I attended a professional workshop last month on mindfulness. There were a number of exercises, one of which was a 30 minute long body scan. Afterward, we discussed our physical sensations as well as the overall experience in a small group. In a body scan, one focuses on and notices one body part at a time, moving to different locations in the body. I shared the observation that when we were instructed to focus on our torso that I found it difficult to shift my attention from the parts of my body that are numb from my mastectomy and reconstruction. One of the women in our group said to me, “I’ve been through that. I had a mastectomy 20 years ago. I thought my life would never be the same. But I don’t even think about it any more.”

I know that she was trying to be encouraging but my first thoughts were, “Wait a minute! You can’t take my cancer away from me!”

I hate that I’ve had breast cancer but I love how I changed my life in reaction to it. I don’t want my life to be the same as it was before. I want to stay mindful and appreciative of the preciousness of life. There’s only one person who could really take that away from me and that person is me.

I’ll keep doing my best to keep myself in line.