January was a rough month. I had so much personal turmoil, that I literally wanted to hide under the covers. I realize I wasn't the only one. Was it Mercury in Retrograde or that old Uranus/Pluto square stirring up shit? Who knows, but I think collectively we were all going though our own private little hell.
I had an old demon crop up just before January closed. I had a mammogram earlier in the month, which came up normal, but my ultrasound picked up a questionable area on my treated breast. My doctor didn't think much of it, and scheduled a follow-up visit on the 29th. Well, during the visit, I was told that the questionable area looked to be a cyst. This is not unusual for me, as I have lumpy breasts. I believe that is a technical term. So, we did a little needle probing. If it was indeed a fluid filled cyst, the needle would pop the sucker and it would drain. We numbed up the area, which is quite a painful process, especially after radiation treatment. I did not know this, so was very surprised by the overall pain. I watched as my doctor did her best to pop the cyst, and immediately felt panic set in, as I realized the little fucker wasn't cooperating. I was then told that because it didn't cooperate, I had to have a biopsy. That dreaded word. My brain immediately went into a tailspin. I began to imagine 2015 all over again, with treatments, hair loss, pain, the burden on my body and my family. I felt like I was going to throw-up. What made matters worse was the fact that the biopsy had to wait until later that afternoon, as three patients were waiting to be seen by my doctor. So, I had to come back and endure the pain all over again. Now, I know never to do a needle probe unless there is time for a biopsy as well. At any rate, I called my husband and through my tears managed to tell him what was going on. He rushed home and we both came back later that afternoon for the biopsy. It was in a word, horrible. The pain was even worse, because I had endured so much earlier that morning. I had even numbed the area with a topical beforehand, which proved fruitless, as most of the pain is felt internally. After the extraction, we were told it would be up to a week before we heard any news. As you can imagine, the waiting is always the most difficult. While I had "lost my shit" as I like to say, earlier that day, I vowed to not dwell in the past. I asked my angels, guides and Divine Universe, to please give me the strength to handle whatever the results were. I wasn't going to make bargains about eating better and behaving better. I just asked that I handle whatever I needed to with grace and strength.
Being alone is the most difficult. When everyone goes back to school and work, and the house becomes quiet, the mind loves to pull you into the darkest places. But, it wasn't just my waking hours, I was having horrible nightmares. I had dreams about vampires, doing battle with them and enduring horrible pain that I actually felt in my sleep. They were invading my home. Yes, I realize what these dreams were about. The vampires were my thoughts, my demons and I was fighting them. I have been fighting them in my waking hours too. When I was going though treatment, I did what I had to do to get though. I meditated. I maintained positive thoughts as often as possible. I smiled though many tears. I was never angry, and at for the most part, I did not allow myself to get overwhelmed by fear or emotions that were in any way negative. After everything was said an done, months afterward, I found myself processing all of those emotions that I refused to acknowledge. They came to the surface at the strangest times. I would panic and cry uncontrollably. Every little ache and pain was a sign of the cancers return. Every blood test that was out of range was a clear indicator that something was wrong. I began to blame myself. Was I eating too much sugar? Did I have one too many drinks? Was I too stationary? It was especially difficult on the anniversary date of my diagnosis. So, you can imagine how I felt when I had to endure another biopsy. I thought, I'm not ready!! I haven't even processed everything I had just gone though? It's not fair! I became angry! Finally, I became angry!
Then, I stopped being angry and just listened. I stopped feeling fearful and just allowed myself to breathe. It's benign. I said this over and over.
I began to paint. I had spotted a beautiful pendant by a woman named Anna Kiranova. It spoke to me very deeply. It became something of a talisman for me. I have a dove tattoo that I had done when I was 25. My husband always called me dove. I knew I had to paint what it was I was feeling based on this pendant. I contacted her and showed her my work in progress and was met with warmth and best wishes. The image below is the painting. When I look at this painting, I see so many elements of myself. The dove is me protecting my heart. My heart is bleeding out of me and this is all my fear and emotion. It is good and it is bad. It is light and dark. My heart is protected by gold, which is an armor of sorts. I can't help but think of the Japanese technique called Wabi-Sabi, where cracks in broken pottery are filled with gold to make them new again. I've often wanted to fill my scars with gold. If you look closely you will see a black dove figure inside the white dove. This is the shadow self. This piece means a great deal to me, probably more than any piece I have ever painted, because it conveys everything I want and fear to say, so much more than I can possibly put down on paper.
The day I finished it was the day I heard from my doctor that the cyst was benign. I'm relieved. I'm grateful. I am also aware that this journey will be a long one, and all I can do is take it one step at a time with strength and grace.