This week I am reminded, again, that I am a breast cancer patient. The doctor’s appointment yesterday. His empathy and understanding. I can hear my words echo in his small office, I don’t really know where they came from. I don’t cry but I can hear a lot of emotion in my voice. His honesty when he tells me that other cancer patients express similar feelings after treatment, about anger and sadness and grief. And that they can last a long time, maybe a year, he says.
I am drawn back to Audre Lorde’s words in The Cancer Journals. She wrote this book in 1980 after her breast cancer diagnosis and mastectomy. She writes so well about her pain, her loss, and her anger. She has been, and continues to be an enormous inspiration to me.
‘I have found that battling despair does not mean closing my eyes to the enormity of the tasks of effecting change, nor ignoring the strength and the barbarity of the forces aligned against us.’
I recognise myself in her words. My desire for change, change in how we view breast cancer, serious not trivial; how I want it to be a disease that we prevent.
‘It means for me, knowing that my work is part of a continuum of women’s work, of reclaiming this earth and our power, and knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others.
It means trout fishing on the Missisquoi River at dawn and tasting the green silence, and knowing that this beauty too is mine forever.’
I think I want to find myself doing more of whatever my own version of trout fishing is, and tasting green silence.