Wednesday, June 18, 2008

where the heart is

One of the tiny incisions from my biopsies got infected. The infection wasn't really on my skin, but deep inside where they took a tiny piece of me to make sure that I wasn't sick. This was on my left side, and it burned and ached, and until I finally took a powerful round of antibiotics, it just wouldn't heal. It felt like someone had wrung my heart out, like that left side of me where I feel everything, where I well up when sad and overflow when happy, had been raked across with something foreign and sharp. In a way I guess it had.
My experience so close to cancer is still impossible for me to describe, even to myself. As I walked into the biopsy room, I remember feeling nauseous and detached, like walking into a nightmare you had seen so many times in your sleep that it had somehow lost its punch. But as I lay on the table, face down and forced to be completely still, with my neck balled up in a cramp so powerful I thought I might scream, I started to cry. I couldn't wipe my face or blow my nose. I couldn't shudder. I couldn't move at all. The tears were so many and so strong, I couldn't do a thing about them but hear them drop onto the floor. They seemed to be coming from that same place where the doctor and nurses, who did their best to wipe my nose and face for me, were invading my body. Where I later became infected. Where the heart is.
My biopsy was very very difficult. Many women breeze through it. I wound up fainting on the table when it was all said and done. I awoke on oxygen and the doctor was asking me where my husband was. Could she call him in to help me? And I remember saying No! too harshly and too fast. I probably sounded like I was married to a jerk. But the truth was I could not bear for him to see me like that. It would scare him to tears.
I haven't thought about that moment in a while. My infection is healed and most of my pain is gone. I recently went back to my pilates class for the first time since this all happened. I was laying face down on the equipment, and it all came rushing back to me. As I looked at the floor of the gym, I was once again on that table being invaded. The memory was so powerful I could physically feel the fear and began to sweat. Frozen right there in time. Then I could hear my teacher's voice saying lift up your heart... and I did. And the gratitude that washed over me again was like liquid gold. I lifted up my heart. Again.


G in Berlin said...

What a wonderful description and beautiful writing.

anno said...

I think you turn all your experiences into gold. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm glad your heart is lifted, once again.

I went through a breast biopsy when I was 21. It was actually a lumpectomy, so I needed cauterization and all that. You described a lot of what I went through. I'm not sure it's the procedure as much as it's what the procedure might mean.

Jenn in Holland said...

xoxox my dear Jennifer.
And all apologies from my heart to yours for not being around, not being in touch. Truth is, I have been well caught up in my own troubles and woes and haven't climbed out of myself really for weeks on end. So here I am reading your brilliant passages and remembering and realizing all over again all the things I appreciate so deeply about you. The single fact that you teach me every time I visit should have been reason enough to keep me glued to you. But once again, the reality of my own selfishness overwhelms me and I am ashamed. Ashamed that you, my dear heart, didn't have my listening ear while you've journeyed through this and more. I miss you, have missed you, but hope to miss you no more.
I adore all that you are. Thank you for lifting my heart, friend.

Anonymous said...

What you went through is not very nice. I had a breast cancer 18 years and have survived very well. I feel you should concentrate on the outcome more rather than the procedure. It is not something one would like to happen daily but you did not have a cancer and that in itself is wonderful.

jen said...

oh honey. this has been a horrible experience for you.

i am so sorry.

Jennifer said...

This one made me cry. It's wonderful how you get what you need from your teachers when you need it.

bleeding espresso said...

So beautiful. Thank you immensely for sharing this.

cathouse teri said...



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