No More Hiding

So, about two weeks ago, I found a lump on the side of my recovered-from-cancer breast that was very painful. I waited a few days for it to go away, and then called the doctor when it didn't, went in on Thursday, she referred me to my cancer surgeon (which was a little concerning since that implies, well, surgery) and called him to get me in for an appointment yesterday. He didn't feel anything suspicious at all, did an ultrasound and didn't see anything concerning, and concluded that it was just a fairly common scar-tissue reaction to radiation treatments. Course of steroids prescribed and I'm to see him in two weeks. All good.
Except, um, well, I did that thing I do. That thing where I don't share what's going on with people except in a way that minimizes it and makes it a funny little party anecdote. I gave the PR version to the few people I told. I cut myself off from the love and empathy and compassion and connection of the people who mean the most to me because I didn't want to inconvenience them. Which had the exact opposite effect that I was going for, right? Not only did they worry, but I'd raised a big wall so they couldn't express that worry. Their worry couldn't join mine. We couldn't find comfort in each other.
This is a lesson I keep having to learn. And I'm sharing it with you now so that you won't be like me.

Share yourself.

Share your deepest fears and let yourself be held. Hold your people. Find comfort in connection and love and the act of being truly seen. There is such power in showing yourself when you are at your most vulnerable--so much strength there. That thing that feels like fragility can be a source of great strength when you stop trying to out-maneuver it. 

I'm resisting the urge to add some sort of joke here to show I've learned my lesson. But instead, I will tell you that I feel fragile and raw and sheepish and I'm sorry and my boob hurts. I'm a very good therapist for other people --not always so good at recognizing my own needs, much less my own worth. I guess that's the beauty of the human existence; we get try to do better every single day.

Yours in vulnerability and courage,


Judy Lee said…
Thank you for being here with me as we travel this thing call Life.
Tender hugs ...
Rosie Cepeda said…
Hi Barb,

I am glad that it turned out to be nothing concerning, not glad that it scared and hurt you. I just finished a 4 week course of radiation for a smallish very early DCIS myself been putting off (due to the time) seeing the oncologist to start the hormone blockers but should begin very soon. I guess things hurt from time to time, it's kind of scary when that happens, I joke it away too! I get it hugs, Rosie
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your example of courage for others, Barb, and for reaching out. Just last night, I watched Brene Brown's new hour and a half talk on Netflix, so this post is so timely...Kimberly
I'm learning to be more vulnerable. It's hard to open oneself up to hurt. I hear you and I see you, Barb.