Quote of the Day: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. Albert Einstein
My sister, Lynne, gave me the book Waking the Warrior Goddess. I started on it this morning, and in just reading a few chapters, have found it to be such a source of interest, resource and thought provocation. The author, Christine Horner, M.D., was the force behind the legislation that required insurance companies to pay for reconstructive surgery on women who had breast mastectomies. Hard to believe that it was considered “unnecessary surgery because after a mastectomy it was considered an organ w/ no function”.
Here’s what she said in her book:
If breast cancer were to place an ad for the female of it’s dreams, it would go something like this:
Searching for an overweight, older, American or Western European woman to take on a short, extremely emotional ride; someone who loves to stay up all night drinking alcohol and eating red meat, junk food and sugary desserts– that is, on the nights she’s not working the graveyard shift; a woman who thinks organically raised fruit, vegetables and whole grains aren’t foods; a person who loves to burn the candle at both ends, thrives on stress, isn’t into exercising, has been a smoker since she was a teenager, and who puts everyone ese’s needs before her own.
Wow, I don’t know how I could have prepared myself better for the disease I got? I don’t even thrive on stress!
The book has the most useful information on mammograms I have read. She said that mammograms can’t see through “dense” breast tissue (typically found in most women younger than forty) and picks up only 70-80 % of all breast cancers. I have dense tissue and that makes sense that the lump was not picked up by the mammogram. There is hope for an emerging technology called “thermography” which detects heat. “… a thermogram can “see” these abnormal physiological processes as early as five to ten years before a cancer can be seen by a mammogram, MRI or ultra sound or felt by a physical exam.” The book then goes through about 30 things you can start doing now to either prevent breast cancer or stop further spreading.
Today, for a few hours, I forgot that I had cancer. We had some issues w/ our renters in Park City- the Argentines- we’ll call them. We ended up having to get them out of our condo and had to get the condo ready for another group to move in. There were about 10 of us working for about 8 hours and while the condo is pretty good size (2200 square feet), it should seem that would be an enormous amount of time to get it ready for the next renters. Joe’s partner and family, co-workers and Mike worked harder than I’ve ever seen people work cleaning bathrooms, vents, mattresses, couches, rugs, blood on the wall, bathtub downstairs- was dark brown w/ a heavy film, yes everything. I would include a picture of how filthy it was, but I don’t know anyone who has the stomach for it. Anyway, my point is that we worked furiously and I got the task of buying new linens because apparently if you haven’t washed bedding in 4 months, never mind, not worth saving! So I forgot about the cancer and it felt good to be worried about something that didn’t have life or death consequences. Anyway, we finished about 5 minutes before the new guests arrived. It felt like the TV shows where they have only a day to remake an entire house.
It’s amazing how much you learn about how to treat others when you go through an experience like this. I so appreciate the people who acknowledge the disease and come and give me a big hug and heartfelt message. Lee Colvin, this man in my neighborhood, talked to me and sincerely wished me well. He reached over and touched my hair, and said “So, you gonna loose this”? It was confirmation that he had thought about what I would be going through. When we cleaned yesterday, no one said a word about the cancer (at least, not after I arrived) and I understand they’re trying to be nice and not mention it, but it’s real and it is the elephant in the room and it’s so… much better to admit it’s stomping around. When we don’t acknowledge the existence of something, it’s like saying it’s not important, and therefore you’re not important.
Picture of Lynne in Tahiti