In October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness I will post a daily blog with a reflection about breast cancer. The reflections will stem from something in the play. (All quoted lines are text from the play.)
Day 9: The Conversation. This part did not make it into the play. After the diagnosis and the first tranche of “bad news” – that is the doctor telling us that instead of “just old scar tissue” that the breast tissue he removed for biopsy was full of cancer and that “there were no margins.” Stage 3 breast cancer because of the size of the tissue with cancer, the fact that there were no margins, and because there was both ductile and invasive breast cancer. As I say in the show: “Stage three cubed.” We scheduled Susan’s double mastectomy and then sat down to talk. We did NOT talk explicitly about the possibility of death. That conversation too did not come until much later, indeed a few years later. This conversation assumed the possibility of death. “What should we do now?” We had friends who dealt with similar news by quitting their jobs and taking off for their “last hurrah” – so to speak. Traveling to all the places they never traveled, doing all the things on their ‘bucket list’ and rushing into what they thought was an abbreviated life span. We don’t have a bucket list. Our conversation came to an entirely different conclusion. “If we are unhappy with our lives then let us change what we are unhappy with, not because one of us might not live as long as we hopped.” We concluded that our lives were full and rich and that if anything, we would want to be closer to our community and friends, not running off to solitary personal experiences.
Stat of the Day: Less than 2% of the women who are 40 years old now will get breast cancer in the next 10 years according to the Center of Disease Control.
Task of the Day: This is not an easy task. It might even be scary. Do an inventory. In business it is sometimes called “Plus, Delta” analysis. It is just about making sure that you and your loved ones are living today the life you want to live. This can be sensitive and difficult for some people. So also be prepared to seek counseling before doing anything “dramatic.” Life is never perfect. There are always “deltas” and there are always “pluses.” The idea is to be Aware enough that life can change so that you are living the life you want to live today.
Resource of the Day: Consider a Life Coach. These are like Executive Coaches in business, except they are for people who are trying to be the best CEO of their own lives. It is a growing field and can be really helpful in making sure each day is being lived to its fullest. Here is a good link about life coaching and how to find one and good advice on how to find one in your community.