Where to start?
Maybe with this tale. I thought of it a couple of times in the last days:
"Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, "May I have permission to go into battle with you?" Fear said, "Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission." Then the young warrior said, "How can I defeat you?" Fear replied, "My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power." In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear."
— Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
So, yes: fear.
The photo above, it is from last week. From the day before I went to the clinic for some examinations to find out more about the nature of the knot in my breast. Back then, the take after the ultrasound and x-ray was: it seems to be on the good side of things. Can be operated without a hospital stay. Not something you wish for, but no need to get deeply afraid.
It was a sunny day, and I went for a walk through the town, and also visited a small exhbition in the town hall. That's where I saw the image above: a 2-layer photo that combines inner and outer image. And by taking its picture, it turned into 4 layers, with the room and with me reflected in it, too. (the woman in the dress - who looks a bit like a personification of Fate now, is the original photo, i'm the shadow reflection)
That was last week. 4 days later, the results of the biopsy arrived. And things turned upside down: unfortunately, the knot is on the other side of good. It's cancerous. And they need to do more checks. To see. To prepare for the operation.
This image is from the day of examinations that followed then. It's from a place I havn't been to before: the "Nuklearmedizin." There, I received an injection, which makes it possible to do a full body-scan. It also makes you a tiny bit radioactive for a day.
It's fascinating, all the things medicine is able to do. I could watch my heart beating. And saw my own skeleton. The good news was: there were no irritations to be seen on the scan. No other spots. So things are still looking kind of bright, relatively speaking.
They also were able to shift the operation day. Which means, I will go to hospital on Tuesday already, with the operation scheduled for Wednesday.
It's a strange time of both getting used to the facts, learning more about cancer, preparing for the time away, telling family and friends, and trying to find my way through those days. And having the one and other conversation with hope and with fear.
Here's another photo of that sunny town walk:
The closed door beyond the shadow and ligth, it felt like a symbol for the situation: not knowing the answers yet. And wondering if I would want to know the future. This dream of mankind, to have a crystal ball, to be able to look into the days to come - situations like this make you wonder if that really would be such a good idea.
Now, for a bakery walk. And hopefully, for a sunny sunday.
Wish me luck.
PS: not sure when I can update the blog. the plan right now is to not have too much of a plan, and take the days one by one. on the other hand, writing about it is a way to reflect and process the situation. also, i don't want to let this turn me silent. and i am grateful for all the others who blogged during their time of going through cancer. it helps to read their notes and blogs, and get an idea of the things and especially the emotions that pop up, and how others learned to deal with them
..and now i found the right hashtag on twitter: #cancer leads to all kind of horoscopes, which sound weird in this situation: "Cancer likes to really get to know you, by for example, staying up all night talking."