Reception Room at University of California, San Diego hospital

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor

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01.06.05
First Day of Chemo

Today is the first day of many days to come where tubes will be connected to my arm, and a delicate poison sweet something will pass through my body to kill the possibility of fast growing cells. A fast growing cell has many faces. It is a cancer cell. It is also the hair on your head and the lining within the stomach and digestive track. That is why, hopefully, any cancer traversing through a person’s blood system will be killed by the application of chemo and along with it the hair on your head and the lining of your stomach. Sweet something is what I call it. That sweet something will be something in no time, letting itself be known better than any lover’s arm wrapped tightly around one’s waist. I cannot lie and tell you that I hold no fear. I am afraid of the unknown, the side effects, the limbo in which I will live for the next four months of my life. How will I change because of this? Who will I become during this time? Will I lie in my bed, face up, counting the spots on the ceiling or will I see visions of my life and how it should be lived from this moment on? My physical therapist is a Buddhist. He treats me twice a week. His hands rub cream on my back while we discuss “fear.” He tells me that fear should be acknowledged—to not shove the thought away but rather look at fear directly and ask by choice for a place of acceptance. It has taken me days to understand, conceptually, how to ask, and I am still not sure if I understand. So today I ask My Fear to walk with me, our hands clasped like soldiers in conflict. Please sit with me in the light of a stark desert and blow your gentle winds in the direction of the northern star so the twinkle of sweet something will only be a twinkle and not the big bang of celestial beginnings,
all demanding, mystical, and overbearing.

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