This time last year while having my morning shower as my hand passed over my left breast, I became aware of a small lump and more or less knew that this lump was cancerous. It was a small lump but nevertheless significant. I have not before ever wondered what a lump in my breast may feel like and yet in that moment there was an inner knowing.
I phoned the doctor’s surgery and spoke to the doctor and described what I had found. I was confirmed when, like me, the doctor felt this was a lump that required attention. Following this, I received a phone call from the breast care clinic in the late afternoon and within a week or so I had an appointment.
It was a strange situation – on the one hand there was no way I wanted to be diagnosed with cancer and yet at the same time I felt an acceptance in what was taking place as this felt like an instance where I was being offered another opportunity to deepen the way I lived life.
The flow in which things were unfolding felt very amazing as we were in the midst of a pandemic and one was constantly hearing about the delays for appointments due to the overwhelming number of people who had been admitted to hospital with suspected Covid 19.
When you are diagnosed with cancer it feels very much as though you can become completely enveloped in a world dominated by cancer, the outcome and the effect that it can have on those around you.
I was very aware from the beginning that I did not want it to become a drama. I confided in a close friend who herself had undergone surgery for breast cancer. With her walking by my side, I felt deeply held and she became my constant companion each time I visited the hospital.
This was not the first time that I had been called to slow down, and to deepen into my stillness, each time the message became stronger. This time I was being offered to go deeper with the understanding of how I had lived life in a disregarding way. What do I mean by this you may wonder?
I began attending presentations by Universal Medicine about eleven years ago and I would often hear about self-care and self-love and began to slowly understand that the way I lived was not supporting my body to be healthy. This situation was presenting yet another step on the path of self-care.
All my life I had a sense of urgency in the way I moved my body as though I was driven by something outside of me. At the same time, I made life a struggle and rather than opting for simplicity I was inclined to make life complicated. I recall people commenting on how I made a very thorough job of whatever I did, and I looked on this as a compliment not realising that I was hooked into seeking praise and consequently pushed my body way beyond a healthy capacity. If I set myself a task, I would make sure I finished it without any consideration of how my body felt afterwards. At no time did I stop and ask my body how it felt – I would simply collapse into bed at the end of the day not aware that to sleep because of exhaustion was not having a ‘good night’s rest’ but abuse to my body.
As you see I had a lot to learn … being open to learning makes life expansive. We are empowered to alter our steps and embrace each opportunity as it is presented rather than considering ourselves a victim of what happens to us in life.
Being accompanied by my friend to the hospital for testing made so much difference and I am now understanding that I miss an opportunity when I insist on doing things on my own. I feel that this action in particular supported me to remain steady in my body and not allow my head to overtake me, as is quite often the case when we are anxious.
The hospital that I attended was warm and welcoming and the staff amazing. I felt cared for and nurtured. There was a sense of at-one-ness when I met the woman who was to be my Breastcare Nurse, as she had played the same role with the friend who was accompanying me.
Shortly after that, I returned to the hospital to receive my results and at this point I decided to have a mastectomy as the cancer had been confirmed as Invasive Lobular Cancer Grade 2. As well as the lump there was a shadow on the side of the breast near my sternum and this was my reason for deciding on a mastectomy rather than a simple lumpectomy. My feelings were to clear my body of all the cancer.
The mastectomy was a very straightforward operation where I was kept in overnight and returned home the following day. Once again, the staff at the hospital were all very supportive and I went home feeling cared for.
The healing process was further supported knowing that I had friends around me who would cook meals and generally be there for me. Being surrounded by people who are steady and still allowed a beautiful surrender in my body knowing I was held in love.
It’s amazing how everything in life will flow if we allow it. Although we may need to take the practical steps that are required, we can understand that there is a bigger plan at work. I have noticed that life flows easily when I get myself out of the way and trust that God in the great Universe holds each of us tenderly and lovingly.
Susan L, UK
You can read Part 2 of Susan's article here: Telling the Family
If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read:
Illness as a Blessing