Community forum: gifts can arrive unexpectedly
On July 22, 2020, I entered Porter Hospital for a mammogram which was three years late. The possibility of cancer did not occur to me. I had never had a “bad” mammogram. How could I be so optimistic? The scan revealed anomalies. Surely, breast density was the culprit.
A second CT scan, several biopsies and an MRI confirmed several malignant tumors. Although detected relatively “early”, the cancer was grade 4 out of 5. It could spread quickly. Removal of both breasts in their entirety was medically necessary.
Upon hearing the news, the man I thought I loved said all the right things. He loved me for who I am, not for my body. He would be with me all along and wanted me to be cancer free. The day before I lost my breasts, he dumped me, and walked off the stage.
There were complications during the surgery.
The recovery was difficult. I chose no reconstruction. At 62, I didn’t want my life to revolve around surgery. Outside my door, the pandemic was raging.
In the safety of my home, my body and heart began to heal. Historically, I had judged myself harshly. Not good enough, smart enough, fit enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough, and on the list is gone. In solitude, I found acceptance of my body and its battle scars, and appreciation for the strength and resilience that I thought I had, and now know that I really have. I have become my best lawyer. I have found on my own the compassion and love that I freely give to others. Today I am enough.
Breast cancer wasn’t the worst thing that had happened to me. I thought it would be. The mastectomy freed me from future worries. The journey exposed the vagaries of love and rid me of crippling and limiting beliefs. Just as I never thought that cancer would strike me, I never dreamed that I would receive such unexpected gifts.