Saturday, July 9, 2011


1. having a kindly disposition; gracious: a benign king.
2. showing or expressive of gentleness or kindness: a benign smile.
3. favorable; propitious: a series of benign omens and configurations in the heavens.

twice in my life i have had the word cancer directed at me. the first was about 6 years ago in the form of a lump in my left breast. in the two weeks it took from discovery to biopsy results i experienced a gamut of emotions from worse case to everything is how could anyone ever accept me as whole if my breast was missing...

the relief was overwhelming when the results came back benign. the gods were indeed smiling on me.

four weeks ago i heard that word again mentioned in reference to me and my body. this one was even more frightening because i really didn't know much about uterine cancer. i was scared and angry. why does cancer want to invade my reproductive organs? i realize i am no longer using them for their intended purposes because i made the decision 16 years ago that 4 kids were enough. even so- i am rather attached to all my organs and i am pretty sure they are all in careful balance with each other.  in other words i might not be using them but my body NEEDS them.

i have several friends who have had hysterectomies and they have said:

"best thing I ever did"
" I don't know why I waited so long"
" if I had it to do over I would have done it sooner"

and i'm thinking- wait a minute- i know i complain a lot about being a girl and dealing with cramps and periods and pms all that wonderful girl stuff

but  - maybe i am odd in my thinking - but i nurtured four new human beings in my uterus. whatever i ate or was exposed to directly affected what was going on in my uterus. i took this job seriously in order to give them the best chance i could to develop into healthy babies. i continued that very important job by nourishing them through breastfeeding until i felt they were ready for other foods....

don't get me wrong- i am not a granola eating, forever breastfeeding all natural earth mother.
i am just a woman. and a huge part of being a woman - for me- has to do with  the reproductive organs- all of them.

so when my surgeon - with his charming smile and pretty blue eyes says so sweetly to me that we'll just remove your uterus and ovaries laparoscopically and you'll be a little uncomfortable for a few days but recovery will be quick and easy unless your results come back positive in which case you have major surgery and we remove everything  and recovery is longer....but still you'll be back to normal....blah,blah,blah....

i'll be damaged goods.
a broken object with parts of me missing.

it's not like i am perfect to begin with. my body is a road map of my life so far-scars from my appendectomy, c-section, and breast biopsy. i'm a few pounds over weight and i have stretch marks from pregnancies and breastfeeding...all a part of who i am.

and he wants to just remove them like they are nothing.

results: benign

once again the gods have smiled on me.

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.

They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom


Jennifer said...

I love that word benign too! So glad it has applied to you in both cases. I hope you are having a wonderful, artful summer and getting lots done. A package should arrive on your doorstep next week (finally!!!) Thanks for being patient with me.

Jennifer said...

I also love that quote!! Need to copy that!!