“So how’s chemo going?” she asked. “How are you feeling?” I told her the truth. My truth. We all have one. They are the stories we live.
From the start, it was easy to see that around 90% of the people going to this support group are telling themselves all the same story.
It’s comprised of elements of what’s reflected to them from an external world. A world that says, “This is truth.”
The world’s story about [breast] cancer goes like this…
[ intentionally left blank so you can just be with your own thoughts and watch them race by like Malibu Grand Prix drivers in the finishing straight away bearing down on the checkered black & white flag. ]
Thank god the world’s story is not my story.
When I was pregnant with my now 18-year old daughter, I felt like it was a required initiation ritual or something, to listen to each and every other woman who had ever had a child, tell her story about it.
Each personal story filled with… well you know, horror! And terrifying “OMGs!”
Secretly I consoled myself, “Women have done this forever Mynde. It’s built into my nature.” And, always, most certainly, I would smile at each woman to honor whatever was true for her as I repeat in my head, “Not my story.”
This mantra has become my optimystical shield of sorts. Protecting a private sanctuary within. The place inside myself where I tell different stories about my life, about cancer. In fact, I’m not even focused on the cancer as much as I’m focused on where I’m going. Toward wellness.
My truth about chemo was startling to hear. For the other women gathered around, it made them stop and look at me, clearly seeking more information. More clarity. Maybe even questioning what they heard me say…
“Was she kidding?”
“Is she in denial?”
“Is she for real?”
My truth. My reality. My story… are very different from the world’s. From the story they know. Different even from their personal journeys, if we had sat down and compared notes (which is something I refuse to do because it doesn’t support me and my wellness).
“I am wonderful. I feel really good. Thank you for asking!”
I looked directly into a woman’s face I had never seen before. Two of the other women sitting between us I met at last month’s meeting. All three of them were staring at me like I had four henna-crowned bald heads instead of just one. 😉
I let the silence linger as I stared into a pair of sparkling blue eyes peering out at me over the top of her reading glasses. Three chairs away. She’s probably 10 years older than I am. Beautiful, looks physically fit. Her boobs looks nice from what I can see.
“Hi!” I finally say out loud to her, breaking the awkward stillness of everyone’s gazing curiosity.
To tell a new story in our today, in this now moment. Is Power. To realize in your next now moment, the kind of story you’re telling and, if it suits you better, changing it. Is Magic.
Imagination is our super power.
And our imagination, or the stories we tell ourselves, about the way it is and the way that it goes, have power. I talk more about the power of storytelling on my About page.
My truth about chemotherapy is that I am wonderful. There are things I could focus on that would look like a list of complaints but I refuse to go there.
“Wow, you really are so positive” says the first woman who asked the original question.
What are the alternatives? None of them I see so far are better than choosing to be positive. To be optimystical. I choose to see it no other way. It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
On Wednesday, I had a personal moment. while in the bathroom applying my mascara, the thought crossed my mind for the umpteenth time.
“they’re all gonna fall out.”
and i felt my chest heave up. my nostrils flare open. i was sucking it in.
eventually, you have to let it go. and i did. my breath. and a ton of other girlie thoughts about them.
At my first oncology visit, the nurse practitioner was gazing over the doctor’s shoulder as he did the standard health check on me. gently pressing his stethascope into my chest, she stood behind him looking directly into my eyes.
“deep breathe in for me” he said.
me: (in breathe count of 5. one… two… three… four…)
“wow, you have amazing eyelashes!” she blurts out.
me: (i know and i’m gonna lose everyone of them)… … “Thanks!”
maybe she can’t read my mind. i’m smiling.
but i think she’s thinking it too. or at least wondering if I’m thinking that I know they’re going to fall out.
Really God? a girl’s eyelashes? i’m not even over the boobs. yet.
I looked down at my bathroom sink and there sat a single eye lash, calling my name from the edge of the grand canyon.
i smiled and thought, “make a wish!”
and then began weeping. hard. and decided in that moment I would bless every one of my eyelashes.
each one that still serves me right now. i got them all (still). for a little while longer anyway.
and i thought about making this silly video with my droid last year, before i knew about all this.
