courtesy of

courtesy of

In yoga, our guide sometimes reminds us to notice the sensations in our body – usually during a resting posture that follows a more strenuous posture. I notice how my muscles are fatigued, or how my heart is thumping a bit from the tension of the preceding posture…maybe I notice the pressure on my hands or the feeling of my toes against the mat…

After my mastectomy, I was in high gear for noticing, as the poem below from my book describes. Then as the months moved on, there was less to notice. But, even a year later, there was always a pull, a tension, a tingle, something…I often felt the need to massage the scar across my breast or under my arm pit where the lymph nodes were removed (wonder what the folks in the gym thought when I did that…). Sometimes my pectoral muscle, which holds the implant in place, felt tight or somehow seemed burdened by its additional responsibility.

However, this weekend, when I slowed down (you have to slow down enough to notice stuff!), I noticed how I was not having any sensations in my right breast, where I have the implant. In a good way. It’s like the skin has done it’s stretching and the muscle has adapted to its new friend. When I pause to notice the sensations, there is no difference between my left and right breast. From what some other survivors told me, I wasn’t sure that would ever happen. I’m delighted that it has. A great way to celebrate the upcoming 2-year anniversary of my mastectomy surgery which is coming up next month (9/27/11).

By Vicki L. Flaherty

I noticed how glad I was to get the bandages off.
I noticed how cleansing it felt to finally take a shower.
I noticed how freeing it was to have the drains removed.
I noticed how I reached back to brush my hair the way I like it.
I noticed how I made the bed without exhaustion.
I noticed how the discomfort under my arm disappeared.
I noticed how taking a walk did not tire me.
I noticed how my arms were extended to the sky during yoga.
I noticed how the scars changed from dark to light pink.
I noticed how the tingling sensations occurred less often.
I noticed how the skin of my breast was not so numb.
I noticed how I am not noticing anything anymore.

© 2012 Mostly My Heart Sings


About Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing, gardening, photography, or my work. Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

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