After about 25 years of intimate friendship, I am saying a bittersweet goodbye to my left breast today. All of my biopsies came back positive, so, tomorrow morning they will remove the breast and a good portion of the lymph nodes in my armpit. If lots of the excised nodes are cancerous, I will also need radiation and chemotherapy. The docs think this is likely.
No doubt I didn’t want to be here, but now that I am, I am embracing the power in it. The morning after we found I would need a mastectomy, I started to see future me – a super strong yogi with a crazy gorgeous tattoo celebrating the place where the left breast was.
Yoga teaches me that we are more than our literal body, we have a subtle body that reaches deep and far in the directions of love and compassion. Today, I imagine my subtle body like this asian pear tree I grew in Oregon on our household greywater. I had to learn to prune and care for my fruit trees and I made mistakes along the way but they still made the juiciest and most beautiful fruits. Tomorrow my physical body gets the pruning it needs to survive. With this letting go of what I was, my spiritual and emotional body can grow new limbs and new roots.
I am so thankful that my mom and Eric, and dear friends Katherine and Kate will be with me as I recover this week at Dan and Melissa’s beautiful farmhouse on Bainbridge Island, where they have a little flower farm and, of course, lots of beautiful fruit trees.
As you can guess, I probably will have a lot more to write and say about this part of the treatment, my decision to not pursue “reconstruction” right away, the ways in which my life and identity have to change, and the tearful ego battle involved in accepting and embracing those changes. But today I just want to invite you to send me your best vibes for tomorrow’s big surgery. It takes a tribe to heal a woman!
Also, to all who have sent along tips and links and ideas for healing, keep them coming. You represent a lot of collective wisdom, and I’m honored to learn about the healing strategies you find on your travels. Love you!