Saturday, November 9, 2019

What I Know Now: Letter to My Pre-Breast Cancer Diagnosed Self

Dear Two-Breasted Magaly,
June is as hot as jalapeños in a Sahara mood, and you’ve just received a breast cancer diagnosis. You aren’t scared. You aren’t crying. You are no stranger to serious illness. Still, I must warn you that this flesh-eating beast is going to be different from any other disease-demon you’ve had to kick in the teeth before.
No, I am not talking about the riot of side effects breast cancer treatment will brew (what you’ve read on the topic is brutally accurate: it is going to hurt, it is going to alter your flesh and bones, it’s going to seriously suck for a while). This disease will change your feelings towards certain social concepts (i.e. labels such as “breast cancer warrior”, wearing the pink ribbon).

Right now, you understand that calling oneself breast cancer warrior and wearing a pink ribbon are creative ways to fight against something too ugly to face fully uncloaked. You might be partially correct. But Im writing this letter—13 months after your breast died so that I could live—to share with you what I know now: I claim the label and wear the ribbon because awareness is a caring weapon most warriors are grateful to show and tell.

Unconditional Love (and 13 fistfuls of my liveliest cackles),
Magaly


So, there is a chance that I was not all that thrilled about going to the hospital.

 And it rained on me.

 But then, the sun came out to shine on autumn leaves (and me).


the wee notes…

- the title (and part of the post) was inspired by my reading of What I know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, edited by Ellyn Spragins

- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3

57 comments:

  1. Good to hear that you are a survivor. In all senses.

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  2. Thank you for the insights which I hope I never have to acquire first-hand. It's good, though, to acquire them this way; hopefully it helps my understanding not only of you but the many others who have this experience.

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    1. You've just described one of the things I love most about sharing our experiences. It helps others understand us and themselves. Goodness knows I've learned a lot of stuff from watching--and trying my best to emulate--the crones I admire.

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  3. A beautiful letter, Magaly. I see the transition in your concept about pink-ribbon wearers; crossing that fateful line has now made you a tribe member- waging war from the front-lines! This letter MUST be framed- it's eye-opening.

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    1. A tribe member with eyes wide open. I like that thought.

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  4. Such a courageous write and person you are

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  5. I can very well connect with your words and emotions. In my family there are two people , one of them is a cancer survivor and another one is still battling it. May all be well.

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    1. I wish, I wish, I wish that the one who is still battling can join the survivor tribe soon!

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  6. You’ve not only given me much to think about, Magaly, but also a book to add to my ‘to read’ list. I love the attitudes of both selves, the pre-diagnosed self not scared or crying, and the post-cancer self so honest and realistic – and full of cackles.

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    1. I'm glad you are picking up the book. It was such an interesting read, so very telling.

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  7. This is amazing, and I admire you for writing it... I wonder what your younger self would say about it? sometimes we need to walk the paths unknowing, since any advice on how close to the abyss the road goes. Maybe in the end it's a good thing that we do not know too much (though it sounds like you came prepared).

    I so admire your warrior soul, and wonder if there will be any road like this for me to walk...

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    1. I hope you never have to walk these woods, my friend. But if you must, I know you'd it with dignity, class, and empathy. The last bit took me a while.

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  8. Bravery shines through this letter, although I'm sure bravery was far from your thoughts when you first received the diagnosis. Onward!

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  9. Warriors have the right to claim whatever they please for their battle standard. All that matters is that it inspires them and their comrades in arms to take the next step (however small) towards where they want to go.

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    1. Can I claim Dominican cake? I want to claim Dominican cake!

      Seriously, though, I agree.

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  10. Awareness definitely is a caring weapon. You have been a strong warrior indeed!

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  11. Brave. To be so vulnerable is a great strength. Thank you for showing us

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    1. Every time I see the word "vulnerable", I can't stop myself from thinking, How so?

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  12. Kudos and thank you for writing this - and for talking about the struggle. I am quite convinced so many will take heart from your writing. More power to you.

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  13. You are brave, Magaly, and you are kicking cancer's ass. A book I have read twice, it is that good, is Natalie Goldberg's Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, about her bout with cancer. Eve Ensler also wrote of her battle with cancer - another warrior woman for sure.

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  14. I don't know what to say except that I can tell you are a strong-willed woman. I applaud you.

    Blue

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  15. Moving, powerful and beautiful letter written to a gorgeous warrior. You really inspire! Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    That book by Spragins sounds like a wonderful read. I just think the art of letter writing is one of the most intimate and beautiful forms of art. Keep writing those letters! <3

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  16. Dear Warrior Magaly, I see your first year and I raise you another! Wonderful read. Thank you for sharing this.

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  17. You are the most courageous woman I know, Magaly dearest!❤️ More power to you!!🌹🌹

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  18. I think you nailed this--from first to last--you are an amazing writer---

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  19. I used to dislike the color teal, considering it too preppy for old hippie me. Then I got and managed to survive ovarian cancer, in spite of all. I now wear teal clothes as an ongoing ribbon, a standard of survival. We warrior survivors can wear any color we damn well please, thank you. Glad you made it through the battle. We need all the warrior princesses we can get nowadays.

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    1. Now, I want to watch Xena and it's all your fault.

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  20. Incredible writing … impactful … authentic … and yes, sad … an emotion I always feel when confronted by the reality of the endless plethora of pain and anguish and challenges we human beings are put through in the course of living a life on this planet. For those going through it, personally, I have no doubt, it is an even harder truth to grapple with … and then accept …. and then come out on the other side of it … changed, I am sure, but standing tall … and stronger than ever, having fought the battle.

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    1. And I think that none of us truly know (before it happens) what the change is going to look like. Not even when we think we might. Perhaps, those who think they know how they are going to come out on the other side are the ones who know least.

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  21. Dear Magaly...You are really brave and a great writer. Wishing you nothing but the best!

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  22. Your "not all that thrilled about going to the hospital" expression also has a touch of sassy minx about it! ;) ❤

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  23. Noted. It is definitely "you". xo

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  24. You're so awesome...
    love & blessings
    ~*~

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