The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries
This is a very difficult entry for me to write. But, I have to write because writing is therapy for me.
Since the mastectomy (about two weeks ago) I’ve had terrible dreams. No, not dreams. Nightmares. I dream that something is being destroyed. It could be a towering inferno to a burnt pot-roast. Sometimes it is Thanksgiving dinner that catches on fire, ruining the beautiful turkey. Fire and skin are the running themes that posses my REM sleep cycle. The destruction is different each night, but they all add up to irreversible damage.
The night before last was so bad that I can’t believe my brain let me imagine such things. I needed to talk about it so I made myself tell my oldest daughter. It was difficult to describe because the destructive action in the dream was ME doing the harm. And, at the same time, it was me trying to repair the harmed. The dream was about a beloved pet dog. I was trying to put her skin back to together after realizing that I had somehow burned her. It was unclear how I damaged her skin, yet I had the understanding that it was me who did the damage. The part I remember clearly was trying to put her back together as if nothing had happened. It was my fault she was “broken” and my responsibility to “fix” her.
Just saying it out loud gave me crystal clear clarity. As I described the details of the dream to my daughter it dawned on me what these dreams were about. I took a quick breath as a bright spotlight shined down on me.
Here it is: The mastectomy is an act that harms my own skin and I can never repair it. It is irreversible. I can NEVER go back to the way I was. I can NEVER fix my skin. The decision I made to get rid of the cancer by “cutting off my breasts” is manifesting itself through these horrible dreams of damage and repair night after night. When I look in the mirror I see Frankenstein-ish looking scars and bruises. No wonder my brain creates such horrific stories.
Mastectomies are so emotional. Cancer is so awful. It is so sad that our alternative to breast cancer is to eliminate body parts. It is barbaric.
I know the story is gruesome, but I am a strong believer that expressing your true self makes for a healthier human being.
Thanks for reading.