Breast Cancer: Embracing the Newly-Diagnosed

Avidity: Embracing the Newly-Diagnosed

Over the span of the last two and a half weeks (it seems like months!) since my breast cancer diagnosis I have met and reconnected with over a dozen amazing women who are either currently undergoing cancer treatments or have in the past. Some fifteen years ago, some last year. My hairstylist at VVegaz in The Loop  introduced me to a client of hers who has had cancer six times. Six. She looked fantastic, on the outside. Her attitude was phenomenal. None of us really know exactly what goes on inside, but those who have meandered this gig have a pretty good idea. Most have all traversed into The Third Waiting Room. The one outside the hospital. The one where you live the rest of your life. A Biochemist friend of mine from 7th grade, who had breast cancer last year, introduced me to the concept of “avidity” which is the combined strength of multiple bond interactions. She explained this biochemistry concept as it applies to women who have lived with cancer. We embrace each other to make us all stronger. She mentioned there is a group mentality to reach out to the newly diagnosed. I don’t think this happens with herpes.
newly-diagnosed

Embracing the Newly-Diagnosed

One of these women was diagnosed one day and the tumor was removed two days later. By the time I have surgery my tumor will have lived knowingly inside my torso for almost a month. That seems like an eternity. I am not an alarmist by nature, but still. When pondering different demise scenarios (would I use the candlestick in the library to commit suicide if struck by an incurable disease? Would I tell anyone if I got cancer? Would I cheat at Monopoly if I could buy Boardwalk AND Park Place?) I always imagined I would demand that anything in my body that wasn’t supposed to be there (like a tumor or a nerf toy) be removed immediately. I’m confused why I haven’t demanded that the doctors remove the tumor immediately. I feel inexplicably zen about it. It’s almost as if I need time to understand the strength that will come from having it removed and eradicated. I’m figuring out that grace doesn’t come from a single epiphany. It will intercede gradually.

Previous experiences in my life have already taught me to appreciate the small moments. The lingering kiss. The Halloween parade at my children’s school. Friends taking me out for drinks and arranging for a sitter so I didn’t have to. Some lessons are worthy of renewal.

One thought on “Breast Cancer: Embracing the Newly-Diagnosed

  1. I’m figuring out that grace doesn’t come from a single epiphany. It will intercede gradually. Previous experiences in my life have already taught me to appreciate the small moments. The lingering kiss. The Halloween parade at my children’s school. Friends taking me out for drinks and arranging for a sitter so I didn’t have to. Some lessons are worthy of renewal.

    Yes. This. Exactly.

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