My boobs are 5 months old. Just starting to sit up, eat solid foods, and roll over on their sides….
I’m starting to reach a point where it’s not obvious something is wrong with me physically. This past weekend, my family and I took a much needed “cancer-cation” to Camp Sunshine — one of our most favorite places on Earth. And, considering we’ve been to hell-and-back a few times, I can confidently say that “favorite place on Earth” is a justifiable claim :)
Engaged in wacky physical challenge games at different points this weekend, I held a large red bucket on top of my head, twisted my body through a hula hoop while holding hands with my partner, pretended to be a cheerleader and led my group in a rowdy stomp, and even danced the night away at a masquerade ball. Underestimating how warm it was indoors, I even had to strip down to a tight undershirt which emphasized the two perky lumps on my chest.
No one knew what I had gone through. No one knew I was recovering from a mastectomy. No one knew I was on my cancer-cation along with my daughter.
No one knew that I spent the rest of the evening in my cabin stretching, massaging, and grasping the areas above my chest and below my armpits that were warm and swollen from a day’s worth of activities. No one knew that I was all smiles in the large group setting, and turned into a snapping, angry, pain ridden lump when they stopped looking. No one knew that I spent the mornings in a hot shower trying to loosen up my muscles. And, no one knew that just 5-months ago, I was preparing for my own physical transformation.
But, the other reason why no one knew is because we were all too busy — in a great way — focusing on those who had much more pain, much more trouble, and much more heartache to endure. Camp Sunshine, just like our hospital visits, remind us all that a) it could be so much worse and b) even if it is worse, it’s still a gift to be alive.
We spent this weekend with kids who were living with sickle cell anemia. Though I had learned all about it in my junior high school biology class, truth is I never met anyone nor needed to think about this disease. But, this weekend, I saw kids in chronic pain. Kids who had to take morphine, codeine, and bundle up to protect their bodies that could quickly turn into their own enemies at any moment. And, I saw that their parents were in so much more pain — they told me that the pain of their child was bad, but knowing that they could do nothing to help their children was torture.
guilty blessed that both my daughter and I could free our bodies from pain by removing our parts — be it an eye, breasts, or ovaries. That, though the pain of surgery and living with a prosthetic eye or prosthetic breasts were difficult, our pain, effectively, gets better. Easier. For these kids, the pain is unpredictable, sometimes unmanageable, and almost always debilitating.
In our parent group, one mother quoted this Biblical verse from Mark 9:43
43And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire
So, we did. Joli and I, my two sisters, and many others, have chosen — or had the choice made for them — to remove the parts of our body that offends us (pains us) most. It certainly wasn’t easy. And it certainly was the right thing to do.
On this 5-month non-cancerversary, I ask you: “What in your life offends (pains) you? What can you do? What should you do? What support do you need to live more positively?”
We start out in life laying down. But soon, we sit, eat solid food, and learn to roll ourselves on over … and stand tall.
Peace, love, and living a more positive life,