It’s booked. Friday, July 26, is operation day – the day in which two surgeons work together: one to remove the tumour and all surrounding breast tissue; the other to put my breasts back together in a way that makes them firmer and higher than they’ve been in a long, long while. I suppose there’s that to look forward to, something to hang on to rather than thinking about the process involved in getting there.
I’m ready; physically, mentally, emotionally. And it’s all due to this last week spent at St Francis Health Centre under the loving care of that famous medical intuitive Mrs Annelise Cowley. It was the best gift I’ve ever given myself – a few days breathing room, to take it all in, to find a quiet place in my mind and in my heart, to make sense of it all – in my very own way.
I wanted to come away physically more prepared for the operation and the detox at St Francis did the trick. I kept a diary!
I’ve just had dinner – a boiled mielie and a bowl of stewed pears. We numbered 9 around the table and as we introduced ourselves to each other, telling each other why we’re here, what we expect out of our week at the health centre, I’m in awe of how a group of people are thrown together at a very specific time… to teach each other lessons, to hold each others fears. There are three women in this group I know will be lifetime friends, women whose connection to the realm of the angels is palpable, women I can learn from, share with and confide in. They, all three, have kind eyes.
I sit in the blue dining room – blue is the colour of communication, of the throat, of dining. I’m uncomfortable with the blue. It’s so cold. Yet why? It’s my medium. I can talk. It’s what I do. Maybe it’s because blue is also about food, and about enough and I have to confront (among other things) my relationship with and issues about food, and sugar, and my feelings about “enough”. Am I enough? Can I ever have enough? What is enough? What’s good enough? Enough! Big word for me. Blue, it seems, brings out my insecurities about “enough”. But that’s what I’m here to deal with.
After our mielie (delicious, organic, crunchy on the cob) we head off to have our body stats done in the treatment centre, which is pink. Pink: The colour of unconditional love. I feel comforted in this warm place, filled as it is with the colour of unconditional love. The centre of the room has a glass topped table. Under the glass is a spiral of rose quartz stones. I put my hand over the formation of pink stone and I can feel the heat coming off it. Good energy. Unconditional love energy. And I lean over the table and my breast throbs – the cancer aches as pure love unsettles it.
Here, in this spiritual space where angels live, I must learn to love myself. To forgive myself, and the cancer. I’m being flippant so I tell Christina that I wish my mother were alive so I could blame her and she says the trick is to learn not to blame anyone. And for some reason it resonates with me deeply, and I have a miniature labyrinth in my hand and my finger is tracing along the grooves and there is a surge of hope.
The night sister invites me into the room to measure my body stats and I have to get on the scale and to stop myself from looking I ask her when I can see Mrs Cowley and she tells me I have to make an appointment. I tell her I have cancer and I think Mrs Cowley can heal me, and she looks at me – straight in the eye – and says: “You’ve come to the right place. There are angels here.”
And a sense of calm settles over me, and I have hope, and I walk to my room with a smile on my face. And as I unpack, I realise my swimming costume is pink, and my nightdress – the colour of unconditional love. I realise that I can’t read the murder mystery I’ve brought (Hakan Nesser’s Borkmann’s Point). It’s entirely inappropriate.
So I open my other book C G Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul. It’s not quite 8.30. I settle in to read.
Day 1, 2, 3
And so it begins. The days morph into each other – massage, steam baths, reflexology, carrot juice, vegetable broth, aquarobics, Tai Chi, calesthenics. Meditation in the sanctuary, walking the labyrinth. The Labyrinth: walking in should deal with the past, the centre is the present, and the walk out focuses on the future. Each time, I ask a question at the start, and I’m surprised by the answers. I hear my father’s voice as I walk, and the trees rustle like they did at Besters when I was a child and my thoughts are stilled and my fears allayed.
On day 3 the ache in my lower back began, a dull throbbing pain that demanded that I keep moving, that refused to let me sleep – or even lie down. And so I roamed the corridors for a night, seeking relief from Tissue Salts 8, Mag Phos (handed out by night nurse; three tablets under the tongue). Coming off the coffee she said, though I think it’s that, as well as getting rid of the isotopes and the iodine dye and the anaesthetic… Eventually at 5am she called Mrs Cowley and I was allowed one Panado which gave me 30 minutes sleep. It took three days to stop squirming; for the pain to reduce to a dull throb.
On Wednesday night, I have a sequence of dreams.
In the first, I’m in my childhood home, standing in the entrance hall with my brother and there’s a noise on the front porch and we’re frightened. I peek through the window, and there’s a giant girl standing there. I open the door and yell up at her: “What do you want?” and she says she’s come to see the garden. And my brother and I are filled with indescribable relief. We’re safe. This giant girl just wants to smell the flowers.
In the second, there are gunmen in the house, and I’m with my brother and sister in my childhood bedroom. They’re trussed up like Thanksgiving turkeys for some reason, and I have to keep them safe from the armed men slowly searching our home. I open my bedroom cupboard and suddenly realise there’s a secret panel behind which we can hide. We clamber in, shut the door, and as I begin to untie them, I realise we’re completely safe; that nobody will find us in our hidey hole.
In the third, I’m with my mum and we’re in New York sitting on a bench in Washington Square. I look down and there’s an enormous boil on my leg. I prick it, and litres of clear liquid seeps out. As the last of the liquid runs down my leg, the wound heals itself. I look up and there’s a huge billboard with a man called John Barbarosa on it. And he winks at me and I laugh and mum laughs, girlish, tinkling laughs. We’re happy. And I’m healed.
It’s ironic that as I read Carl Jung, my sub conscious speaks to me through my dreams and I am reassured that I am safe, gathered in.
Day 4, 5, 6
Mrs Cowley day. She comes to fetch me from the waiting area, a small white haired woman dressed in soft pink. She leads me into her room and it is a safe haven, a sanctuary filled with angels and books and homeopathic medicines and she looks at me with her piercing blue eyes and I feel like she’s looking into my soul and I’m overwhelmed. I begin to cry. I can’t speak. I don’t have to.
She tells me cancer is a blockage in the body, it’s about being stuck. And she reminds me of a recent period of intense unhappiness, of feeling stuck. And also of a time of extreme fear. And she asks me to forgive all those involved, and to love and forgive myself. And I cry some more. Then she gives me an affirmation, to be repeated over and over and over and over again. To shift the frequency, she says. To dispel the fear, to let in the light. And I am to surround myself with love. By changing the frequency of fear to love, I will allow things to change in my world and in my life.
As I said at the start, I have begun the process of healing. And so, I truly am ready for what lies ahead this week. Mrs Cowley left me with this image, which I’m hanging on to: angels in the operating theatre singing Schubert’s Ave Maria. My surgeons, surrounded with the pink of unconditional love, deftly working my flesh. What could possibly go wrong?
Thank you for sharing this journey with us
Knowing the intimacy of your feelings and process is helping us, as outsiders to send you love and healing, comradery, and empathy
You write so beautifully
May the HEALING BEGIN!
Love to you
I’ve been following your story and pray and hope that you’re recovering after your operation. There were no new posts after week 4 and I just need to make sure that you’re fine.