Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Tomorrow someone else that I know is having a biopsy. They are being tested to see if they have cancer. Did I say epidemic? This thing has gotten so out of control. And, yes, I probably hear about more than the usual cases of cancer or testing and so on than most, since, as a survivor, people can count on my compassion and understanding. And darn right, I say. I have a ton of compassion for this process. In my journey, it was the biopsies that were the worst of the experience; they were more violent than any of the other procedures. Wait, let’s even rethink what I just said. Because what about health care should be violent, I mean really. But that is the truth, violent. Or maybe it is just because I wasn’t heavily sedated for that procedure, expecting it to be pretty easy, let’s face it the lump was huge, near the surface, hard to miss. I will say that again, HARD TO MISS. So why did it take such force to get a few cells and why did it require such repeated and aggressive pumps of the doctor’s arm. It still boggles me. And it wasn’t just that I have a distorted memory, I went in for two of these, and both we equally bad (now they were with the same doctor, and maybe that was the problem, in fact that is what had me change diagnostic centers). We are facing not just “what is wrong with our world, that there is so much cancer”, but also “what is wrong with our system, that the treatment is sometimes worse than the disease.”

So not only do I have huge compassion for this person, going under the needle. I feel a sort of empathic response. Tonight, thinking about what tomorrow will hold for them, my body cringes, my head swivels away and I wince. And my heart aches. It is an alone feeling (no matter how many friends you bring in, no matter how close they hold you while the doctors are busy making matters worse), just you and the doctor and the instruments. Yes, there might be other people in the room, but those don’t seem to take the thoughts away, or soften the fears and the feelings. Sort of like in bad dreams or distorted childhood memories, the needle looks 3 feet long, the doctor is looming, and lurking, the antagonist of the story. It has the capacity to hit such a primal place, reduce us to our small selves, and hold us in such a vulnerable spot.

These are some of the moments that define us as people, and reveal who we are at the core. How do we respond in these tough spots? Who are we when the rubber hits the road? Then again, considering how poorly I handled this situation, perhaps I should rethink what I just wrote. In many cases it is the biopsy that starts a journey, and inevitably who we are at the beginning of that tale and who we are at the end is very different. I recall a friend who went through breast cancer some years after I did, when I would chat with her, and when I visited her in the hospital post surgery, she would ask me “how did you come to be so powerful around this, so strong in yourself and in your convictions?” I don’t have a specific answer, only that I walked through the fire (and trust me, I would have opted out if I could have), and you will be this person too (or rather, your version of it), once you have walked through your fire. This process and procedure almost becomes the benchmark against which we can measure ourselves when we have come up from the depths, reborn. Seeing what we have learned about self-care, about asking for help, about standing up for ourselves and taking back our power.

I invite prayers and love for this special person, both for an easy and gentle procedure and that the results from it are in their favour.


At 7:59 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You are right, one is definitely alone with the doctors and instruments...but one has their faith by their side; faith in whomever your Creator is and His plan for you, faith in yourself that you can and will face things head on and deal with everything as it comes along, faith your own caring spirit that will give you strength all the way through the journey. Have faith in that you are the star in your own story. You play a unique and important part, regardless of the time spent "ON Stage". You are an integral part of this world in the grand scheme. And know that you have been lucky to play such a special part. It's that old Gratitude thing to put things in perspective, I guess.
We are all part of the Big Tapestry and when turned over, all the threads are tied together. Well, just putting this out there...it works for me most of the time!

At 10:40 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

I so agree with what you are saying here, it is very much how I governed my own process. And what about for those people who lack faith? Where do they turn in their dark moments? What do they do with there fear? I ache to bring them peace, and yet, I can't and I guess it is not my job either. Still, I can sneak in a prayer for them without their knowing it (unless they are reading this now, darn, busted!)


Post a Comment

<< Home