Friday, October 16, 2009
Road Work Ahead
Two days ago, early in the afternoon, I was paging through the November issue of “O” Magazine. As I sat reading, I dunked homemade chocolate chip cookies in milk -- admittedly aberrant behavior, but justified under the circumstances.
In an essay by Uwem Akpan (the author of “Say You’re One of Them”), I came to this sentence:
“It’s like what Rilke says: ‘Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.’ ”
I went to the computer to see how Rainer Maria Rilke followed that amazing line. Here it is:
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.”
What a welcome reminder.
In 1995, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Since then I have faithfully kept my annual mammogram appointment. A week ago, a smudge appeared on the mammogram, a “distortion,” indicating a change in the tissue of my left breast. I had a biopsy.
Just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday, my radiation oncologist called to say I have cancer again. The doctor described it as a “favorable” cancer. The lump is small – much smaller than last time. It is a low-grade cancer. It is not a recurrence, but a new cancer. I have met with a surgeon and scheduled a mastectomy.
Terror is back. Surely beauty will follow.
This is a detour on my journey to San Francisco, where the Pacific Ocean waits for me. After some road repairs, I will keep going.