The journey began on July 6, 2011. That’s the day the radiologist called to ask me to come back for another set of mammograms.
I remember July 8, 2011 – the day the radiologist told me that there was something suspicious on the mammogram.
Then there was July 25, 2011 -the day I had the breast biopsy.
Mostly, I remember July 27th, 2011 – the day the nurse called to tell me that there were cancer cells in my right breast. I guess you never think someone will say the words “You have cancer” to you. I certainly had never imagined it. It was surreal. I was home alone and scared. I remember crying like I have never cried before. So many things I didn’t know, making me fearful and uncertain. My journal on August 5th says “I remember trying to be strong but the tears coming anyway.” and “I have cancer. I need surgery to remove part (or all!) of my right breast. Wow!”
The first threads of the poem appear in my journal dated August 3rd. I’m amazed that just days after the diagnosis, I was already moving to a place of strength and resiliency. The survivor in me, I guess. Here’s what I wrote in my journal that day, just a series of words:
Reaching for family, friends.
Being held, supported.
Feeling love, light.
Path – Obstacle – Overcome
Stumbling forward with Grace.
Here’s the poem that evolved and which appears in Mostly My Heart Sings:
By Vicki Flaherty
It’s scary in the darkness.
It’s sometimes lonely,
even resting on a pillow of love.
Often the light is hard to see,
a flickering in the distance.
Questions unanswered linger in the air,
uncertainty leaves me fragile.
Out of seemingly nowhere tears well up
from some primal place deep inside.
I feel numb and empty and raw,
feelings I’m unable to fully understand.
My mind is a furry fuzz;
I can’t focus or think straight.
Then suddenly in this place of deep emotion,
I’m reminded just to be.
It’s time to rest — there is nothing I need to do.
With grace I gently move along
to a peaceful place of strength.
© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings, 2013