My eyelashes have always won me quite the accolades. many women stare closely into my eyes, as she compliments me, looking for evidence of whether or not they’re real. “they are,” i say, or i let her look as long as she needs to if she doesn’t decide to ask.
i always appreciate the compliments. i do. i was blessed; at the moment i was born or by good DNA. astrologically speaking, venus is rising in my chart and she’s the goddess of beauty, art & love. i’m trusting the goddess will remain, through & through, as I watch her transform in front of my eyes in the coming days & weeks.
in my bathroom moment, where i was blessing my eyelashes before they fall, i sort of new instinctively, grace was here. and because i know the power of affirming the truth, of looking into my own eyes and sending grace, appreciation, thanks, gratitude…
i looked up into the mirror and thanked myself for being brave. straight in the eyes i told her, “i love you honey. you amaze me. you are so fucking brave. and i love you for that. I promise to take good care of you throughout this. and to love & cherish each & every eyelash. today’s & tomorrow’s.”
I‘m making a wish, that in every part of this journey, whatver falls out or i leave behind, i affirm my power & beauty, strength & bravery. anything i can think of will be offered in worship, not squandered in fear; not even a single eyelash.
a smile. sunshine. tender loving care from people I’ve never met. and more love from people who already do know & love me.
i’ll wish one for you if you wish one for me… deal?
Inspired by Havi Brooks, I’m gonna do a Friday Chicken. I might even ask her if she’s still using her turquoise wig, well because, it’s cute & I’m gonna be bald here real quick-like.
Anywhoodles… this is an update from Cancerville. Ya ready for cancer my way?
Sunday was Father’s day. I sailed in Long Beach with my dad. What can I say? Bliss. And just the way I thought a girl should spend the day before her first round of chemotherapy.
Monday, I met Shirley who put my “help is on the way” reframe I recently found on an Abraham video into action by squirting me full of magic healing potions. You see, I’m a big bonnet-movie girl. I love Elizabeth and all those movies about the past… and the regalia of charging horses into battle (just saw Snow White at the movies, yeah baby!) Except my men will ride up to cancer and kindly ask it to align with wellness and, if not—well, you know the fairy tales endings 😉
I also decided that my chemo mascot is a guinea pig in Florida named Bobo, who had emergency 5-hour surgery to remove a tooth that had grown over his tongue so he could no longer eat! Bobo is owned & cared for by the mother of the woman I live with. And she is a breast cancer survivor. I’m on the look out for a stuffed animal guinea pig to take to future chemo sessions.
Tuesday I visited oncology to receive a shot of Neulasta which will boost my white blood cells. Joanne is the funniest gosh dern oncology nurse on the planet. I am so crushing on how she brings me the grace in belly fulls.
Wednesday was a big day; two tests. Echo cardiogram of my heart was no big deal. I met Renee. She was pretty. And put stickers on me. But not the fun kid-kind, which we were both pretty perturbed about. “Why no Scoobie Doo for me? Where does it go when we grow up?” we both wondered together outloud.
Later, at test number two, I met Alice. She was available for eye contact and human touch as I lay on my belly and was raised up with my right boob dangling down through a hole on a table. They lassoed my breast, took x-rays to position the needle and then biopsied away. My doctors want to confirm there is no cancer here.
Thursday was hangover day. Can’t really explain it except like that. Disorientation with space & time, no matter how many naps. Lots of resting. I speak to woman about her website via Skype (she’s taking Marie Forleo’s B-School) and she has no idea I have cancer. Until I say so. Weeeeeee. Uh, yeah, please read my blog, okay? Love you!
Friday’s on my blog have usually been held open for Music Saves Me (because it does). My battle cry song as I ride down the freeway in my red superhero underwear (thank you Kris Carr for this amazing tip) is Payphone by Maroon 5. Every single time I head out for an appointment, these two things make me feel rock solid.
On a side note, we are San Francisco bound for Pride this weekend. Before all my hair falls out. I’m planning on getting a henna crown tattoo when it does by one the wonderful folks at hennaheals.com.
If you’d like to follow along with me, you can find me on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook! My shoebox of memories are being gathered up in a Flickr set called HUG MY CANCER. Remember, you can hug my cancer whenever you want. Get creative! Every tiny bit counts. ❤
Do you know how long the diagnosis process is? It’s long & hard. The not-knowing part is hard on you & your loved ones. And Western Medicine, in all of its wonderful technological advancement, is super thorough.
