Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Swimming four days after chemo. More of my videos here.

Whatever you're going through, I have three words for you: support support support. It makes all the difference.

For this particularly challenging chemo-aftermath week, I have lined up friends and family bringing food and love and DVDs and conversation, co-counselors coming by with shoulders to cry on, my husband taking the week off to support me in whatever way we decide makes sense in the moment. I asked for all of this (though I think some of it would have come anyway), and I did have to think a lot about what I wanted and who to ask. And, yes, I feel some embarrassment at the riches that have tumbled forth.

Funny how in the midst of crisis, it can still feel embarrassing to have people care about us! As if we don't deserve it, when of course every one of us deserves to be cared for, crisis or not.

Another strange thing: Though physically, I would like nothing more than to stuff my innards with cotton batting in hopes that it would absorb the indescribable acid-lava-pit discomfort in my guts, on the emotional front, my awareness extends to encompass a new layer of aftershock about the mastectomy.

When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror now before or after a shower, I am brought up short by this pale, hairless, scarred, thinner version of myself. There's a sense of disbelief, of devastation, a loss of innocence. I don't recognize the new me, not entirely.

It's been just three months since the surgery, four since I found out I had breast cancer. Not much time. I wonder how I'll be feeling three months from now? A year? Two years?

Hopefully there will be a long road ahead, and many vantage points along the way.

In the meantime, there is now.


Anonymous said...

Funny. Today I went with a friend to put her beloved cat down. On route, my mantra was, "Be here now." I wanted to be present every moment.

And then your post, "Now." First of all, nice low stroke count on your Freestyle. And a 50 fly--anytime but post-chemo? Inspirational--cancer or not. I do not know, am not in your shoes, but it takes time accept changes in our physical selves--even the minor, subtle ones--so one as shocking and sudden as yours, well, it will take time. If it helps any, you look great in your suit and I couldn't tell a thing.

Anonymous said...

you are a rock.. a diamond even: sparkling with strength. Hope I can see you maybe thursday sometime. I'll drop you a note. missed monday terribly! kisses to you and millie and major hugs for all you are doing with strength and honesty. xo

Anonymous said...

I continue to be amazed by you. Your perspective through all of this is incredible. It never wavers.

And the way you describe things. I've never read or heard anyone describe what it REALLY feels inside one's body after a chemo treatment. I hope you don't mind if I find it fascinating.

You see pale, hairless, scarred. I see brave, honest, unapologetically real.

Keep on keeping on.


Anonymous said...

Dear Amy,

G & S here checking in from Boston. Congrats on finishing your last chemo treatment-- we hope and pray it is your last chemo EVER. We hope today and tomorrow are bearable and are sending you strength. We are sending our love to you, Jim, and your family... although cancer physically lives in one person, we are acutely aware of the impact cancer, and this journey, has on a community of people and that everyone involved needs love, support, and help along the way. We are sending love and supporting you all from afar.

Much Love, G and S