lots of my friends know about my obsession with the number five. it's my favorite number and shows up in lots of ways throughout my art and life. but now i am loving it even more. five years ago, on my birthday, february 24th, i had a mastectomy. i didn't want to have the surgery, obviously, and especially not on my birthday. but when i was scheduling the appointment that was the first date available. and, at the time it was better to HAVE a birthday to celebrate for the next several years than to fret over that particular one. $%#* cancer.
and each year on my birthday i remember that day. i remember that surgery. i remember the room i was in. the cold colors of the walls. the metal trolley holding my i.v. bag and its tube into my body. i remember wheeling it into the bathroom in the dark while loopy and talking to mija on the phone. that was one of the few moments when i didn't feel completely out of my body. i remember the doctors being unable to find a pain med that would work. nothing seemed to help and they kept calling late into the night to get him on the phone to try something else. i remember wishing i were anywhere but in that cold room.
i remember my amazing friends and family visiting me in the hospital. i remember them lined up at the foot of my bed like sweet surprises in a row. lisa brought me a birthday crown. i wear it around the house still. that was lovely to see them all through my post surgery haze.
but, let me tell you, having a mastectomy on your birthday sucks. don't do it if you can help it. pick a different day. you will remember it when you would rather move on and forget it. and yet, you can never forget it. no amount of life is going to take the scars away,inside or out. SO - get your mammograms. don't put it off. do self-checks every month. be smart, people! ok, climbing off my pink beribboned soap box now.
and, luckily, this year, tomorrow, on my birthday, i get to celebrate with enormous JOY being five years cancer free. that is huge to me. five years out is the first time the oncologist will consider me cancer free. so it is quite a succulent milestone. i've been waiting to exhale a little since that day i thwacked myself in the boob with a mop and found a lump. five years out from surgery feels like a wonderful, amazing, happy, magnificent relief. life is made up of so many moments all strung together like sparkling gems. tiny and shining. this one moment sums up so much happiness hanging off of worry, love, bravery, sadness, expectation, adjustment, fear, and on and on. right now five equals rocket to the moon happy. so...
take time to live your life in this moment. the little stuff truly isn't worth worrying about, well, not much is worth worrying about. don't be so serious. love big. laugh loud. and dance every chance you get. that's what i'm doing. mwah!