13 Sep Stillness Amidst The Shadows
On Friday, September 7, 2018 I had to have a really hard discussion with my doctor and surgeon.
I have been dealing with an on-going infection in my left breast. It began way back in 2012 and I have already undergone two lumpectomies. After my second surgery in 2015, it took me a very long time to heal, but by 2016 things were looking great. Earlier this year, the infection came back right around the incision areas of my last two surgeries. Obviously, concerned, I went in for a mammogram and ultrasound which led me down a different rabbit hole completely as lumps were discovered and later biopsied. While I tested negative for cancer (the lumps were benign), it was clear the infection had returned in full force.
It’s now been almost six months since all of this began and I have done multiple protocols: elimination diet, inflammation diet, the Gerson Therapy diet (juicing up to twelve times a day), restrictions to a vegan diet: no soy, no gluten, and obviously no dairy. Then the restrictions began on which vegetables I was able to consume (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, all nightshades, etc. had to go…) and was told absolutely no fruit. I’ve been doing sound healings, energetic clearings, reiki sessions, pranic healing, studying Louise Hays and areas that still may need emotional release. I’ve started really learning about what setting boundaries means and how that looks for me. I’ve been inundating myself with self-care. I’ve been doing regular near infrared sessions and hot compresses and castor oil packs. I’ve removed almost all of the chemicals from my home and replaced them with all natural products and/or essential oils…
Well approximately one month ago, my PCP and surgeon stated they would need to do surgery to remove the cyst and surrounding tissue. The drawback? There would be no way to save my nipple as they would essentially have to cut the blood supply which means the organ would die. When I heard that there was only an 80% chance of it NOT returning, I refused. Why would I purposely choose to deform myself when there is a 20% chance this would return?! I know for some, those seem like amazing odds – but these were the statistics I was quoted during my 1st and 2nd surgeries. Clearly, I fall in that inevitable 20%.
During this time, I was also on a heavy antibiotic protocol: Clindamycin and twice weekly shots of Rocephin. During testing, it was determined that I have built a resistance to almost all other antibiotics due to being on them for such long periods of time. You can only imagine how badly this tore my stomach up. I began experiencing horrendous stomach pain and cramps followed by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (I know, I know – TMI!) so they had no choice but to take me off of the antibiotics, started me on regular probiotics and foods that were specific in repairing gut health and healthy flora while I mostly just drank my food via whatever I could blend in my Vitamix.
Fast forward to Friday, September 7th. Without the assistance of antibiotics, the infection became out of control. I actually thought I had somehow caught a bug as I was exhausted, my energy became depleted, and I just overall felt lethargic and feverish. So I went and saw my PCP who conferenced in my surgeon. The overall synopsis is that the infection has spread and the tract has become engorged – now tunneling much deeper and wider in my breast. While they started me back on antibiotics and opened me a little wider for drainage – the overwhelming conclusion was that I definitively need surgery. And now, because I’ve waited and it has become out of control – I am looking at not only losing my nipple but also up to 2/3 of my breast. Did I mention I am also a newlywed?!
Feeling all of the feels and unsure how to process what I was feeling or even knowing exactly how or what I was feeling – On Saturday, September 8th, my husband and I decided to just check out for the day to process. Right now it feels like we have so many balls in the air and so many decisions to make and to top all of that off – we are both undergoing some heavy health issues. So we decided to gas up the truck (now aptly named Dragonfly) and head out into nature to restore our souls and to come to some conclusions and hopefully acceptance. Here is my journal entry from that wonderful day. Though I know it sounds a bit, well, sad and hopeless and depressed – know that in processing the gunk, I was also able to get clarity and release and able to finally surrender. Too many times we want to skip this part of the process because, I mean, don’t we all just want to shit rainbows and butterflies and focus on love and light? Well guess what? That’s not all we signed up for in this very human experience which can be, well, hard. I am a full spectrum human and I refuse to bypass, to shun, to shame, to fall into guilt or fear over what I am feeling. All of my emotions are valid and have a seat at my table. All need (and have the very basic human right) to be seen, to be heard, and to be felt. So while this may be uncomfortable for some – I learned a long time ago to lean into that emotion and really try and identify why it is pulling my attention. The only way out is through…
“Today I’m thinking of wide open spaces and choice and acceptance and grief. About how often my thoughts go concave reaching deep into the darkness for stillness and comfort.
And how often forest and wild and ocean – moss and stars are the only things to resuscitate my soul.
The longing of simplicity, of campfire and cave – for a sun kissed love affair tasting of salt and honey and sand and love footprinted across my heart.
How in the weakest moments I need to isolate buried deep within the womb of Gaia in order to hear my own thoughts – pulse and heartbeat listening only to birds and whispers – hushed poetry of longing and want.
How it is to have heart beating through ribs of cage until the mother drum is all I can hear as my skin begins to crawl telling of the coming of another reptilian shed.
