grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Fifteen

on July 15, 2015

I remember giving myself the nickname ‘FrankenBooby’.
It was sometime around the beginning of October 2012.
(I wrote this Caringbridge journal update unveiling the name.)
I did it tongue-in-cheek, of course.
In an effort to lighten the mood.

Sometime later, I remember describing my New Chest as something that closely resembled a Barbie doll that got left too near a candle.
Again, I said it in order to lighten the mood.
To make myself – and others – a bit more comfortable through humor.

Overall, that’s a good thing.
My habit, my gift of using humor to lift spirits, to brighten dark times, to ease tension.
It’s long been a tool in my Survival Kit.
Even before cancer.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky for me, though.
When I do that – when I make fun of my body, of what it’s been through, of how it’s healing – am I honoring it in the best way I can?
Am I celebrating it for the strength it’s shown?
Am I praising it for the power it’s proved?

I’m not sure.
That’s why it’s tricky.
Because I want to do those things – honor it, celebrate it, praise it – AND I want to make people (myself included) laugh about the scary things it’s been through.
You know?
Like how when you go to a scary movie and you scream when the madman pops out of the closet, but then you laugh?
Honestly, cancer was the Madman in My Closet.
It jumped out at me when I least expected it.
I screamed.
And then I laughed.

As I sit with these questions, here’s what I think I’ll do.
I’ll make a promise to myself that every time I crack a joke about my After-Cancer Body, I’ll offer up a silent, but holy prayer of thanks for it.
Just so it knows that I’m grateful.

Maybe you have a habit of tossing around one-liners about your body, too?
Maybe you want to make sure you’re mindfully honoring it for all it’s brought you through, just like me? (Whether or not your ‘all’ is cancer doesn’t matter a hill of beans. It’s been through stuff.)
Maybe you want to send a prayer of thanks as the laughter fades.

Together, we can spread laughter and thanks for our strong, scarred, beautiful bodies.
It could be revolutionary.


November 7, 2012
Praise be to God that there was no ‘catastrophic event’ related to The Right Side last week, and I am happy to report that Cyndy was able to re-start the filling process on Monday. Thanks so very much for the prayers and happy vibes you sent this way!! I truly, ooly believe that the power of your petitions shifts the heavens and blesses me (and everyone you pray for) beyond words — no small thing, don’tcha think? *wink*

The Inflation I underwent Monday morning was 50cc’s on The Left (The Beautiful Picture-Perfect Left) and 25cc’s on The Right (The Healing-Slower-Than-Expected Right.) It is odd and exciting and a bit weird to watch these Inflate-A-Boobs get bigger before my very eyes…even if it is lopsided in favor of The Left at present. The humongous syringes and gi-normous needles (along with the strange little stud-finder-like device and purple marker used to mark the place of each expander’s port) really add to the whole FrankenBooby part of this experience!

But, praise God for Inflation! This particular kind of Inflation, anyway! *smile*

Even more surreal for me, though, is the fact that one year ago today (November 7), I completed 52 weeks of chemo! For cancer. For real.

I honestly don’t know if that will ever settle itself in my mind so it feels more ‘real’ when I think of it. Or if my heart will ever really be able to wrap itself around the diagnosis and the parade of losses and challenges that preceded and followed it – and some that continue to take turns bubbling up, demanding to be acknowledged, processed, and grieved on some new, deeper level. To say that it feels totally overwhelming and all-consuming some days is to barely scratch the surface. Anniversaries that serve as blessed mile markers also tend to act as triggers for so very many thoughts and feelings that refuse to be brushed aside until I face them squarely in the eye and allow them to be heard and felt. It is strange and can take me by surprise if I’m not mindful.

Don’t get me wrong. I never, ever want to come across as ungrateful or whiny when it comes to the gift I’ve been given. To be a survivor of breast cancer is becoming more and more common (Praise God!); but I believe when it happens to you, ‘common’ can be so ridiculously uncommon that it can take your breath away. It can take some getting used to. And in the adjusting, the accepting, the altering there is also guessing, gasping, and grieving.

I am grateful. I am humbled. I am astounded.
And some days, I am hauntingly aware.
Anniversaries are like that.
For me, anyway.

Love, Peace, Joy, Comfort, Mercy, Faith, Belonging.
May you look to Him and find exactly what you need for today.
And may you find it in such abundance that it knocks your socks completely off!

One day can bend your life. ~Mitch Albom


2 responses to “July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Fifteen

  1. 52 weeks of chemo? Yikes! Wow! How does one get through just that part of cancer, let alone everything else you went through. Your strength, humour and determination to heal gives me strength you know. I’m only on day 2 of having found out that I have breast cancer. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Continued blessings of good health to you Laura. ❤

    • LauraK says:

      Oh, Suzanne! You are never far from my thoughts. The 52 weeks of chemo I had included both IV and oral…it wasn’t easy, but I am so grateful for all the advances in the treatment of this stupid disease. I’m sure there are even more cutting-edge treatments in play now than there were just five years ago. I’m continuing to send love and light and prayers your way. xo

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