Saturday, February 25, 2012

FEARLESS


catstir [kat - stur] noun: 
Code word for the other "C" word that rhymes with "dancer"


Sometimes, I am in a hole. It is dark here. It is dark (and safe) in this hole.

It is more like a womb then a hole.

Knowing I am abandoning my breasts is beating on me. I am frazzled. I am trembling. It is time I let go (I don't want to let go) and begin my healing.

My surgery date is March 5th. I surrender my catstir to the specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital.

I fear the pain. The emotion and physical pain.

I fear the unknown. A life without my breasts.

I do not fear death.

Today, I climb out of my hole and stare directly into the light. It is bright. I do not scurry. Today, I realize that THIS is NOT about cosmetics or convenience.  THIS is about catstir.

I match my aggressive, invasive, catstir with equal vigor. I am a fighter. I have tools and secret weapons that catstir has yet to face.

I will be donating "left over" tissue and blood for a catstir research study at Sloan Kettering. This makes me proud. This empowers me. I am certain MY blood and tissue will give them the answers they need.

I promise NOT to tell you what to do, but I hope my story will remind you how important it is to get yearly mammograms. YES, they are humiliating but they are necessary. GOOD NEWS...there is a new 3D mammogram just around the corner. It will give better images with less compression. Look for it in a hospital near you!

Clearly, I am broken. And the pieces will not fit the way they once did.

I miss you all. I miss me. I miss writing. I miss reading my favorite blogs.

I miss my father.  I miss him being fierce and strong.

I need my father.

Here, in the hole, my father did not die. He is fierce and strong. He is with me.

Here, outside the hole, my husband is with me. He is supportive. He is patient. He is loyal. He is brave.

In the hours leading up to my fathers death, between gurgles and gasps of air, he whispered, "Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania..." I knew what he meant. My husband was in Pennsylvania.

My father waited for my husband to return before he parted.

My marriage is strained in a way its never been, but this is not the time for me to let go of things I have control of.

I want this day, this week, this pain, to end. I want to get back to the (monkey) business of living.

I want to sleep. I want to rest my weary head... drift on the down of clouds. be mindful. be mindless. be fancy free. be me... monkey me.


xo, MonkeyME 


53 comments:

  1. If I don't say anything it is because I do not know what to say, but I want you to know, you comfort me.

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  2. I have no words, only hugs and friendship.

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    1. ((((((perfectly timed)))))))) Thank you Sarah!

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  3. You are on my mind all the time and I think you are brave and wonderful.

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    1. Em... that means so much to me! really, truly it does. you know I am in awe of YOU! xoxo

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  4. I may not say much either but I read and will continue to do so as long as you keep posting. And Em is right, you are amazingly brave.

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    1. honestly, I don't feel brave at all. my hands shake constantly. my stomach is a mess. can't sleep. can't concentrate. I want to pretend I don't have catstir because I can't see it, nothing hurts and I feel fine! I didn't understand when my husband was in denial at first but now, I get it. Thank you for reading. If you read me I will write xoxo

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  5. I've got my paws crossed for you, Monkey; you're taking your breasts by the horns (so to speak) and fighting a horrible monster. I have no doubt
    that you will emerge stronger and even more irreverant. I'm glad you miss your father-it says a lot about him and you. I've been missing my dad lately but find laughter in the memories. Best of luck and keep us all up to date.

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    1. I think of you often Joan, as we both share this deep love and physical loss of our fathers

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  6. You are so brave and wonderful. I'm in awe of you.

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    1. I don't feel brave just yet but I'll welcome it :) thank you for reading Christine!

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  7. You are stronger than you think. I am so lucky to call you my friend! xoxo Miss Claudia

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    1. thank you miss claudia! xoxo you are such a good friend to me!

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  8. From one monkey to another, good luck, and go in smiling :) It's the ultimate power in the universe ;)

    Also, happy Saturday! I have tagged you for a fun, get-to-know-you-exercise:

    http://1000thmonkey.blogspot.com/2012/02/ive-been-tagged.html

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    1. to me the ultimate power is LOVE... but a smile enforces it! Thanks 1000th monkey!!!

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  9. Your father's strength will strengthen you, who are already strong. And I'm glad your husband is by your side, despite the strains. So sorry you are going through this, but glad you are donating tissue for research.

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    1. me too!!! the tissue and blood donation has me feeling good about my cancer.

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  10. Shannon, I have lots of things I could say to you...Sage and profound. But I won't today. Today I will say I hope your family can be mended, and that you can find some living (as in right here on this plannet) peace...

    live
    love
    and for f sakes laugh!

    Wander

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    1. I am not certain it can be mended but for today, and for the next few weeks, I'm putting my relationship issues aside - but its sooooooo not easy.

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  11. Hanging on and hanging in there. You can do this. You can be better. You can be stronger. I don't need to know you personally, to know this.

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    1. I just don't know anymore... I feel like I took so much for granted... I'm mad at self

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  12. I miss your writing too. :) And the monkey business will be back soon, I'm sure. Until then, I am patient... and I will wait with virtual hugs. :)

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    Replies
    1. (deep breath)......what the fuck happened..... where did I go wrong

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  13. My dad passed away almost 12 years ago and I still miss him. I want to pick up the phone and tell him things. Life is so strange when someone is here and then they're not. But I'm sure your dad is still there for you, just as mine is for me. It's just different. So draw your strength from him as much as you can because good dads like it that way.

