When Lori mentioned to me that the MBC (Metastatic Breast Cancer) weekend at Commonweal – two and half day retreat for young (those diagnosed with breast cancer under 45) women with metastatic breast cancer – had space that was not going to be filled, I found myself wondering if they would accept me to join them even though I didn’t have Mets. I would not take the spot of anyone with Mets, but if a spot was available it was exactly what I needed.
Fortunately, we were able to make it all work out. I was able to drive 2 people who would have otherwise had a challenge to get there, or would not have been able to go at all. In that way I was helping the community.
The weekend turned out to be exactly what I needed. It was special on so many levels. It was special because I got to spend some time having a variety of experiences with several of my friends – moments that I will cherish and take with me forever. I have cemented the visual but also the feeling of love into my mind. That was a gift.
We cried and laughed and cried some more … we did a lot of crying. I learned that grief tears are good for your skin. They are certainly good for your soul.
The other thing that worked well for me was that I was able to do some specific grieving. I was able to participate in a grief ritual that helped me address some of the grief over the loss of my mother, but also the grief know that I will lose my friends.
There was another point in the weekend, where myself and the photographer headed out to the chapel. I wanted to get some photos taken of me laying down in the chapel looking at the ceiling and contemplating. I had brought one of my mothers shall/wraps to wear. When I lay down, the photographer took the front ends of the shawl and crossed them over my chest says “your mother is giving you a hug now”. That was a real gift. Now anytime I wear that shall I will feel like I’m getting a hug from mom.
Unfortunately, I also discovered that my left hand and arm are swelling again. It seems that for some reason my lymphedema has returned. I haven’t been swimming much lately, which might be a contributing factor, but it might not be. I have no idea. Anyways, I’m back to wearing a compression sleeve to keep the swelling down. I can go back in the pool started Wednesday (2 weeks after my eye procedure), so I will need to add regular swims to my priority list.