The old axiom is true: You really never do know how you'll respond to shocking news. For example, when my father called me on Sunday to tell me that my mother has breast cancer, I was oddly calm. It helped that my father was stoic (he always is). In truth, I'm the kind of person who freaks about every meaningless thing and keeps it all together while the house is falling down.
This is in no way to imply the house is falling down. It's much easier to be calm when one has been assured that prospects for full recovery are very good. My mother is exceedingly fortunate that she found the tumor where and when she did, and that she has access to excellent medical care. She is young (65), healthy (other than this glitch, soon to be remedied) and highly knowledgeable about Western and alternative medicine. She is optimistic and exceedingly clean-living. Seriously - the woman is a juice-aholic vegan (the kind who gets adequate protein), doesn't drink, has never smoked and counts meditation amongst her vices. She's like the anti-Kristin.
As luck would have it, for her (not the cancer), she is the most willful person (other than my child) that I've ever come across. Cancer should quake in its boots. My mother is fucking scary.
I'm sharing this information (with my mother's blessing, of course) for a few reasons, not least of which is to remind you to check your breasts, like, every three minutes, for any suspicious behaviour. I, for one, have a mammogram and breast ultrasound booked on Friday morning. This is by no means my first mammogram (my maternal aunt also had breast cancer and is living a wonderful life more than 25 years later), but it is my first breast ultrasound. My mother's cancer is located in a spot (near the sternum) that was NOT traceable by mammogram. Ultrasound, however, caught the tumor immediately.
I'm also sharing the information to ask you all - my community through thick and thin - to keep my mother in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple of months of treatment - and particularly this Thursday when she's having surgery. Please, please, please sign our metaphoric petition to the universe to restore health and balance at the earliest opportunity.
I'm sure my mum would be thrilled to hear positive stories of recovery from cancer - yours or a loved one's - and any lessons learned (practical, metaphysical, psycho-emotional - I'll let you decide). I, and my sister, would be so grateful for any positive stories and practical tips for daughters.
We are resolved to approach this challenge with optimism, partly because it's indicated and partly because my mother is strongly of the perspective that optimism is a choice. Please join us in this action. xoxo