Thinking about Breast Cancer

I believe that at one point or another all women think about breast cancer.  A little over a year ago a very admired and treasured friend of mind found out that she had breast cancer.  For a year before her diagnosis she tried to ignore the signs and symptoms.  The voice in her head simply started to shout and she found herself at the doctor’s office.   I remember that day very well.  Each day her and I and some other moms met and talked while we waited for our kids to get out of school.  She was always the first one there and she seemingly did more of the talking than any of us combined.  Micki is one of those women who is passionate about life, her kids and can make people laugh in spite of themselves. It just feels good to be around her.

Upon her diagnosis everything went fast.  She had her first of 18 chemo treatments within one week of being diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.  The cancer had already moved into areas of her spinal cord.  She never lost her love for life or her laughter throughout her treatment. She remained unchanged.  Strong, happy and devoted to her family.

She and I are very different women.  I probably would have crumbled into a state of emotional weakness for a while, but not Micki.  I would desperately talk to her and try to get her to do methods of energy healing.  I researched endorphin release and Reiki treatments and provided her with all the information I could find.  I bought her books and sent her web links that all revolved around how we could help to heal ourselves.  I never expected her to not get medically treated, but I wanted her to do all she could so that she would survive.  Micki quite simply believed in her doctor’s ability to heal her.  She mixed that confidence with an incredible attitude and mental state that was unwilling to allow cancer in.  Even her words did not reflect her illness.  She never said I have, or I have been diagnosed or any phrase that referred to cancer being in her body.  Her mind was already made up about this cancer issue.  It seems that she was right.  22 months later she is doing well awaiting a full reconstruction. She believes that her doctor saved her life.  I believe that she had a huge hand in it.

Micki had no genetic predisposition to cancer.  She nursed three children effortlessly.  She loves life and her family endlessly.  She was 39 years old at the time of diagnosis.  In all aspects she was an unlikely candidate to face the breast cancer battle.  So how and why did she get it? A Course In Miracles says that “every dis-ease comes from a state of unforgiveness.”  Breast issues in particular are related to our mothering, nurturing and nourishment qualities.  Could it be that unknowingly Micki brought this on herself?  I began to study and wonder…

The manifestation of our behaviors and thought patterns always comes back to us in one form or another.  As we choose to ignore a problem we create stress and stress in our body over time will always lead to illness.  You can tell a lot about a person by knowing what ails them.  Although to me, Micki is the perfect mother, with a perfect mother herself, I wonder how much she did or does to take care of herself.  Like most of us, her kids are running around in $75 shoes while she is tripping over blown out flip flops.  What message do our actions tell our minds?  Although on the surface we may feel that it is right and it is necessary to always put other peoples needs above our own I believe that what we do is create an environment within us that is not fully satisfied or feels some lack. Our faces may smile, but our hearts and spirits somehow easily fade away.  With four kids under my belt, I can say without a doubt that I often forget who I am, who I was and who I want to be.

Cancer on the metaphysical level indicates conditions that have been long enduring.  A long lasting, or deeply felt disconnection between body and mind.  It does not happen overnight.  As we mother our children we may in the beginning resist the urge to give all away, but over time most of us give in.  It becomes our job, our routine and what we feel is expected of us.  Breast Cancer then would translate into an endured period of providing ourselves with a lack of nourishment or nurturing.  Perhaps over-mothering even. What if the genetic disposition to get breast cancer may simply be because we are passing on our traits?  We teach our kids to take care of themselves, to take pride in themselves and to above all love who they are;  but we show them little by example on how to go about doing that.  It would be like telling them not to smoke while you are holding a cigarette.

Abut a year ago I began to have fiber cystic masses in one of my breasts.  Since I had a history of breast cancer in my family I was sent for ultrasounds and mammograms immediately.  All came up well.  I had a nagging sensation in the pit of my stomach that I was being given a warning, or a second chance of sorts. On my way home from the doctor’s office I thought of Micki and began to wonder what the last thing I did that was truly for me was.  I realized that I had been so busy for the last 10 years of my life taking care of my children that I had really done nothing.  Sure, I had bought some clothes or perfume, but nothing that stood out that served to reinforce my own self worth.  I had done nothing to nourish my spirit.  I looked tired and much older than I felt I should.  It was that day I decided to take up yoga.

Micki is back at her game.  Now, she keeps the image of her doctor saying Remission in her head and talks about it often.  Her hair is back, her body is still swollen and her spirit is still as strong as it ever was.  I am happy for her. She still brings the sun out from behind the clouds.  Cancer remains one word we do not acknowledge.  We cannot give it power.  I worry however that as far as she has come that quite possibly she has failed to realize what may have pre-disposed her to breast cancer.  Since her chemo, she has had to take really good care of herself to keep on living.  As she gets better and better she continues to put the needs of everyone ahead of her own.  The more she becomes able to do, the more she does. She and I joke about her taking yoga with me.  I try to explain to her that it would be just one night a week for only one hour at a time, but she refuses to go.  She makes light of it by saying she is afraid she will pass gas in class.  From where I sit I think it is because deep down she is still afraid and she doesn’t want to miss one hour with her kids.  In my heart I truly believe that this one hour missed now, might be the key to unlock the hands of the hourglass in her future.  This one hour could represent many hours ahead with not just her kids but her grandkids as well.  For now, I keep her in prayers, perhaps one day she will come with me. All is always well!

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