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November 10, 2006

After Cancer Treatment

Julieorfirer72x723_3 Julie - We say sometimes, calling upon an old adage, that we learn to fight so that we don’t have to. I suppose it brings in the concept that we will present ourselves to the world in an inviolate manner and the idea that, if attacked, we can spin away unharmed and diffuse any threat.

Until now I considered myself immune, at least until later, from grievous harm.  I protected myself with organic foods and plenty of sunshine and fresh air.  Yet the crab invaded m body through a chink in my breast, a vulnerable spot left bare in some moment of bravado.  And I learned to fight for the center balance.

It was a beautiful war.  It was the waving of flags, the carrying of banners, the bugling of horns.  It was the proud seats of the riders on their gleaming dappled bays.  The polished boots.  The burnished guns.

It was an honest game.  Full of wide shoulders and muscled calves.  Running, pushing.  Bloodied noses.  The sweet smell of sweat.  The cries of success and the oomphs of having the wind knocked out of you.  And shaking hands and hugging at the end with one eye on the scoreboard.

It was intensity.

It was all encompassing.

It was the goal of making it through.

It was palpable energy.  Invigorating.  Directed.

It was a clear path with signposts and traffic cops and lines to stay between.

It was the pleasant violence of being knocked down and bouncing back.  It was feeling used muscles.  It was using the skills I’d honed.  I’d prepared my entire life for this – building strengths and screens, learning graceful escapes and solid resistances.  I knew how to shrink away to invisible energy and how to grow tall and wide and impassable.  I recognized the powers of love and of sorrow, of touch, of tears.

It’s quiet now.  The clock is run.  I am declared the victor, the new queen of all that I can see, the winner of the jackpot.  I take home the trophy I can barely lift.  It glows in the center of my being.  But I am dull around it.  I find only partial satisfaction with my riches.  With no desire to re-enter the ring I am left to seek glory in quieter goals and lesser pains.

November 10, 2006 in Julie | Permalink


Hi Julie

just wanted to say thanks i am a new dx breast cancer nurse and have been a nurse for over 22 years i don't want to be afarid but i think i am, i want to just ride to the river and talk with the Lord but i find myself doing other things so i want have to go down to the river and have a pitty party and really be sad,then. thanks for everything.I know i can do this my surgery is tomorrow.Have a great thanksgiving u r truly a blessing and encouragement to me.


Posted by: ersenden | Nov 21, 2006 9:18:18 PM

Wow, this brought tears to my eyes, remembering how my mom fought, too.

You're a brave woman and I'm a complete stranger, but I am impossibly, hugely, big-swallow-the-sun-puffed-out proud of you!

Posted by: JustcallmeJo | Nov 17, 2006 6:52:40 AM


This is an amazing, amazing post. From the blood, sweat and tears to "Quieter goals and lesser pains..."

You're a stunning writer.

Bless you! (And Ruth, bless you and good luck with the battles you are still waging! Keep your eye on the prize, as they say!)

Posted by: Kim | Nov 14, 2006 11:28:52 AM

You know, I keep coming back to this, and I hope many take it to heart. There are many things we can do to minimize our chances of cancer. I think to say though that there was something you did or didn't do to "allow" the crab in, is to take blame for something you didn't have control over. You cannot consciously will your cells Not to divide crazily if they are going to. Chances are it had more to do with our environment we grew up in and live in which we have no control over at all. Its not "our fault" that cancer inhabits our bodies. All we can do is fight with drugs, positive thinking, surgery, radiation, and alternatives that lead to peace and a cure "for now". We remain vigilant without that vigilance taking over our lives. The idea is to live, now, and let tomorrow care for itself.
I am so happy for you that you are feeling well and beyond the treatments and all. I am working my way there, only 2 more chemos, surgery, radiation, and reconstruction next fall. Bless you!

Posted by: Ruth C. RN, CRNI | Nov 11, 2006 6:12:41 PM

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