transitions – moving through, going across; passages from one position or condition to another. They have no fixed position, to answer or resolution. They are uncomfortable for those of us who yearn for control, meaning and destination.
prepositions – words placed before nouns to indicate time, space or means. They are in, at, on, and under. They are along, soon, after and within. They bring certainty to uncomfortable unknowns, and clarity to shadowy in-between places. In language, prepositions fix answers in time and space, like the coordinates of newly discovered stars.
I leave hospital with a plastic pipe inserted into my chest wall, which drains off excess fluid into a little plastic grenade. I carry the contraption around in a handmade floral shoulder bag donated by the kind ladies at St Vincent’s hospital. The only real issue with the drain bag is that I keep forgetting it’s attached to my chest wall, so I tend to put it down and walk off, until the pain snaps me back like a toddler on the end of a psychological leash deciding, mid tantrum, that he really does need to follow mum out of the supermarket.
Waiting for the nurse to call me for the mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy, I am hungry. I listen to my stomach grumble and growl, percolating away on bile juices. This morning we have already been to the radiologist, to have my breast injected with radioactive dye, then images taken of the lymph nodes as the dye spread and dissipated away from the cancer. The location of the sentinel lymph node, first and most likely to be infiltrated by cancer, is marked with a black marker pen, ‘x’.
For those of you who are part of the Lismore Lesbian Lightning Communication Network, this may come as a surprise, but breasts have never been my thing. For those who are not in the network, bear with me as this post is about breasts.
My breasts have never looked this good before. Two rounded mounds in T-shirts, singlets and camisoles – even without a bra they are suddenly the most stunning discovery. I feel like I’m watching David Attenborough doing a special segment and breasts are the name of the game.
A few weeks ago in meditation, prior to all this, I sent out a demand to the universe to be healed and put on my path. I had no idea that prayers could be answered so fast, or that my path would be so slippery when wet with the urgency of breast cancer.
The surgery date is moved to 28 February and I have two weeks to decide whether to have most , or all, of my left breast removed. The only certainty is that if I don’t have the whole thing off, I will need six weeks of daily radiation treatment on top of a surgical scar.
In the first 24 hours my online and interpersonal communication quotient increases by 300%. One friend, and then another, responds with love, hope, and offers of help. I tell them it’s Ok to share the news, which means I only repeat the story three or four times. I go down in history as the first woman to give thanks to the speed and efficiency of the Lismore lesbian lightning communication Network.
Lesion – cut, graze, scratch, laceration, abrasion, wound, injury, gash.
Breast – tit, boob, jug, bosom, bust, chest, front, mammary glands, mammilla, nipple, teat, udder
Cancer – carcinoma, growth, tumour, malignancy, melanoma, sarcoma, canker, scourge, blight.
My eyes just stare widely back at V- the gentle doctor who finally convinced me to have a pap smear after all these years, and who has just told me I have breast cancer.
“Ok… Ok, right…”