Congratulations, You have Breast Cancer

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”
Robert Frost

It was another day on the job as a high school vice principal. A frazzled mother and her sulking teenage daughter sat across the desk from me. Mom wanted to register her reluctant moppet at this school in an effort to isolate her from the “bad influence” of  the (entire) student body of her current school. Judging by the slouch and pronounced pout on the young woman’s face, this was not going to be an easy sell.

I was just about to launch into my worn “Wherever you go, there you are” speech when the phone rang.

It was the surgeon’s office. My biopsy results were in – did I have a moment to speak? Excusing myself, I slipped into the empty office next door and took the call.

The doctor’s receptionist was mercifully forthcoming: the lab results were positive. It was cancer. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, willing my mind back into focus. I listened as if from a distance as she  quickly outlined the next steps: consultation, surgery, sending said tumour to the lab and waiting for completion of tests. Further treatment would depend upon what was revealed.

I took a moment to steady myself before returning to the “reluctant learner” and her mother in my office. My gut told me that I was on the threshold of a dangerous shift in my life. My brain coached me through the moment, pointing out that there was no reason to assume the worst.

As I walked back into my own office, I felt a strange affinity with the young woman slumped in her chair, arms crossed as she furiously ignored her mother’s admonitions. We were both about to begin unwanted transitions.


Buckle up, everyone.

1 thought on “Congratulations, You have Breast Cancer

  1. Life is like that… I wonder why it is that we so often have to be interrupted by life before we truly notice it?… Perhaps we simply don’t pay attention enough because we are paying altogether too much attention to other things… ahhh… the paradox and mystery of having been given a life to live… keep loving life even in the paradoxes and mysteries… or perhaps especially in the paradoxes and mysteries!…


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