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February 2, 2014

Out of the darkness...

At last, I feel as though I have found a moment of clarity. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been experiencing a host of emotions as I struggle to find some footing and balance while processing the resurgence of cancer. Most significantly, I have been detached and introspective. The realization that presented and provided an opportunity to go deeper was this:

I want others to extend me, the same compassion,
love, and care that I extend, WITHOUT an invitation.

This was only the beginning. The realization caught me off guard … like, what the what? When I see that someone is having a challenging or emotional day, I make an effort to connect with them somehow. I may write a note, send an email, text, call, or provide a compliment – anything to offer a touch of positivity into their life. I thought, yes, I want to be the recipient of this compassion…like “Hey, over here….my turn, my turn.” Awe and there it was…I AM the recipient, it just looks a little different.
Deep release of breath
                                           Smile across my face
                             Peace falls over my mind, body, and spirit

Compassionate individuals who extend their support, care, and love surround me.

While in Texas, I was hosted by one of my baby brothers and his family. It was filled with good conversation, enormous amounts of laughter, priceless interactions too great to count, visits with Texas kiddos, dinner with a soul sista’, outings with my nieces and nephew, visits with my practitioners, and a trip to Austin, with my niece as my passenger, to see my son Carlos. The car ride up to Austin with my darling 15-year-old niece, I will forever hold close to my heart. I had the unique opportunity to heal my inner child during my stay in Texas – those moments will remain private. The heart-to-heart talks I had with friends and family were good for my soul.

The Texas trip did not yield the result I was hoping for – the mass is cancerous and there is lymph node involvement. After meeting with the breast clinic and cancer surgeon, their recommendation was the standard – biopsy, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. What I was considering was removing my breast implants, undergoing a lumpectomy to remove the mass, and leaving the affected lymph node alone. I met with a breast reconstructive surgeon only to learn that removing implants is a) not covered by insurance and b) extremely traumatic to the breast tissue. It would not be wise to move forward with the removal – who knew a surgeon would have to scrape away all the scar tissue that encapsulates the implant in order to access the new blood supply in order to heal. You then need to have a breast lift otherwise; you are left with a concave looking breast complete with droopy skin hanging off the cliff. As I walked out of that surgeons office, I thought well shit… just when I thought I had a plan, it gets derailed!

I have decided that I will have a lumpectomy to remove the mass and at the same time, undergo reconstructive surgery to add symmetry to my breasts. In the next two weeks, I am looking into undergoing the procedure in Oregon as opposed to Texas. I have a plan for traveling back to Texas and a plan for Oregon – now I wait to see what the best option is for me. I am trying to schedule this procedure around graduate school too – I have a plan for that as well.

Sunday January 26, I started a 35 Punchakarma – Developed thousands of years ago in India, punchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being. It involves eating kitchari daily for all meals – although I am eating oatmeal for breakfast, daily enemas of ghee (clarified butter) and dashamula tea, daily self-abhyanga, shirodhara, and much more. Keeping up with this regiment is challenging but is my primary focus. My husband has joined me to the extent of eating kitchari daily. I have invited him to join in the enema portion or the routine … he declined! LOL! Something incredibly funny has occurred twice this week. I am lying in bed and feeling a bit gassy – as I pass gas, I realize I have not only released gas…I released a huge ghee *splat* into my panties! Butter me up! While the dashamula tea releases your bowels immediately, the ghee can be held in your booty all night – just watch out for the accidental leakage or splat of ghee. Thinking Depends may be the wisest choice along with carrying an extra set of clothing.

I remain steadfast in being successful in my graduate school program. I am blessed that my parents are graciously assisting financially with the shortfall between student loans and tuition/book fees. Although it is challenging to focus at times, I am hanging in there. I am fortunate that I have supportive classmates that do not mind if I stare out a window for a couple hours, cry, laugh, get lost in my thoughts, or throw out random stories. The extension of support is welcome and much needed.

My boys were so sweet this week. I was drawing a bath and went in to turn off the water, this is what I found. So sweet! I remarked to my husband, “Now this is how I taught my boys to treat their mama”

This cancer resurgence weighs heavy on my mind, yet it does not define me.

My daily affirmations reads: Miracles happen in my life every day. I am counting on this!

Today, I am hopeful~