I’m thinking of life – of love – the pursuit of happiness and how guilt and anxiety and fear are thieves of joy. About freedom and fresh air and acceptance of a soul that says, “I am tired,” whilst still knowing that even hope can grow in the darkest of places. How we need the pain to crack us wide open. Of how I once dropped an egg and how I cried even though I knew no life was present but rather, somehow thinking I had killed possibility. Of how light enters the cracks and how we guild them in gold and call ourselves “survivor.”
I’m thinking of how it would be to grow wings and bravery of falcon and how even in lush beauty, nature is cruel and how still it endures and births new life – wildflowers – and how water still flows.
I thought of how one day I parked my car to watch new hatchlings take their first flight and one came crashing into my window before hitting the ground in silence and stillness – how I sat there for hours holding this lifeless bird in the palms of my hands singing its soul across borders, dimensions, and tear stained cheeks.
I’m thinking of vines and ivy and how it grows upwards before cascading down in green leaved waterfalls. Of prisms and rainbows and how, even when I feel broken, I am still refracted light and kaleidoscope of rainbows – mosaic tile and glass mingled with iron and stone. How I am stardust and how even the lotus grows in the mud.
I’m thinking about how I identify as a woman who cannot sustain life within her womb. A woman who is about to lose 2/3 of her breast. I’m thinking about identity and who I am and who I am meant to become. I am wondering how one says ok and goodbye to a part of themselves that has been with them for 41 years. I am thinking of attachment and vanity and how this well runs so deep.
I am vision and voice and heart and sometimes feeling too much, so much, so deeply – can feel more like a curse than a blessing depending on the day.
I’m thinking of how breath catches in back of throat and how body seizes when the tears need to flow and how difficult it can be in those moments to just surrender – to let go and exhale and breathe in the prana of who I am. I’m thinking of life and death and missing and struggle and all of the ways in which we expand or contract.
I’m thinking of how I struggle and why. How I long to stretch my legs and run fast and free like the wild mustangs in flight along riverbeds. I’m thinking of the days I am more gazelle than lion and how I long to stake my place in this world. How often it feels that time is running out and the urgency to record it all in ink or on film.
About how nature readily accepts decomposition and how the dead and dying and rotting of things can actually fertilize new growth and sustain life. Of how we cling to the familiar – grasping for roots while drowning in quick sand.
I’m thinking about questions and answers and urgency. Of how tired I’ve grown of doctors, of healers, appointments, restrictions, testing, machines, and needles. How advice and protocols are beginning to bore me. About how I’ve done everything and my heart continues to be weighed against the feather and falls short each time I am told that what I am experiencing is somehow my fault. My fault. My Fault. MY FAULT. The doctors who say disease must be cut out lest it spreads and the healers asking, “What are you holding onto,” and I’m trying, trying, trying to release – to surrender, to identify, and to heal.
I think of those who have opened to me sharing their pain, their struggles, their wounds and their scars. In me they find a quiet safe space to feel, to let go, to share, to reveal, and to dwell for a period of time without questions and without answers – simply a place to speak from the heart – shedding layer by precious layer and all the masks they’ve donned because they know I’ve been there. I understand.
And how in the light of the morning, they slip back into their costumes and personas – wielding their veils and swords as armor as to not reveal too much to too many. And these ARE the ones we call Healer and others flock to them like sheep because of their appearance and projection of alright. And they dance upon their pedestals never revealing their truth. They spotlight their ego and like moths to the flame – towards the “light” others go creeping from the shadows – never understanding the light already burns deep within themselves.
In the recesses of my mind and deep in my heart, I want to scream, “Pretender. Fraud!” And I cry because I see the disappointment and shame and guilt and hear how those who are following feel like they can never add up.
Sometimes we need a torch to light the fire or a map of where to go but we will never get there by following. It’s about forging our own way and our own path out of the darkness that sets our souls ablaze. It always has been and always will be an inside job.
The entire cosmos lies within for we are stardust and dreams and perfect chaos and cosmos – hope and desire. We’ve all been given an inner compass to navigate the constellations of our soul. And yet still, we follow and we listen to the drowning voices of others and we fall to our knees in despair and dishevelled as “not enough” echos throughout our brains and seeps into the reality we’ve created for and unto ourselves.
And grief. She rolls in waves and tsunamis and heartbreak and heartache and the missing never seems to fully dissipate. And the Why and the How and life doesn’t move in a linear fashion and how hard it is sometimes to keep up. I’m thinking of identity, of DNA, of my ancestors and the lives and struggles and wins they experienced and how that has flowed in my blood for thousands of years. How I am the last Rogers and how that feels – grateful my sister has carried on our bloodline through her children and how we will all live on through their children’s children.
And how today, here in this vast place amidst trees and water and walking the edge – how I feel so alive, so unencumbered and free. How the wanderer in me wonders too often of the stars and the clouds and what lies beyond. How I flirt with depression daily but how I choose to turn my face to the sun. Of how today I dipped my feet in the amniotic fluid of Gaia and how I hugged a cypress with bare feet buried in rich soil and allowed her grandmother energy to breathe new life into tired bones. How I wondered if trees in the forest ever feel crowded like they just need space to think, to breathe, and if they ever long to grow legs and run free…”