have told me the prognosis for me is the best one they can give a patient, and that they do not expect for me to need either chemotherapy or radiation afterward.
Lastly, I am grateful that I have worked so damned hard at being aware over the past years, because in the last 12 days or so, it has really helped me see some important things about myself, which need to be addressed in all this. One of the big ones is allowing myself to really express myself, my feelings, with no apologies, and with no particular hold on the outcome of that.
Interestingly, the last painting I had done in my class, before I had the diagnosis, can be seen to have something to do with that. At the time, and even now, I really think of this one as being all about emergence. When I displayed this painting at my show this weekend I had a variety of opinions. Some people thought the poor guy was trapped behind the burlap, but I feel he is on the verge of breaking out, he is about to emerge, and this is almost like a birthing process. Which I think is exactly where I am in my painting, in my verbalization of my thoughts and feelings, and hopefully in my being.
"I had this idea, and it just had to get out"
10 x 12, acrylic and plaster on canvas.