the music sounds sweeter these days…

The calm has set in.  I feel like I can breathe.  The past month or so has been a little jarring to my spirit, but it has not been without many of the sweetest moments.  Besides dealing with the Great Power Outage of 2011, which most of us in Connecticut are finally recovering from… I was sent in for a wee bit of surgery… again… just to make sure I am still paying attention I suppose.

Since October 2009, when my life was so rudely interrupted with the Breast Cancer diagnosis, there have been what seems to be an endless number of surgeries and medical challenges.   I had never had surgery before this time.  The thought of it made me shudder.  But I have been poked, sliced, stitched, injected and infused more in the past two years than I would like to admit.  Most of my treatments and surgeries had wrapped up earlier this year and I was moving on.

Life was getting better, but it was an adjustment.  I was feeling like one of Picasso’s lovely nudes…  my body felt so disjointed and awkward, but I knew I was of a new strength.  I knew I was somehow more beautiful, even with all my jagged scars, and without my long hair. It was a sad beauty… a beautiful sadness…  Yet I was a stronger, more powerful, more beautiful woman.  I became one of the women for whom all the pink fuss was about.

As things were returning to normal, I had no intention of dwelling on this pothole in the road.  Life was going good for us in 2011.  The economy still sucking… The weather still usually sucking… but I was all patched up, i had some peach fuzz on my head, i was alive, and life was going very good.

Then we get another shot of “Oh Jesus!” juice.  Early last month I found out I had a cyst on my ovary… which is typically not that alarming and very common apparently… but because of “my history” they immediately sent me back into the OR to get the whole ovary removed.   It is likely nothing… but if it is something… we will just remove your other ovary and your uterus… and if it is still something you will have some more chemo… and then you should be fine…  You are over 40 so you must have had your children already… (no, thanks for assuming though).

It was hard to keep the thoughts at bay… to not revisit my dark thoughts of pain and mortality…further departure from my femininity… but I managed to stay positive for the most part.

Today my new set of scars are starting to heal, I can sit up on my own again, and test results all came back good.  Now that storm Alfred, and my own personal little power outage, are over… I am back in the swing and all “lights” are back on!  Fist bumps all around.

I have made some interesting observations recently.  Each time I come out of this ever more familiar post-surgery storm… I seem to know myself a little better.  There seems to be a noticeable light shining upon my surroundings… a tangible sharpening of my senses.  The colors of the trees and the horizons are so much more vibrant.  The flavors of a home cooked meal are so much more delightful. The voice of a friend is so much more relished.  My dance music makes me feel so much more emotional.  Songs on the radio are so much more fun… I can’t stop car dancing!  I’ve seriously got moves like Jagger lately.

I am not taking these observations lightly.  It should not take being injected with toxic chemicals or winning a one-sided, unarmed fight with a scalpel-wielding professional to make me notice a sunset or make time for a friend.  I always notice sunsets, and i always love my friends,  but maybe this is why we must go through rough times.  Just to make sure we are still paying attention – really paying attention.

Are you there God?  It’s me, erica.  Please no more surgeries this year… I’m listening!!!  (-:

ejl x.o.

PabloPicasso-Girl-with-Mandolin-Fanny-Tellier-1910

Images: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso, e.j.l.’s sketch book, Girl With a Mandolin – Pablo Picasso

Dancing Rapunzel has a new dress…

and new boobs.  You see, DR never dreamed she would be getting a new size 34C pair for her 40th birthday (should she have gone bigger? hmmm, maybe something to contemplate at a later date), but that’s exactly what she got, like it or not.  One would have to read another blog, about that dancing rapunzel girl, to get the entire background, but long story short for now, she did get new boobs, saline actually, very real feeling… so she’s been told.  But first she underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She was pretty bummed when she got a stage 2b breast cancer diagnosis as a sort of belated 39th birthday gift… October 30th, 2009.  Well maybe she was not bummed so much as freaking out and hysterical.  You know, crying for days, planning how to spend her last days, thinking about how embarrassing it will be when people read her journals, looked in her sketchbooks… you would think a fairly common reaction to “you’ve got cancer, we might be able to save your life, and we’ll be chopping your breasts off in order to do so”.  This is somewhat dramatic, maybe way too graphic, and the doctor was much kinder about it. but it was kind of like that, in her own head. And her family came right along for the ride, making sure she never felt alone.

This is where i admit, it would be terribly exhausting (for you and me) if I were to continue writing my own story in the 3rd person, so yes, hiii, that’s me, rapunzel.  Not my real name of course, but again, the other blog explains a bit about that if i recall. as i write going forward, my intent will be to document my creative journey, share what inspires me, and hopefully grow as a person.  I have probably gathered much of my recent inspiration from having breast cancer, and i guess it has been a huge wake up call for me to get serious about taking care of some things, i’ve been putting off, or entirely put aside for the last 5, 10, 35 years.  Specifically, things, goals, and people, that are really important to me.  i haven’t always been the best daughter, or grand daughter, friend, cousin, wife, kitty mama, coworker…and so on, so i hope i can really get my act together in that area of my life. And my rockin belly dancer bod (maybe just to my husband), well it’s not so rockin anymore.  more like blockin [out the sun] no, i’m totally kidding, i just start rhyming sometimes.  what was i saying?… oh yes, so i would like to make a few changes in my life basically.  Kind of like new boob resolutions, or something.  Is it Brian Tracy? or was it that 7 Habits guy?…well one or both of them said something about making To Do lists to make positive changes in your life, or was it to become successful?  Well whatever it was, i’m sure it can’t hurt my life or my success.  So I guess here’s my list:

To Do.

1. be a better daughter, wife, auntie, etc…

2. get in shape, eat healthier . maybe do a little more belly dancing  (-:

3. paint more, create more, take lots and lots of pictures.

There’s definitely more to this list, i just probably won’t blog about it.   By the way, in case you were wondering why Dancing Rapunzel ends her blog abruptly on May 19th 2010, and why there’s a stupid square thing embedded in the middle of all the text… it’s because my password got hijacked, or something, and after about 35 hours of trying to get back in or get some type of account support, i gave up and was never able to get back in it.  I don’t exactly know why that square is there, but IF I COULD GET IN, I COULD FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET RID OF IT.  well, i don’t think anyone at the other blog hosting site cares or is listening, but i’ve decided i’m very happy this happened because it is a brand new beginning for me.  I can still go back and read some of my old posts, as a guest.  But for now it’s new boobs, new job, new life, new blog.  whoa… my blogging is like mirroring my real life.  trippy.

anyway, about that new dress.  it’s sky blue, with daisies all over it. It’s the one i wear in my most beautiful dream… the dream where i make art and take photos all day, every day… where David Bromstad, Antonio Ballitore & Chewy have all collaborated to design my home, where I like myself and i love my body (rockin or not), and where i’m surrounded by the people i love.  oh and there’s cupcakes, lots of perfectly delicious cupcakes.

here is a sketch in my journal.  i started making these portraits a few months ago. some are self-portraits, some are portraits of other women i’ve known, and most are a combination of both.  Sometimes i do get bummed because i’ve gained some weight, or because the chemo claimed my long pretty hair.   i draw the portraits when i just want to feel pretty again, and lipstick isn’t helping.

e.j.l. xo

picking daisies in the rain

picking daisies in the rain

p.s. please self exam and get a mammogram! … and don’t forget to ask the doc if you’re dense!