July 31, 2007

the riverbank

Where am I?
What state is this?
How did I get here without going anywhere?
My appetite is being put to the supreme test – the ultimate test.
That’s as close as I’ll get to food in this post.
Yesterday I got the word – I have breast cancer.
I just shook my hands off the keyboard as I wrote that.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
They assure me it’s treatable – they assure me I’ll be fine – they assure me I have lots of life ahead of me. And what choice do I have but to believe them?
A deep voice, deep inside me is roaring that this is just not right – the voice is indignant, outraged, and powerful.
It hurts more to tell people I love than to absorb the news myself – I think…but it’s more likely I just haven’t absorbed it myself.
I kept waking up last night as if trying to emerge above water, out of a nightmare – only to realize the feeling didn’t go away when my brain came online – it’s here…all around me.
So here we go…a new adventure, not by choice, more an invasion.
I had decided earlier this year to rededicate myself to growing my hair out (after chopping it off in February) – but ha…I will head back to my fabulous hair cutter Sunil, and have him chop it – a pre-emptive strike, back to my Buddhist monk look. My graces and I are debating now on the wild colour – what the hell?
Speaking of hell, bring it on…my new and not-so-brave world of words: oncologists, surgeons, chemo, radiation, risks, benefits, survivor rates…guess I’d better go get a pink ribbon for my bumper -
I’m 44. I’m three years into a beautiful, breathtaking marriage. I’m surrounded in love and beauty by good people.
So how did I get here?
I went for a baseline mammogram after my physical this year…I went because I hadn’t been for one before.
Then I went back for another one, and an ultrasound…and then another mammogram, and another ultrasound combined with a needle biopsy (not as bad as it sounds, actually quite fascinating if it’s anyone else), then a week later: the word.
I told my surgeon that the image that runs through me is of slipping into a hole. She said a hole is only one way. I’m actually on a riverbank she said, “and we’re going to get you through to the other side of the river, and there’s a whole lot of life there.”
That’s how I got here. On the riverbank.
At the top is a photo taken from my incredible hotel room in Varanasi, India - it is a boat crossing the Ganges at sunrise.


SusieJ said...

"It hurts more to tell people I love than to absorb the news myself."
Beautiful -- that I can understand.
Rant here about that deep voice inside of you that says, rightlyl say, that "this is just not right."

Julie said...

Fuck! Fuckity fuck fuck FUCK! Tha's some crappy news.

But I love your surgeon's metaphor of crossing the river, and I love the symbolism of you cutting your hair because it reminds me of preparing for a journey, or even preparing for battle.

Please know I am sending you big wishes, good thoughts, prayer, etc. for strength and health and a safe journey.

Vickie said...

I stopped over from SusieJ's to wish you the best as you begin this new journey in life. This is life and you are about to begin a journey you would prefer not to take but one you will take surrounded by caring and loving family and friends.

During this journey reach out for the hands of those who support you. Sending you special thoughts and wishing you the best.

Joanne said...

Hey there Nic

I was on your Foodnut ... checking out your latest blog & I wanted to post a wee something in your comments section.

Now I know I'm out of my league when it comes to writing... I most certainly don't possess the skill of my bestest, oldest, friend when it comes to blending words together, you manage to make the words meld together like a superb recipe .... but I want you to know that this comes from the heart.

Rotten news indeed... & so b.o.f

A journey begins
One I know you'd rather miss
And if I could grant you anything
That would be my first wish
However .... a river you now face
And cross it you must
Though this path you've been given
Is .... well .... truly unjust.

I'd like to grab something fast
Like perhaps a jet ski
And across that vast river
I'd gladly take you with me
But this is a journey that,
Moves at a different pace
Just try to stay focussed and steady
No matter what you must face.

There will be times no doubt
That you might feel lost or alone
Remember your loving husband
Steve will always guide you home
Of course, then there's your Mum
Sal .... she has so much love for you
She'll be there to support you in anyway
As this river .... she too has been through!

Hey Nic .... last but not least
Are all your loving friends
Who line that great riverbank
With outstretched hands to lend
So never forget as you paddle across
If in the rivers current, weary you grow
Then just grab hold of a friend
As we all love you .... this you must know

We'll paddle alongside you
Or next to you in your own boat
We'll do whatever it takes
To help keep you afloat
Yes, a river you must face
And cross it you will
Nic you're strong and courageous
Your goal you will fulfill!!