Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today I am thinking about water. Partly because while on chemo, I'm supposed to drink a lot of it. I drink in order to flush the drugs out of my system. On the breast cancer support forums, over and over I read urgent messages about staying hydrated in order to keep myself regular. But also I'm thinking of sweat and tears and tides and rivers, snow and rain and evaporation and condensation. Such a precious, vital and versatile substance, contained in a glass, slipped down a throat, permeating cell walls and moss beds and ancient underground earth.

Funny how we value gold and jewels and coal and oil so much that we damage our water supply in order to get to these precious things. We can live without any of these things, but not without water. We are not bad or stupid, we humans, we are confused, wayward. We are sick. We have a lot to learn.

The connection between cancer and environmental pollutants has not escaped me. The toxicity of chemotherapy, modern medicine's best answer to this unanswerable question, is a cruel irony.

Before cancer, I was aware of these problems in society and had hoped that by being vigilant, I could keep myself clean and pure, hold myself apart from the diseases of the world. Of course this is not possible. I am of the world, and the world, with all it's imperfection, is me. And so, I must be gentle with myself, gentle with all of us. We are doing our best. And we are all vulnerable.

And so I invite you to join me in being gentle with yourself in all the ways that you feel you are not enough, not doing enough, not fixing the problems fast enough. Look around you at all your kin. We are one, all in the same watery flow.

I'll drink to that.


Panamahat said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

And, I raise my glass with you! Water cradled you at your beginning, my beautiful child.

Kerri said...

Hi, I found your amazing blog via the forum, and just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience and insights. And your mastectomy photo - it rocks. I found my lump in August at 37 years old and have a similar diagnosis to you (stage 2b, grade 3, hormone positive) except I'm also her2neu+ and BRCA2+. I had a bilateral mastectomy in November, chose not to reconstruct, and am really happy with that decision.

I'm so glad I found your blog. I'll be following along with your journey and enjoying your thoughtfulness, candor and humor along the way. Good luck with chemo - I've got nine more weeks of Taxol to go and am here chugging water right alongside you. Cheers!

Paula said...

Beautiful photos and ideas! Thank you for your many gifts to us by sharing your story and art.

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy,
You write such beautiful words.
Best wishes