Yup, it’s a powerful combination these two words. When put together, it seems like it is powerful enough to bring us to tears, anger, frustration, thoughts of our mortality and so much more. I remember when my sister first got it. It was different though, for us, as we were always told from a very young age to self-examine over and over that it wasn’t really a matter of if you find a lump, it was almost like ‘when you find a lump.’
I’m not sure what process each person has had to go through with their journey but I thought it might be important to speak about mine so there is a better understanding of where I am coming from as far as breast cancer goes. You see, my aunt and grandmother on my fathers side both had breast cancer and died from it. They had it back when the technology wasn’t very developed in breast cancer. They both died at very young ages and I believe it really affected my father more than we could know.
So, as we approached the puberty stage it was coming from my father the message of checking for lumps. It was almost a mantra preached to us. I’m not unhappy with it because he made us aware. I think the only thing that it did that may have been a bit unwanted was it made me paranoid. I was waiting to find the lumps wondering when my number was going to come up. Then when my oldest sister got it we were like, oh, you got it first, let’s see what happens.
Interestingly enough none of us were tested for the genetic pre-disposition to having it. You know the BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes which are precursors for saying you have inherited the likelihood of having breast cancer. Many years later from my sisters diagnosis and, well basically, her journey i asked her about the genetic test but she said she had not gotten it done since it didn’t seem to matter, she had it!
I get it, really, I do. I would not have been bothered with it either. I guess my motivation to get the test was to see if I should wait for it, or just keep on living. This presented an interesting issue as well, just keep on living? A friend of mine asked me, ‘what does that even mean?’ Yeah, what did it mean? It made me self analyse all of it and me for that matter. Why wouldn’t I start living anyway? What was stopping me? This evolved into a lot of self-work. This work in turn became the basis of how I helped my mother get through the first part of her breast cancer battle.
I had spent many years pleading with my military doctor to put me in for the genetic test but it wasn’t until I started this self work on living that I began to transform his outlook on it. Sometimes, with the military, you gotta spell it out in money terms. I began to look at myself as a trained soldier who could basically be taken out of work due to this disease and when I spelled the cost out to him of that, compared to the cost of the test, he put me in for testing.The test came back negative for both genes. I was relieved and happy to scrap the plan that I had created for my doctor had it come back positive. My other sister said to me, ‘at least now you can stop saying ‘when’ it happens and more ‘if’ it happens,’ This was an odd statement as it seemed that she was having the same inner conflict that I had dealt with.
It was time to address that with her. I created a bit of a workbook of exercises to help figure out where that was coming from and how to ‘burn’ it away. (A term you will come to know when my book comes out, because there is an exercise that helps with that) You’ll be happy to know that I have written a book and it is in editing stages and I am looking for it to come out the middle of June. I go over several different things that help you reconnect to your body and to really honour yourself in the process.
It’s been an interesting weekend of evaluation and has been a bit overwhelming because in being questioned by my mentor it seems the reason I am feeling I am not doing anything is because I have done all of my tasks that were assigned me and need more tasks! I am now focusing on the workbook for my seminar in June. I hope you can make it to London for my first two day workshop where we will address the things that come along with having breast cancer and the internal things we need to work on. Don’t worry, this seminar won’t have you crying all weekend, it will have you feeling really good about taking proactive steps towards your path of choice. After all, we really have to stick with the saying, take what fits and leave the rest. 🙂