Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend

I was supposed to pack for a trip to San Francisco. Instead, I am packing for a trip to the hospital.

The good news is that I’ll be at the hospital for just a few hours, so a small tote will do it, with no $25 fee for checked luggage. However, that remarkable view of Yosemite Valley from the air will not be a perk of this journey.

More good news: Seventy-twelve generous people who care about me are hovering, scheduling “sitting with Pat” sessions, holding me when I cry, cooking, transporting me to pre-op and post-op tests, sending me “hang-in-there” notes and making me laugh.

Prepare to laugh.

My friend Jenny, 19, an accomplished knitter, found a pattern on line for Tit Bits -- handcrafted breast prostheses. What a concept! What vibrant colors! What whimsical styles! Check it out:

Jenny also directed me to, the related site created by a woman in Toronto. Read the stories, look at the pictures and be reminded that so much of life is funny, even when you are scared or annoyed or angry.

Maybe especially so.

Jenny plans to knit several prostheses for me -- one for daily wear, one for dress-up, one just for flashing. She is a sophomore at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studies organ – oh, and geology. She is a lovely young woman, a gifted musician and writer, intrigued with the natural world, a good cook and absolutely one of my favorite people.

(Note to Jenny’s parents: I am encouraging this new knitting project, but I’ve made her promise not to spend all her time at it. I treasure your friendship.)

Lying in bed this morning, thinking this was the last day I would spend with my left breast, I realized saying goodbye to this body part is sort of like saying goodbye to a beloved older pet. All these years, I’ve cared for it, had fun with it, respected it and expected it to be there in the morning when I woke up.

And now it is going away.

“It’s my California makeover,” I quipped the other day. Then, “Wait – does California let in people who don’t have perfect bodies?” Then I remembered I want to move to Northern California. There is a difference, as the saying goes, between Silicon Valley and Silicone Valley.

In the past eight days, I have cycled (no, that’s wrong word, because I sold the bike and bought a ticket to Opera Theatre, where I was less likely to be run over by cars) – I have moved through the five stages of grief several times a day, in sequence and in random order. They are:

• Denial
• Anger
• Bargaining
• Depression
• Acceptance

Yesterday, after a glorious one-hour massage at the J and meaningful time spent with dear friends, I settled in with acceptance. It was time. I had to. After all, I can’t go to the hospital and return home peaceful until I embrace acceptance.

And I am determined to go – and return – peaceful.

1 comment:

  1. We're sending good thoughts for a speedy recovery your way this morning.

    - Charles, Diane, Elliot, Scooter.