Seven months ago yesterday the dreaded phone call came to tell me that I had breast cancer. In many ways it seems like yesterday, in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago.
I so appreciate your kind words. Truthfully the week remains one of the more difficult weeks that I can remember. But I am trying, trying rather to allow my tears to flow, my heart to rest and my thoughts to swarm.
So many things have changed in the past seven months ….. some obvious and other things so miniscule that you wouldn’t notice if I told you.
Yesterday I went to the plastic surgeon for my follow up. In all honesty I have only looked at my chest a few times since my surgery. I intentionally try not to look. It has become a very hard place view. Not because he did not do a good job. I am healing very well. But it is more that it is just not the same. And by looking at them I have to begin to accept that this is what I am left with.
In so many ways it breaks my heart.
This morning I am drinking a cup of coffee, one of the simplest pleasures but perhaps something I love the most in life. I remember when I lived in Honduras and we woke up to find out that the power was out and we were unable to heat water to make our coffee. The devastation 🙂
I have talked about this before but since so many of you reading are new to this space may not know of the beautiful year I lived in Central America. (if you wish to read about it, keep clicking the back button).
But this morning I wish to share about the lengths that we went to have our cup of coffee in Honduras. First things first, the water came out of a giant jug that we had to refill from the filter system at our school. (so we did not have to pay to get a refill). With our big jugs filled up in the morning before school started, at the end of the day we had to hitch a ride or wait for our driver to take us home with our giant jugs of water. Even two years later I still smile thinking about how much that simple task frustrated me. Anyway back to the coffee making…… We boiled the water to then pour it over the grounds, in a burlap filter sort of thing, held over a plastic pitcher. By the time the coffee was filtered through to the pitcher, the pitcher was slowly taking on a different shape as it melted due to the heat. But lucky for us within minutes it went from pitcher to mug, so if any of the toxic chemicals due to melting plastic caused harm surely it was small.
I miss that coffee.
Now that you have enjoyed my random tangent about coffee in Honduras, it all started because I was just looking down at my phone and started thinking about my second graders.
How they looked at me. How many times they over and over again would tell me “Miss Miss, Bonita”. They would say it as though I never heard them say it the first time, remind me that I was beautiful. Over and over again. Never mind that I wore the same clothes, or rarely showered, that my hair was pulled back and I hardly wore makeup. They sought to make sure I knew that I was beautiful. That I was loved. That I mattered. The funny thing is I look back and think how many times that is what I longed for them to know, despite my frustrations, despite my short temperament. I wanted them to know that they mattered. But all along they were the ones looking me in the eyes teaching me that.
I was their teacher and to them I was beautiful.
Today as I look at what remains of a body that was invaded with cancer, and scars that are covered with tape…… as I look at a head of spiky fuzzy hair and disappearing eyebrows. I am reminded that it is not the physical.
That my body will someday fade. It will someday be no more, but that my heart, my character, and who he crafted mce to be that is lasting. That no amount of cancer can take that away.
So on this Friday how can you look at your physical and deny it the power to define who you are?
How can you look to WHO you are and know that you matter and are known?
Happy Oaks Day to all of you. One of the very best weekends of the year. Kentucky Derby Weekend.
From my healing heart to you
***Some of my favorites from Honduras.