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Healing is happening... — suzanne-mcrae.com

Healing is happening…

A week ago I underwent yet another surgery, a second time around for breast cancer. The surgeon had to go back in to remove more breast tissue to get clear margins, attempt to remove all the cancer.

Last Wednesday’s surgery pretty much went exactly like it did two months earlier at my first surgery. The atmosphere in the day surgery unit, as peaceful and quiet as it was the first time. I truly have appreciated the small-town atmosphere of that hospital. The nurse that took care of me this time, had been in the same class as both my husband and I when we were in high school a few years ago, ok well maybe its more like several decades ago. It was fun to chat about school days, and then I found out she knew my sister and her husband well, as well as several other of our family members. Small world.

The morning of the second surgery rolled around and I had been able to get myself in that place of peace and calm again like last time. Even though part of the day before I doubted very much that it would be anything like last time because I was feeling so antsy. I woke up with still some residue of those feelings that morning. I had to shake the rest off. There was no way I wanted to go into surgery feeling that nervous. As soon as I got in the kitchen that morning I began doing creative joint play movements that I had learned about back in September at a program provided at OICC for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Creative joint play has probably been “the one thing” that has helped me the most to release and unblock stuck and nervous energy in my body. It’s the silliest fun thing that I have learned how to do that truly helps me. That morning, my husband joined in with me in this fun with my daughter not too far away chuckling at us. Our silly movements lasted probably a whole minute or two at the most. It helped release the rest of the antsy feelings I had had the day before. I felt so much more ready to head off to the hospital and face this surgery.

Having the tube put down my throat once again during surgery had nagged me since I knew that I was going back in for surgery. Why? I don’t really know why. Maybe my last surgery was still too fresh on my mind.

By the time they wheeled me into the surgery room an hour later than scheduled, they still weren’t ready to start surgery which surprised me a bit. They were still scrambling around to get everything set up. I wanted to sit up and look around, but I thought it best not try to do that maybe. The only bit of anxiety I had before surgery started was when the mask was put over my mouth and nose. It seemed to be kept there for what felt like forever. Maybe this is where the fear of having the tube put down my throat was coming in? I couldn’t breathe, or so I thought and I began to feel myself panic. Then I remembered that I could turn off the panic button and instead focus on breathing deeply into the anxiety instead of fighting it. I couldn’t go anywhere so I might as well surrender to what was happening. I calmed down fast, or maybe it’s at about that point that I was knocked out completely.

In recovery, like the last time as I began waking up a wave of intense emotions came up, tears and all… this time about this damn cancer and all the fears I have that are associated to it. At my last surgery, I experienced the same thing but that time it was about my children, and the challenges they both face in life and how I’m part of that journey with them and how that can feel so difficult at times for all of us. At that point briefly tearing up either I went right back to sleep, or they knocked me out with more meds. I’m grateful that I was awake enough though to remember those moments, because it gives me more clues about just how much these things are a part of me.

After I was able to wake up, in the bed next to me I could hear the nurse talking with a young couple. They had just given birth to a baby boy, probably by c-section I’m assuming since that wasn’t the birthing floor that I was aware of. It was lovely to experience those few minutes happening next to me before mom and her baby were wheeled away, knowing that a new life had just begun… just like my life had begun at that same hospital many decades ago.

This past week I have been feeling good and healing well. Both my husband and I will often find ourselves saying, it doesn’t feel like you have just had surgery. It’s very surreal the whole thing. Pretty much everything has felt easier this time around than last time. This surgery, they didn’t have to go in to remove more lymph nodes, and that has made a difference. I had two incisions to heal from last time and under my arm being the most tender place. A few days ago, I experienced more pain suddenly but that has improved drastically since. In that 24 hour period that was more painful, I could feel the empty space where more breast tissue had been taken out. That space felt like it had nothing to lean into, but instead it was left with a hollow space and my body trying to figure out what it’s supposed to do with that and how to heal itself. This is what I was feeling and it was painful, but an ice pack and more rest brought great relief.


I feel that I am finding “my way” through this cancer phase in my life. Even on the days where it may not look like it to me or to anyone else. Those are the days where it seems messier. But deep down, I know that where it all takes me is where I need to go to clear stuff out-of-the-way. Getting through layers of underlying issues that could have contributed to the cancer in the first place is a goal of mine.

Cancer is the scariest thing that I have ever had to face, because its brought with it all the other stuff in life that I have not faced so well, like little children screaming for attention all at the same time. I often wonder if cancer has a way of doing that for most people?

So the process I’m going through to heal doesn’t always look pretty, or plain and simple with me, and that’s just how it is. I do believe that it is what it needs to be… just me, my unresolved issues, and this thing called cancer.

The most important compass for me on this journey so far, has been learning how to get in touch more with my inner guidance, the knowing, the part of me that sometimes whispers some clues, that hopefully hold all answers to my healing. I’ve learned how to pay very close attention to how I feel in my body as well for I know it holds many clues. This all feels like detective work, looking for clues and answers with no directions or map to follow. At times it feels like there’s not even any light shining on my path. So I’m dancing, with a lot of things in my life, cancer being only one of them. I’m doing the tango with all that needs to be looked at and worked on for myself right now as I attempt the best I can to peel away and let go of what I don’t need. Anyone else want to join in on this fun? 🙂

I really am trying to do the very best thing that’s for me in all of this. I almost feel selfish thinking about myself this much, so much of the time. It’s a foreign concept for me to take care of myself so much. I have no real way of knowing what the outcome of the choices that I make will have. I have to trust, to believe, that each next best choice I make is what will bring me to where it is that I need to go, or experience and hopefully that is towards greater healing.

I continue to say thank you for the support from those far and near… the prayers and all the positive thoughts sent are appreciated and helping make a tremendous difference again in my recovery and healing time.

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  1. I am very grateful to read your words. That you’re sharing your experience here has helped me a great deal to understand even the tiniest bit what you must be going through. I so admire you.

  2. Mary Dowdy says:

    Cusine Suzanne,
    I am so glad to hear that you are experiencing healing. It has been great just hearing all of your wonderful words. You are so good at writting.
    I hope that this is end end of all of your cancer scares.
    I am busy asking God to wrap his arms around for good and speedy healing and for good health.
    I love you so, so much.

    Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

  3. Annette Bourdeau says:

    You’re one awesome lady. I am anxious to see the results of what you have learned from having cancer, as it applies to the other challenges in your life. I’m cheering for you. Don’t ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself.

    Wishing you and your family all the best Christmas and New Year

  4. Barbara Michel says:

    Envisioning speedy and complete healing Suzanne!! xoxo

  5. <3

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