HAPPY BOOBAVERSARY TO ME
“You don’t have to come back to see me for a year,” Dr. M said so casually at my last check up as he sat facing me literally his head at breast level straddled in front of me taking a look at his work. Thank goodness he has a nurse in the room especially these days as just the entire situation has all kinds of levels of misinterpreting. Not by me. I totally get the clear boundary of patient doctor and I am happy I am in that camp. I almost felt a little bummed though when he said these words to me. This startled me because really why would anyone not be excited to hear the words from a doctor that I am doing so well, I don’t need to be seen as regularly as I have been.
Today. Friday. One full year to the day is the day I was headed to my surgery for my double mastectomy. How did a year go by? Just like a brand new baby where you can’t imagine ever going to the grocery store alone or your child heading to Kindergarten, this mastectomy experience was like that. I never thought I would be where I am today, mostly a better and improved soul from the whole lively experience.
I have learned a lot. Like all traumatic life experiences, the hind site is the platinum gift of retrospect. I have found myself enjoying the doctor’s visits, I have leaned in to the routine of them and their consistency in my life. Perhaps it is a safe zone for me that I get to have as some added protection from the inevitable worry that comes with a two diagnosis over the past three years. I try to live in the moment and not feel constant anxiety and I think the regular doctor visits help keep me feeling grounded in the womb that has become part of my new life. I have often said that the diagnosis of a brca 2 gene is like the gold insurance card when you walk into the office. I am watched and cared for and it has been a weird replacement at the same time Ann (aka my mother) stopped speaking to me. That probably reads really sad, but it is the only explanation I have for why any sane woman would actually be disappointed that she doesn’t have to go every month or three months anymore for her doctor check up.
But here I am. Naked. Stripped. Vulnerable. Honest. And this is the most glorious fact of this whole escapade. The cape that was my metaphoric source of strength as I jokingly connected my sense of self to Wonder Woman has been removed. That cape, the sparkly silky coat of armor I counted on as my source of strength, the outward appearance of its shiny flashiness turns out to be just a cape of many colors. And I didn’t need it after all. My power lies within the truth I have committed to living. My directness has softened as I have gained layers of empathy and patience in this past year with myself, yes, but in turn with the people around me. I am sure I always had it inside me, but for some reason clung on to it like a secret I wasn’t supposed to let out of Pandora’s box. Cancer sucks for sure. Having to be part of the unintended Survivorship tribe that seems to be growing every passing day is no party.
I am not Wonder Woman. I am not special. I am just a chick trying to get the most out of her life before the inevitable we all must face comes a knocking. Losing my dear brother so young gave me the sense of urgency often lost to people who don’t have the unfortunate young loss to deal with. I would have rather had my brother all this time and having my son has overfilled the hole left from my brother’s sad departure. Getting to watch him navigate the possibility of not having his mother has created a bond between us with the deepest of roots I am not sure I would have felt or rather appreciated if this hadn’t happened, but as I write this, I know this is likely not true. I have always had a deep appreciation for his spirit and our connection. Our weird family of divorce though during this rough and rumbled year has been a lovely transformation as the three of us, former husband, Dave, Michael and I have bonded in a totally different type of way and I couldn’t have asked for a better tribe, surely.
All these nuggets and blessings that have adorned my life this past year are a reason to celebrate this one year of great health. My scars have healed and so have I.
This I can say wholeheartedly has been a very good year.