October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Actual Dance tells a story of MY journey in response to Susan’s diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in 2000
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I post a blog each day with a reflection about breast cancer. The reflections all stem from something in the play.
Day 24: Going Dark. ”His fingers are running along the lips of the incision when all of sudden he stops. He does a military style about-face, walks to the opposite wall and picks up the phone. That is weird. He walks back to tell us that has found a lump on Susan’s chest at the incision point and it needs to be looked at right away.” The Actual Dance
The Breast Cancer journey – indeed the Cancer Journey – is full of unexpected twists and turns. No matter what the doctors were saying, I kept listening for the worst. And then here it is -- a lump after a double mastectomy is NOT supposed to happen. Hell, there wasn’t even a lump pre-surgery, just cancerous breast tissue. Dr. Blonder is clearly not happy. Nobody, not the oncologist and not the surgeon and not me, is happy. It is as if the lights of the future have just been flipped off. I can’t see the future anymore. I look out in my mind’s eye and everything is black. I understand in a different way the aphorisms of “putting one foot in front of the other” or “one day at a time,” it is because I can’t see beyond each step any more or each day. It is just all dark.
Susan doesn’t change with this news. She never changes during her journey as she tells audiences when she participates in post-show discussions. “I was just focused on surviving.”
Stat of the Day: A recent survey of 2000 adults found that 60% say they know little or nothing about metastatic breast cancer, 72% believed – incorrectly—that metastatic breast cancer could have been prevented if it had been caught earlier and 50% incorrectly believe the cancer had spread because of mistakes in treatment.
Task of the Day: Finding peace in the moment of crisis is not easy. “Take a Breath” is the advice given often. This task is about mindfulness in the moment. Developing techniques to deal with the “dark moments.” Here is an article about mindfulness for caregivers.
Resource of the Day: Carol Fox Prescott has taught me for nearly 17 years as an acting coach, teacher and mentor. Her method is known as “On the Breath.” I recommend the process not just as a tool for acting, but a tool for living. There is no better gift than breath and unwrapping that gift is what learning how to breathe through the most important times of our lives is about. Check out Carol’s book on the process, ‘Breathing Awareness and Joy.”
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