Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Praise of Warriors.

A few weeks ago it was again the “What if?” time for me. What if I’m not a warrior?

It comes round once every year, or it should do. Despite arguments in favour and concerns about its accuracy and X-rays, whatever our age most women screw up their courage and book a mammogram.

Age is irrelevant, even though many women are told after 65 or 70 they do not need to have one every year. At a recent breast cancer day a leading local cancer specialist told the assembled women his youngest patient was 23, his eldest 92.

As the day for my mammogram drew closer, I admit I considered not going. Once there it was a swift process no time to read more than a few pages of my book before I was sitting, naked top half of my body barely covered in a wrap, waiting, feeling slight empty. Apart from the squishing it was soon over.

Then came the waiting and the thinking. Perhaps because I have spent the past year very close to breast cancer, offering yoga classes to ladies I call my Warrior Women, ladies fighting and surviving breast cancer, I knew first-hand what they  have been through; what they have survived.  It also coincided with the mail strike so the results letter was even longer in arriving

It gave me ample time to wonder if I would have the Warrior strength. Would I choose conventional treatment or, as several of my warriors, opt for holistic methods? Would I even have the courage to go through it all?

Yogically I know thinking about what “might be” is unproductive, a waste of energy, even against all yogic principles of living in the present moment. But we are human and I believe we should allow our minds to consider possibilities, make some preparations, just as we make wills and investments for our older years.

During the waiting weeks I mentally thanked my warriors, for the many different, but ultimately positive examples they had shared. Their cancers and treatments have varied greatly; survival years, re-occurrences, ongoing medications, reactions to treatments. The important gifts they brought to each other and to me were their determination, their resilience, and most of all their laughter.

When the letter finally came I stood outside by the mail box shredding the envelope. The words of reassurance, of relief, flooded my mind and body. I offered thanks to the Great Goddess. I offered thanks I can continue to share yoga classes for another session, welcoming more warriors, welcoming back others who are finding strength, calm and companionship in difficult times and helping them to adjust to a ‘new normal’ as my dear friend Wendy used to say.

Thank you, Warrior Women.

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