It’s been six-ish long weeks since I received my initial diagnosis. Really, the very beginning of a process that is requiring patience, letting go & trust.
For the last six weeks or so, I’ve followed cancer. Sometimes because I had to (which is really a choice).
Somewhere after letting go and letting go even more again… you just keep letting go. And surrendering.
After surrender, I began seeing so many things happening in the midst of this terrifying situation. Things I felt I had nothing to do with organizing or orchestrating. Things that I could clearly see & understand were for me.
And so then I became curious. Like Alice in Wonderland. Except I‘m Mynde in Cancerville.
I really want to be telling you more of this story. I imagine myself writing tiny little posts about what I consider nothing. Or trivial. But that’s me worrying about what you’ll think about it. And what you’ll label it and me. Blah bluh blah blaah pfft!
And I don’t want to push. Anything. I’m following. Not fighting, defending, or hiding. Not proclaiming war on anything. Making peace with every moment. Each step on my journey through Cancerville.
And like Alice, I will meet so many new people. People I’m destined to know, connect with; offerings of love, compassion and support. Joining together in faith & hope. Trusting & knowing with certainty our broader destiny. Toward living the rest of our humanly years healthfully, in complete wholeness and utterly transformed by the journey itself.
Are you a journey-er like me?
Of course! You may not have destinations through Cancerville (or maybe you do?)—and we can still make it all into a Wonderland—as we go, if we choose. I’m living what I’m teaching and if you’re ready for a different perspective or to see anything in your life with a twist that brings peace, I’m available for coaching sessions.
So, yeah… cancer. My life has changed in so many ways. Duh, right!? I’ve received an outpouring of L.O.V.E. Some shock, disbelief, denial even (as-in no response whatsoever from people you thought might say something).
I choose, Life is busy, for all of us.
I choose, This is hard & difficult news about someone you love & we each have different skills & tools (& timelines) for processing the information.
I choose, To see innocence. And not to judge. Because I am certain I am loved.
Hopefully since my last post though, you’ve been thinking about hugs since
my cancer manifesto is to Love it to death. Harrrrrr !!!
Not everyone is embracing this approach. Even my girlfriend stands firm in her own slogan for this adventure. In other words, her custom tee-shirt says “FUCK CANCER.”
Neither approach is wrong. It’s just that one feels more right for me. And everyone is entitled to feel however they feel about it. Shit, the last thing I need or want is someone telling me I’m doing cancer wrong.
I will be continuing to write. And do all the creative things I love doing like digital photography & design because a wise person/coach once told me ART SAVES LIVES and because I’ve looked through my camera lens enough times when it’s painful or confusing or just doesn’t make sense and found relief, compassion & empathy; and a deeper appreciation for my humanity.
I’m sharing the more intimate parts of my journey and getting support using a private group on Facebook. Thank God for Facebook (technology) and it’s ability to help me connect with and gather up my personal army of love that I call the Love Squad.
I’ve started a Flickr set called HUG MY CANCER which, for now, is my little shoebox of adventure photos.
And I’ve received some of the most amazing responses to the invitation to HUG it, and LOVE it & SQUEEEEZE it & NAME IT my divine diagnosis.
And I watch in wonder as other things simply appear. At the right time. There we are, all lined up together.
Like enjoying an arts & crafter make a bunny-on-a-swing on TV while I wait for 45-minutes for radioactive sugar to make it’s way through my body so it can be picked up while I’m tubin’ it. #calilove
Or finding myself in the hands of two of the most compassionate Doctors and their teams. My breast surgeon is as excited about his website (breastcanceranswers.com) and it’s over 240 video answers as he is about determining the very best treatment plan for my cancer.
So how is it, that this heart-centered tech wiz girl-entrepreneur with cancer gets hooked up with compassionate, heart-based & technology-driven doctor entrepreneurs?
All are welcome to my army of Love and I am open to receiving your messages.
A few days ago, I was delighted to learn a dear friend will be walking in my name at a breast cancer charity event.
