Tag Archives: radiation




Two years ago, the phone rang here at my house. It was Jean, my surgeon’s nurse, calling to give me the results of the biopsy of the removed breast tissues and lymph nodes taken during my mastectomy.

No cancer. “The report is very, very, very good!” she had said, leaving the details for my surgeon to share with me. It’s impossible to put into words the sense of relief I felt. In a moment it was like I could breath again. No chemo.

After the relief came gratitude. I had been so fortunate along this road called cancer. No radiation. No chemo. Only a few lymph nodes removed – low risk of developing lympedema in my right arm.

I relished the calm that washed over me and the moments of celebration…

Chugging Train
By Vicki L. Flaherty

Finally, the train has stopped.
I’m clean — no cancer.
Nothing suspicious
That can be seen or detected.
At least for now…
It’s OK to celebrate this moment.

But, the engine was meant to move —
and so it begins again, chugging slowly forward.
At this juncture, there are questions
About prevention, recurrence.
What to do? How to live with the odds?
No conclusive answers.
The engine was meant to move —
and so it begins again, chugging slowly forward.

Navigating the course ahead
It’s up to me to decide:
Do I take the medication?
What tradeoff s, given the benefits and risks?
Choices, decisions — the signals along the journey.
The engine was meant to move —
and so it begins again, chugging slowly forward.

A related post is Waiting Game.

The magic of flowers



Last time I posted, I wrote about the association I have of healing with flowers (see Healing Energies).  I have a vivid memory of the first time this association became conscious. It was after my initial diagnosis when I was waiting at the hospital for my radiation consult. I recall closing my eyes and taking several deep breaths, releasing the stress and claiming calm. As my heart and mind and body slowed down and came to the present moment, I saw a vision of healing light on my breast (I was, after all, in the radiation department).

I kept working the image…bright yellow light, like sunshine, the kind that helps flowers to grow. The light shined on my breast and in my breast grew a healthy, beautiful flower. The flower multiplied until there was a raucous bouquet – of big white daisies, delicate and sweet purple columbines and pansies, pink roses, yellow tulips… They all stretched toward the light, toward the nourishing, healing light.  This initial vision of my breast as a bouquet of flowers came to me many times. I went to it regularly to connect with the possibility of healing and health. Ultimately, I scribbled out the poem, My Garden (below), to capture some of this experience. When I took the photo in this post of a late fall garden bouquet, it reminded me of my vision and the delicate beauty that resides in my breast (which had since been reconstructed).

My Garden
By Vicki L. Flaherty

I envisioned
Rich dark earth
That nourished seeds
And sprouted life
As flowers
A beautiful bouquet

Then there were weeds
So I put on my gloves
And grabbed my shovel
I gently uprooted
That which did not belong
So the collage of flowers
Would flourish in health
And incredible beauty

The garden has been invaded
Trampled by footsteps
Like a dog has enjoyed
A delightful little jaunt
Th rough the magic
Of Mother Nature

The flowers are crushed
The earth pressed down
It’s unnerving
The sensations and sadness
Of this new reality
I challenge myself
To move through it

And once again
I grab my gloves and shovel
And move the earth
Prepare the bed
For a floral display
That will emerge
Majestic and grand
Rich and colorful again

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings