you are the sky, not the weather

it’s been windy in the bay area this week. and i don’t mean a gentle breeze. it’s more of a blow-you-over freight train. as we’re in the middle of a renovation, the plastic covering our mostly-roofless house whips around, waking me up and causing my heart to beat faster as i wonder what pieces of the house are still standing. this wind is kicking up everything too. bits of trash are rolling down the sidewalk like tumbleweeds, branches are snapping in half, and, well, my stamina is also getting a lashing.

pema chodron, someone whose voice helped get me through chemo, has this saying, “you are the sky, not the weather.” 

but with the state of the world, and, well, life, i feel like the weather.

when the bandages came off after my last surgery, there was an audible, “oh” from the surgical team. it turns out that symmetry and surgical success is never guaranteed. and, i’m lopsided now, so much so that it’s noticeable in clothes. weren’t symmetrical breasts the *one* perk of my cancer bullshit? so that i can wear a v-neck shirt or backless dress without people trying to figure out what is happening with my mangled chest? and wasn’t this supposed to be my last surgery, to put it all behind me?

i’m embarrassed that i didn’t entertain this as a possible outcome. i’m frustrated that my surgeon didn’t mention it. i’m annoyed that cancer has left me deformed. and i’m in the stratosphere in realizing that to try and fix it would require yet another surgery. 

i feel conflicted about another procedure that has no guarantees. and, i probably feel a bit judged too. like, why is she worrying so much about fitting into clothes when she should be grateful to be alive? i’ve thought long and hard on this. it’s my body, the one i gratefully inhabit. that i see every day when i get dressed, or get out of the shower. that others see when i change at the gym. i know i’ll never go back to the “before cancer” me, and i’m working on grieving that, but i’d like to get as close to physically possible as that version. 

so many aspects of a body change with cancer treatment though–name the body part or function, and believe me when i say it’s dramatically impacted. in her last book, glennon doyle melton said, when chronicling her eating disorder, that she seeks a reunion. “there had been a civil war, and my body had ceded from our union. how can i bring it back? i want a truce. i want to be whole. i want to learn to live in this body, in this world, with my people.” 

that. that’s what i want. and world peace. and healthcare and reproductive choice. and relatively matching breasts.
i continue to deal with side effects of cancer treatment and these procedures too. on one hand, i’m so bored with that sentence, am so exhausted to talk about it with anyone. on the other hand, i know that there is a quality of life i can enjoy that is greater than my current state. i’ve been seeing a homeopathic doctor who guessed that my adrenal glands are shriveled up like little raisins. and being in menopause on top of that has kicked out another leg in the stool, leaving me flat on the floor. i hope we solve it and this fatigue and fog can blow away. and i can get some stamina back too, physically and emotionally. 

but, more doctors mean more bloodwork, which means more blown veins and bruises, a few pass-outs, and a new one for me–“milking the vein” to get the blood to flow. it is exactly as disgusting as it sounds. a lab messed up one set of bloodwork, and my primary care forgot to order several other tests, thus requiring two extra blood draws. in the meantime, i’ve been trying to fire that primary care doctor, but because i’m in the middle of a “health event,” (um, not sure when the other side of this so-called event will be?), i can’t change doctors to anyone outside of their medical group. the ball got rolling when the doctor cancelled my appointment when i was 5 minutes late on a rainy monday morning, despite my calling to let them know i was running late, arriving and paying the co-pay, and sitting in the waiting room.

it’s sometimes all just too much. 

but, you are the sky, not the weather.

at least that’s what i’m telling myself today.

be kind to one another,


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