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    1. yep...... we had GOOD dads. and it does help to know he was old and near death. but even though I knew that I still thought (feared) he'd hold on to 92 or 93 or 6

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  14. Since I don't have breasts It's hard to imagine. I suppose it's a little like a guy getting a lopitoffame surgery. Hard to say. Most men don't seem to have to have the same self image appearance-wise. I try to have empathy not sympathy. I had no idea I was good looking and that girls were crazy about me till my looks were gone. I know you're in pain but I can't pretend to relate like some of your girl friends. Sometimes I think those things make men not able to understand and nonsupporting. But I'm here.

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    1. I was never considered gorgeous, instead I was cute. I hated being cute. What I wanted was to be gorgeous. When I was young my breasts were small and I hated them. Towards my mid 40's they changed along with the rest of my body. I still hated them. Now I love them and its too late.

      Had to google lopitoffame (even better was female to male - Addadictome! haaaa). I was going to say de-balled is the closest you can come to losing your breasts but people can't tell if you have balls with cloths on. And as much as you think women care about balls, we don't ....unless they're droopy. Droopy is a game changer for me. One thing I know for certain my faux breasts will NOT droop.

      thanks for being HERE Curmudge... ((((((you're wonderful)))))

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  15. Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it. I like it too. It was taken at Burning Man while I was volunteering at WDYDWYD. Asking people, "Why Do You Do What You Do?" having them write their answers and then photographing them with their answers. And I like this wig of mine. It will probably be my wig of choice after chemotherapy. It's full of color- red, orange, turquoise, pink.

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  16. Your heart and soul are so strong, Shannon, and they shine through in these catstir posts.

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    1. I don't feel strong Katie... I've got a week to work on that....... ugh.........

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  17. You mentioned in a reply that the ultimate power is love. Well then, know this. We the people (friends, family, burners, bloggers, etc) have power over your catstir. These are all people who love you [some may not even be real or have ever met you ;-)] We, the power people, do not lose. (but we may monkey around a bit)....Shadow Moose Bailey

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  18. Sending loving wishes to you every day, Shannon. The power behind all of these supportive posts along with your own strength will take you further than you can imagine. Dawn

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  19. Here, thinking of you. Thinking of you.

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  20. You are a tough woman, sister, friend, mother, burner, partner, wife and monkey. This will be one more thing we talk about around the fire, crying and drinking. I got my mammogram, (a couple of years overdue). Thank you for that push forward.

    My breasts are old and saggy, but they have lived. My breasts are not just fillings for a push up bra. I’m glad these saggy old girls have nourished children, provided comfort for crying toddlers, snuggled grandchildren and kept me warm on cold days. They have also stopped traffic, made men blush, and more recently made people laugh. If me and my breasts are parted before I leave this world, I guess I would say, I am proud of them, mostly for their usefulness, not their beauty.

    Shannon , how women’s breasts have worn pasties? How many women have had their breasts lighted up by twirling fire? In the mundane work of being breasts, your breasts are rock stars! They have strutted and danced. They have taunted and sparkled. I dare say, like mine, they have provided both comfort and distraction for many. However, they don’t define you, anymore than your new ones will. You are so much more than the carcass your soul is entombed by. You sparkle from the inside out. Long after those breasts are gone, you will still be comforting, distracting, and twirling fire.
    What is truly remarkable about you is the way you are able to connect with so many people deeply with your words and heart. I love you, Inky

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    1. oh Inky! I love you, I love you, I love you!

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  21. I just came out of my little hole to read this. I am with you somehow, down there. I feel like you're on the other side of the world. Maybe, if we dig deep enough, we'll meet in the middle. It's warm there!
    You ARE strong. You're your own band leader. You have the baton, and full dress! We are marching right behind you, every step of the way, even if it ever feels like you're alone.
    Jesse

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    1. I'm taking you with me Jesse.. into the hospital and into the or. Promise me you won't let go of my hand....

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  22. Shannon, last night I dreamed about words. I love them. But, they cannot fully express what I feel, or at least I am unable to combine them to form something that expresses a deep, true, real emotion. So I won't even try. I'll just rely on some form of telepathy. Do you hear me? I know you do.

    Love.

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  23. Dearest Monkey, I was going to say something witty and silly, but I just saw the beautiful and poignant picture of you and Mark, and I see so much in your lovely face that is sad and strong and scared. All at once. Now all I can say, again is how much I care for you, and love you. If my sisterlove for you were enough, that muthafucka catstir would be screeching and fsssttting away from you as fast as it could.


    xoxoxoxoxox
    MG

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  24. Its All Good Babe, your going to me Fine <3

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  25. We Monkeys do need to support one another. I am a cancer survivor and I just know you will be too. My most positive of thoughts are with you. Having a supportive spouse is a real gift. Appreciate it.

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    1. sounds like we monkeys have some sort of secret weapon against catstir!!!! good to know MonkeyMAN!

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  26. Green Monkey,

    Im thinking about you daily as i draw closer to my own lumpectomy surgery. Im in awe of your strength. I will keep praying for you. Hey, my little 4yr old nephew and I spent the day making a Get Well card for you. I will get it into the mail and out to you. Hang in there.
    -1osugrl

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    1. THANK YOU 10sugrl!!!!when is your lumpectomy? keep me posted. I will send you all the love I have

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  27. You are in my mind, wrapped in a beautiful blanket of love. I am so lucky to have you as my friend to spend all those hours by the wall. May we have many more.
    Your friend,
    Bev

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    1. thank you BEV! I love our time at the wall xoxo

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  28. marie5890 from BCOMarch 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Will be thinking of you tomorrow. Sometimes I just cant find the words that seem to fit the situation, especially hard situations. I do, though, understand what it means to just be present esp when there is no "fixing" the realities.

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Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing
greenmonkeytales@live.com

Shannon E. Kennedy

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Photo by Joan Harrison