My first client today, Rosa, was a delightful woman who had come to me once before. She is currently undergoing her last round of chemotherapy for breast cancer and next has to deal with 7 or 8 rounds of radiation treatment. This subject hits a little close to home for me since my own Mother lost her battle to breast cancer when I was about 9. After learning about my personal experience, Rosa was no longer uncomfortable about her hair loss or the instrument inserted into her breast to facilitate the chemotherapy. As a matter of fact I made a funny comment on how she should be careful what neighborhood she walks in with that red bandanna wrapped around her head, because people could get the wrong idea. She assured me that she reserves the bandannas only for more relaxed settings and that her gang bang'n days are over. She usually wears a wig or a hat when going out.
Rosa is really lucky that it was discovered as early as it was and that soon she will be cancer free. Hopefully she will remain that way. To my recollection, my mother wasn't as fortuitous. She had to get one breast removed . . . . and then the other. . . . and soon it had become too aggressive to contain, spreading to her lungs and eventually making respiration too difficult. I don't talk about these memories too often. Not only is it hard having to revisit the darkest time in my life, but I sometimes feel as though talking about it too much almost cheapens my mother's struggle. It's also disheartening to know that had it occurred in this day and age, the outcome may have been very different.
My client seemed pretty fascinated at how vivid my memories of my mother were considering how long ago she was taken from me, and she continued asking questions, which for some reason I was completely at ease in answering. I even disclosed some extremely personal details about what I remembered about her last days and even the funeral. I'm not sure why I did, or even how it came about really. It's usually the clients who find it necessary to spill their guts so to speak. We were told in Massage Therapy school about how our touch could influence people to have emotional recollections of past traumas and undergo breakdowns or full blown regressions. But they never warned us of the tables being turned. All I know is I felt compelled to share a piece of myself with this stranger. Not a complete stranger of course, for the cosmos had certainly connected us in more ways than one, but a stranger none the less.
Before I knew it our time had come to an end. It was a little awkward in parting. I wanted to hug her to express my support, but having to respect professional boundaries limits me to reciprocation and not initiation of behavior that could be misconstruedWe both had just shared things about ourselves that our closest friends may not even know, but nothing more was to be exchanged than a smile and a friendly reminder to drink plenty of water through out the rest of the day.
There is a plethora of other feelings I cope with when bringing up the past. Sometimes I feel as though my life has been wasted and I should have dedicated all my time to the discovery of a cure. I'm sure there are more productive ways to commemorate my mother's death than by buying pink bracelets and air fresheners, and participating in an occasional "walk for a cure". Perhaps as I get older I will discover other ways to offer more significant contributions. I suppose as long as my heart is in the right place, things will take care of themselves. I can only hope that the book I've begun to write will make her proud in some small way. At the very least it shall serve to continue spreading awareness and maybe even to remind so many of you just how lucky you really are.