advanced cancer: dancing with acceptance

lion’s eyes meet mine
who will win this tug of war
my own eyes flash back
♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦

I don’t accept my diagnosis of advanced cancer. Maybe sometime later. Maybe some day. Not now. Not tomorrow. Not for a while. If I accept my diagnosis, I feel as though I will accept that I no longer have control at all, but I need to feel some control. I can have control over what I think about what is happening to my body. I can have control over how to spend my time as I dance my way down this new path.

Some days the knowledge unleashes the lion, terrifying me. I run away and block the thoughts with work, with dance, with writing, with comfort from Marvin. I refuse to allow it to dominate me, yet I know I need to face the realities. I have only just begun to learn more about what the diagnosis means and how we are going to treat it medically. With the first few months of this continued journey I felt as though I had to use all of my strength to cope with the knowledge that the cancer had returned. I think it was particularly difficult because my PCP’s verdict last year throughout the crescendo of pain was, don’t worry, it’s only osteoporosis and arthritis, and not the return of the breast cancer. I was shocked when the MRI in January showed that, in fact, it was breast cancer metastasis, but I don’t think any of the news that this new visit from the old lion got far enough up the channels to the brain’s perception of the event. I was simply glad that we finally had the answer to the agonizing pain that for so many months had incapacitated me and escalated the need for potent pain medications.

So, perhaps, I’ve been a bit slow in acceptance of my diagnosis, as I am now only just discussing with my doctors the nitty gritty of my lab and other reports. I suspect I’ll have some scary moments as we sift through the information, but I want to do it now so that I can prepare myself to dance the lion back to sleep or fight it eye to eye. In any case, I know I need to stay strong in faith, hope, love and strength. I figure that all those years of dance and training made me strong and helped me learn to perform past the comfort zone. I will keep that in mind no matter what happens.

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