In February of last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In all my years of parenting, I learned to deal with challenges head on — to not get overly emotional, stick to the needs of the present. So, I scheduled the surgery and put it on the calendar like it was a dentist appointment. I assured my family this was “no big deal.” Losing a breast was nothing, certainly not like a leg or an arm. I did not want reconstruction — I had no interest, whatsoever. My daughter, Deidra, worried that I wasn’t giving this enough thought, that I would be sorry. I inwardly laughed at the suggestion — I knew myself, there would be no regret.
Four months later, our family had the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in Costa Rica. While we were there, my son began receiving alternative medical treatment and because he hadn’t yet finished the treatment when the month was up, it was decided that he and I would stay on for an additional month.
My attention no longer diverted by the daily needs of a family, I found myself giving great thought to my cancer diagnosis and treatment a few months earlier. I was shocked at the intensity of the emotions that surfaced. In my attempt to shield my family, I had denied myself permission to “feel.” This was my first indication that *I* was lost.