Tuesday, November 05, 2013

One Year Ago Today

I heard the horrible, life-altering, unexpected news: kanswer. What??? Me??? Suddenly I was pulled out of my regular homeschooling, homemaking life and tossed into the midst of a whirlwind of fear, worry, more fear, determination, hope, doubt, tenderness, encouragement, terror, and also an outpouring of love that blew my mind.

I was so confident that they would say I didn't have kanswer that I had a text message pre-written on my phone. I had already entered a long list of names of recipients of that text and was ready to push the send button as soon as we heard the good news. After the doctor read us the results, I tearfully deleted that original message and had to write a completely different text. My son was in the room with us and he burst into tears right along with me. My husband left the room to call my daughter and give her the news. She later reported that after he said, "We didn't get the news we hoped to hear," she didn't remember anything else he said. I felt a similar sensation: once the doctor said, "We found kanswer," the rest of the conversation sounded more like Korean than English. I felt the planet of my life shift on its axis. It felt like the whole world started to rotate in the opposite direction around the sun.

All day today, I've been thinking about the past year. How hard it has been. How empowering it has been. Surprising. Beautiful. Poetic. Love-filled. Tear-drenched. Laughter-inducing. Painful. Stark. Faith-deepening. I have reread the journal I began one year ago today. The journal of that first month post-diagnosis is full of questions, research, sketches, poetry, quotes, emails, notes on scans, tests, and appointments - and a lot of asking myself, my husband, and my God, "what the fuck?" A lot of that.

All day today, I've been thinking about ways to write this story. To share this story. Should I write more blog posts about kanswer? Should I write a book? Should I write articles? Should I stop talking and writing about it all together and just get on with living my life? Should I do all of this? Should I have so many "shoulds" about this chapter of my life?

As this day comes to an end, I don't have any answers to those questions. I want to write a book, but am not exactly sure how to go about it. I want to write more blogs about it, but I am also feeling a need to begin to tell different stories, new stories, deeper stories. I want to move on to new topics and stories, but every time I look in the mirror, I see this short-haired, flat-chested, post-kanswer story staring back at me. And every day I am increasingly aware that there is more to uncover and discover about this year and this kanswer journey.

One thing I know for sure is this: I am soooooooo glad to be alive, to be healthy, to be free, to be able to look back at this year and see all the ways in which courage won. Joy won. Peace won. Life won. Love won.

I remember this woman, grieving and laughing a few days after the diagnosis,
- with all of her hair and both of her breasts.
I still don't know who put that balloon on our mailbox,
but it was the first of many ways in which love has shown up
in my life during the past year.

One year ago today I wasn't sure I would make it to today.
Thankfully, joyfully, hope-fully, here I am. 
Grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.

PS. Check out this video of a woman in the OR before her double mastectomy. This took place earlier today. Wow!!!
Thanks, Launa, for the link. Thanks also for your friendship and love.

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