Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Brazen


A few things I am figuring out, which I think can be summed up thusly: be brazen.

  • Refuse shame - It's more easily said than done. But with practice, I think it will be possible. Posting this photo is practice.
  • Recruit allies - The day before my mastectomy, I was dressing after my swim in the gym locker room. I was alone except for one other woman, whom I've seen often. We'd never spoken. I felt funny that the next time I see her will be post-op. She will notice, she will have thoughts. I will wonder about those thoughts. We were dressing in silence, side-by-side, when I finally opened my mouth. "I have to talk to you about something," I said, and told her about my cancer, my upcoming surgery, my nervousness about locker room dynamics. "People are very supportive here," she assured me, going on to talk about her own breast cancer, to advise me about getting through chemo, and to tell me about the swimming buddy who shaved his head in solidarity. In the middle of our conversation, the pool manager came through and chimed in about her own cancer experience. I walked out to my car smiling. You never know what will happen when you speak up.
  • Don't worry about it - David Allen says "whatever has your attention needs your intention engaged." To me, this doesn't mean push away thoughts of scary stuff. Worry happens, but it's a lonely pit-stop just shy of feeling the feelings, making plans, and taking action. Don't hang out there very long.

Coming up next:

  • New York - my brother D~ and I are driving to the city to visit our Dad today. We'll spend the night and come back tomorrow. But first, I'm going to the gym.
  • Chemotherapy - I have a check-up scheduled for Thursday. If all goes well (and I've finally put this lingering cold behind me), I'll start chemo the next day: Friday, January 7th. Yikes.
  • Blogorama - I expect my next update will be chemo-related. I'll let you know what it's like, how I'm feeling, etc. And I'll bring my camera.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Inspiration is the right label. You're amazing. This post is showing me to push through fear and shame with some things I'm tackling in my own life. Thank you.

r3 said...

You look fierce! I hope you remain inspired. You sure are inspiring.

Anonymous said...

The first thought that came into my mind when I saw this photo: you look like a warrior...and I believe that you are.
Peace~Kerry

Jo in Boston said...

My mother had breast cancer in her early forties almost 50 years ago. She was always very open about her body after her surgery--in front of me (I was four), my brother and my father. She was a woman who was interested in her personal appearance but she made it clear that she was still a beautiful woman. She was an excellent model for me in her openness in dealing with both her cancer and her surgery. You remind me of her right now.

Anonymous said...

You look strong and great.
(I have a weird scar myself - I think of it as the scar that saved my life).
Wishing you well.

Natasha said...

I've been quiet for sometime but following your progress. I went abroad for a short time and when I came back so much had changed in your life. Just wanted you to know that I think you are so strong and such an inspiration. Thinking of you, especially over the next few days when you have your chemo.

Anonymous said...

A little warning would have been nice, but it's your blog. So I'm done here. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow--just read that last post--how mean and insensitive.

Anyway, I think you look brazen and fierce. And in shape! Nice abs, girl!

I was talking to a friend this weekend who is a nurse and she said that the advances in chemo are incredible--where people are no longer debilitated by nausea, etc.

Wishing you good luck tomorrow!

Suzanne said...

You are brave and that was awesome. You certainly make your life a statement and that is the biggest compliment in the world. Keep living, fighting and being who you are. We will be right here with you!
XO

Suzanne said...

And ignoring that comment is something I should be doing but....blech to yucky "anonymous people.

You are awesome!

starrlife said...

Thanks for coming by Amy! What a small world this is! I start coming to visit you when my topic was infidelity, move to your art blog and then find that you are also on Shutter sisters. Ditto re: anonymous tyranny!! And I love this shot - head on GF! Love yourself. Hugs and support from afar.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! And good riddance to the folks who don't love your bravery and applaud you- even IF they feel a bit squeamish! Rock on, girl.

Sabrina said...

Wow Amy! I am as always amazed by your spirit, your insight, your loving ways, your determination and your ability to share it all. Stay strong and keep at it.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely beautiful and yes, brazen in the best possible way. Thank you for posting this. I agree with your previous commenters (except the fool who declared she was leaving) in saying that you look totally fierce. I haven't been reading your blog long, but I'm honored to be one of your new readers.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Amy!
you are healing well.
Certainly a great fit bod.
And a spirit full of fight.

You are really an inspiration, and incredibly beautiful to share so much

Jane

Michelle DiPoala said...

There is something so intensely beautiful about this photo that I can hardly find words to express. And it's not the scar that issues forth, it's your eyes and the depth of expression. Your writings have been a lot about "dying" but this photo is opposite of that. It's immortal. You're amazing.

Suzanne said...

I love all the great comments. This is such a fantastic statement and it is a middle finger to cancer and to living in shame. You just became even more of a rock star.

I so love this photo and that you are sharing it with us.

You do look like a warrior...keep on fighting and you look beautiful. xo I just had to come back and post again.

A, said...

Found your blog years ago after 1 of my miscarriages and have checked back in occasionally. Been sending prayers and positive thoughts your ways, but have never commented. I'll start now by saying . . . Damn girl! You ARE fierce!

Anonymous said...

Determined. You are. And what an amazing documentarian. Thank you.

Ann

Nancy said...

you look incredible! I am in awe.. truly awe!

michelehallak.com said...

I love this photo!!
Thanks so much for connecting with the PinUp Gals Project. You have captured the essence of what the Project aims to do perfectly ~ so exciting!
cancer really needs to be told where to get off, and you're doing just that, whilst looking beautiful, intriguing, fearless, fierce, inspirational and authentic!!
Please stay in touch,
I salute you,
Health always,
Michele x
www.michelehallak.com

Anonymous said...

I think it takes alot of courage to do what your doing, but thank God for those of us who are able to help others, as you have helped myself and so many others, who are to fearful to share such a beautiful part of themselves as you have.

Sonya said...

"Be brazen" Words to live by and aspire to. Thank you for being an inspiring person.

Laura said...

Thanks Amy, following you also! Love the "vlog" and wish I had a video camera sometimes. Your portrait is so real. Stay strong! I think you are corageous and a beautiful artist and writer!!

pinkunderbelly said...

Rock on! I love that you posted this, and no warnings are necessary because this is reality, people! I had never seen a mastectomy scar until I had one last year, and I applaud your brazenness and your courage to put it out there -- way to go! So proud of you.

Amy said...

Just came back and revisited this post a year and a half later and I'm so pleased to reread all these wonderful comments. Laura, I hope you got yourself a video camera! To all of you (yes even that one anonymous one so disturbed by the photo) thank you for caring about me, cheering me on, and most of all for allowing my story to influence your own story. We all rock!