Here Comes The Rain Again

As I’m writing I’m watching a storm come over the mountains. The clouds are messy and dark and the rain is already starting to test itself out by falling in sporadic little droplets. The wind is picking up, scattering dust and ash and tall dry grass skyward. The powerful gusts of wind stoke the open fire I’ve made and rattle the walls of the rock and metal shelter I’m sitting under. It’s Fall and change is everywhere. I am no exception, I guess.

The panic attacks started again two days ago. Right around the time I finished up with my other distracting duties and turned to face the double mastectomy that was looming in just over a week. On November 2, I will undergo surgery that will remove both breasts and several lymph nodes, and that will leave me with temporary (but uncomforable) implants, scars, drains, and pain. I am afraid of all of these things. 

I am afraid of things known and unknown. I know it will be painful, but how bad? I know I will have to sleep awkwardly and upright, but for how long? I know my range of motion will be seriously compromised, that my arms will feel pinned to my sides, but for how long and will I regain full range of motion? I know my breasts will look different, that the nerves will be damaged, but to what extent? I know they will be hunting for cancer, but will they find any? I know I will not be the same person after, as I am before, and I feel that time slipping away from me like sand between my tight grasp. I’m not ready for more loss, I think to myself. But it’s coming. Just like this storm.

And here’s the real heart of the issue. The changes I am about to face are so much more feeling and grieving than they are physical. Whether I like it or not, my breasts are part of my identity. They are part of my womanhood, my sexuality, my physique, my motherhood. I have pushed them up to feel sexy, bound them down to be active, figured out what to do with them when they first arrived, and fed two children with them. I feel a sharp pain when I think that I will never nurse a baby again. That is a deep deep loss. My breasts will forever wear the scars of this battle, and somehow I have to make peace with that.

And here’s how I’m doing that. I’m honoring the pain. No, my body will not be the same. Yes, I will close a chapter in my life that I cannot reopen. Yes, I am about to walk in to some hurt. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s remember that pain is just pain. It doesn’t define me, it doesn’t rearrange me, it doesn’t control me. Pain has a way of showing us what else hurts, what other cracks we have in our hearts and souls that still haven’t healed. I know I’m not ready to give up nursing because I still feel so very sad over what was lost to post-partum depression with my oldest. But if I slow myself down enough, I recognize that there is time to heal these wounds, and I don’t have to give each and every one of them an audience right this moment.

So while I’m going to recognize the pain, I’m not going to hand it the wheel. I’m still captain of this ship, and I still want to direct where we are going. I’m going to fake it a little even, and tell myself that I am okay, and whole, and sturdy even when I know I’m not quite there yet. Because how else do you get there if you’re not bushwhacking through the forest and creating a new path?

So yes, the storm is coming. Yes, my insides are rattling, but I was built to sustain this. I was designed to handle the hurt. And in the end, hurt is okay. We all carry it, we all come crashing into it at some time or another. So I will reinforce my heart, sturdy my soul, and move into it. I have what I need to survive…and maybe even thrive a little bit.

Give ‘Em Hell. 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Phyllis Mosby says:

    Thinking of you always… Like you always say “Go give them Hell” You have so many on your side… Thanks for updating us…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Hammond says:

    Dearest Katie, AKA “Warrior Princess”…I cannot begin to know what you are feeling right now…my cancer treatment allowed me to keep both breasts…albeit “a boob and a half”…still, I did not have to face the same battle as you….I think I can still say, honestly, that the fear of the unknown is, by far, the worst….you’ll be able to manage pain and constraint issues just fine…I have no doubts…but the terror in your heart and head, ahh, that is the real battle….and I want to tell you that it is ok to feel the panic, it’s ok to cry for the very real loss you are experiencing and it’s ok to be vunerable…right now, you don’t need to be strong….indeed, it is important to let others be strong for YOU right now….be selfish and do whatever you need to do to heal and get well….we all know, you’ll be back campaigning, supporting and advocating for others soon enough….for now, resolve to take care of YOU, first and foremost….everything else can wait….be gentle with thyself, Warrior Princess…and live to fight another day! And, always know, how very much you’re loved. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Nolan says:

    Katie,
    I started following you after a friend shared your post about starting a gratitude journal. My friend and I are trying to focus our days on positivity. Reading your posts bring me Joy and help me contemplate every day things a little differently. I wish you peace and pray for you and your family.
    Barbara N

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I love that you are reading! Welcome!

      Like

  4. contactflora says:

    Give em hell Katie. I feel like u are going into an actual battle field and you are doing so with great courage. Godspeed. Sending u lots of support!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Louise Rowan says:

    You are the most insightful, courageous, motivating woman I have not met.

    I hope knowing that you aren’t going forward without a HUGE team is comforting 💕

    GIVE EM HELL!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! Thank you so so much!

      Like

  6. Katie — Oh how much I love to read your postings. You are wise and so very strong. And you make me think about and question such fundamental matters. I think about you so often and I send love daily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. You are so sweet and are so kind to my soul. Love to you!

      Like

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