Another friend texted me last night with this story:
“This is really silly but a young inexperienced girl just drove 30 miles (considered a long haul in the bay area) to buy a loft bed from us. My price was $135. She came with $35, a misunderstanding on her part. She was in tears but still I had to turn her away politely. I felt so awful I couldn’t stand myself… and decided 10 minutes later that this is exactly the opportunity for HUGGGGGGINGGGGG a stranger that I could do! I called her to come back and loaded it into her car. I love you for reminding me to remind myself how good it feels to hug a stranger 🙂 Consider that a hug from me to you!”
Or consider this video posted by another friend on Facebook.
And then HUG MY CANCER; it’s my chemotherapy of choice! Hug anyTHING or anyone (stranger or friend or family or pet or stuffed animal or tree). Get creative. Use your heart & technology and connect! Facebook, Instagram, or your own blog. You with me, me with you. Love grows and expands in mysterious ways. Trust. Believe. You are magic. Now get to concocting your cosmic love potion on me & on us all 😉
Together in one big heart,
How do you write about life-changing moments? Like… where do you start? Those biiiiigg stories. That feel like you have to reach far back in time to the beginning, instead of simply saying, this is what it is.
Stories. Our stories. The ones that happened to us. The ones that are happening now. The ones we wish & hope for which I call dreams… stories literally shape our lives. In every way.
I’ve been learning a lot about personal storytelling. And Love.
My personal story got a re-write Friday, May 4th. I have cancer. And what I know is one of the most amazing stories of my life is unfolding.
One I never thought I might be telling, not from this vantage point anyway. And here I am. Optimystical Mynde… pedallar of dreams & the magic of believing. Ironic? Mysterious? Karmic? It is what it is.
I am discovering, if I’m willing to be bravely present-moment-minded, so much of everything I’ve ever asked for, sought after or wanted
is right here.
In every tear drop. In each embrace. Words spoken and unspoken.
For today, the story about me and cancer goes like this… I’m doing everything I can to make peace with it. To Love myself. And it.
And let in the amazing outpouring of Love others are offering.
I’m certain about only a few things. I gotta share the journey.
That’s who I am.
I will continue to do what I have been doing, but in a new & different way. Because that’s what we do.
It’s how we do change.
If you’re kinda stunned right now, I understand. It is kinda like a Mack truck, huh?
If you keep reading, I’ve got an idea that I think might help us both/all.
Hug My Cancer
So, I am a believer that fairies live in the words we spell, in our language. Linda Goodman tipped me off to this language of lexigramming & I recently purchased a book called It’s All In The Name by Sharita Star who’s riffed off what Linda shared and become quite masterful with it.
I’m just starting out. And when I received this diagnosis, through snotted up tears, standing in the kitchen one night rather recently I said to whoever had ears to hear it, “I know the word GRACE is in the word CANCER somewhere!” (Even though clearly there is no G in the word CANCER, d’oh!)
But if you HUG MY CANCER, there is!
Let’s be creative.
When things get hard, it’s time to up the fun-ante (something I talk about in the first chapter of my ebook Web Presence Essentials). Sometimes, when it gets really hard and I can’t imagine what fun would look like or feel like, I think about pre-school children.
My daughter went to a pre-school called ‘Discovery Depot.’ I remember doing a lot of peeking when she was this age. In another’s care. I wanted to see her state-of-mind, her state-of-being. And get the indications “all is well in her world.”
When I close my eyes and peek in on this memory, I see children sitting in a circle, playing, interacting together, filling in the gaps of a real-time reality with imaginings & make-believe.
Be a child with me today or sometime this week.
- Draw, paint, write, digital photography, video… just hug my cancer.
- Pick up your favorite teddy bear, or your real four-legged furry friend, hug them and share the photo on Instagram or text it to me privately at 714-328-3828. And we’ll hug my cancer, together.
- Mailvu.com is super fun and easy way to record a video and email it anywhere. My email address is mynde (@) myndemayfield (dot) com.
Why would I hug my cancer or want you to? Why not? Love is miraculous. And I’m willing to receive.
Hug my cancer? Won’t you? (Really! I’m certain about this.)
Oh, and what in your life might really begin to shift & change if you decided to love and accept it, instead of fight and conquer it?
Try kindness. Try courage. Try honesty. Try hugs & smiling. Or looking up at the sky. Try not to stop the tears when they want to come. Try. Experiment. Do something different. ♥ ~mm:)