Sunday, April 29, 2012

2 Year Anniversary

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." - Bloom

Friday, April 27, was the two year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. I always hear people talk about cancer as a "journey" - but ultimately it is one walked alone. I remember trying to decide whether I should have my hemicolectomy surgery at the NJ Cancer Center or at Sloan Kettering. It was agonizing, and the only topic of family discussions for a solid two weeks.

Finally, my mom took me aside and said, "You know that you have our love and support, and we can keep going over the pros and cons of each center for as long as you need - but ultimately, when you are lying on that table, it's going to be just you and the doctor; nobody else. You can't doubt your choice."

My younger body was riddled with scars. Most of them are now more than 20 years old, and have faded so much that they are barely noticeable to the naked eye...  reduced to an existence sitting on a shelf in the hazy halls of dark memories. Once in a while, I find myself wandering those halls - remembering cigarette burns and black eyes - and marvel at my tenacity for finding a way out. I've never been ashamed of my past, nor have I ever felt sorry for myself... it is simply part of my life's story; nothing more, nothing less.

Now my body has a new scar. It's a strange alien like thumbprint above my bellybutton - where they put the surgical port in that took half my intestines and lymph nodes out. It's a reminder of how my body was taken from me for a while. I still haven't gotten it all back, but I'm making progress.

I'm eating, running outside, and even took my first spin class in 3 years. My body is starting to look healthy again - except for that alien scar. To an outsider, the scar may not seem like much - but for me, it has some strange mystical power ... making me forget the strength I once had. As Humpty Dumpty told Alice, when it comes down to it, the question is: which is to be the master - the cancer or me - that's all.


  1. Congrats on some tough movin' ons! These "anniversaries" can be curve balls: Sometimes you expect them to have power and they turn out to be a big balloon; other times they grab hold of us, dig in their heels and hold on tight until we notice them. You never really know which one you're gonna get until the day has come and gone.

    I've cited Humpty Dumpy as a symbol for the process of reconstruction after breast cancer, but I like your usage here too! Where would we be without our words?

    Happy May!