August 09, 2007

I.D. Please

My brain came back online late last week.

I felt various pieces of software click back on. I noticed the weather. I noticed problems in the house. I noticed the unmade bed, the dust, the cat hair.

I can cope. And then I can't. And then I can. And when I can't, Steve is there. And my Mum. And my beautiful, beautiful friends.

I noticed I can float.

I'm starting to believe that books come into your life at certain times. I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love about a week before my diagnosis of breast cancer.

I got to the end. I started over again. I salivated over Gilbert's description of pizza in Naples, yoga in her Indian ashram, and fulfillment of her search in Indonesia. The hair rose on my arms as she talked about the voice deep inside her that protects her. I cried (on the subway) when I read what the voice said to her. I jumped at her description of yoga. And my soul rested when I read what a friend told her about our soulmates...

I spent last week thinking a lot. And talking with Steve. And letting him hold me, and holding him. I thought about how I grieve the sudden loss of the part of my life where nothing more was wrong than traffic, rain, and what to have for dinner - life without a sense of mortality. Without the sad lesson that I must love this minute now, this day.

I ate a peach. A locally grown peach at its height of beauty and taste rested in my palm. My first bite dripped, the peach melted in my mouth. It grabbed my senses. I was completely present in the moment. I'm me.

And yet...

I went to the hospital for another ultrasound. I was laying on the bed, arm above my head, as they spread the goo and the wand and magically looked through the tissues on my healthy breast...I was thinking there are more pictures of my breasts floating around the medical world in the last few weeks than of Paris Hilton from her whole adventurous, young adult life.

A young resident did the test. He complained about the discomfort in his shoulder. I said, "yeah, I can't imagine. Care to trade places?" Oh he said...oh your shoulder hurts too? Oh, yeah...oblivious.

Later, when we were chatting he called me a cancer patient.

I jolted inside.

He's the first person to put the cancer first in my identity. Yeah, I guess I am. But NO I am not. I most certainly am not a cancer patient first . He couldn't see me. I'm me.

Through the last week - my brain, stomach and heart found their equlibrium again - no, more than that, they found their truth in me. It became clear that my love, inside and out, is the engine. That's me.

I finished Eat, Pray, Love again. And I stared at the cover and couldn't help but smile. For the last week that's all I've been directing myself to do: eat, pray, love.

And as Gilbert said of the favourite mantra she discovered on her journey, Hahm Sah....
I am That.

3 comments:

Mick said...

Hi. I stumbled along your blog-

just wanted to say hang in there.
You seem like an incredible woman.
You are a remarkable writer.
My thoughts are with you.

love.

Julie said...

...I grieve the sudden loss of the part of my life where nothing more was wrong than traffic, rain, and what to have for dinner - life without a sense of mortality. Without the sad lesson that I must love this minute now, this day. So well put. The previous commenter is exactly right: You're a remarkable writer and I know you're an incredible person.

Nicola said...

I want to thank both of you for your kind, kind comments. I'm very susceptible to messages of kindness - and eager to return the kindness...so thanks.

Nicky