Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Where do the wounded go?

 

Where Do They Go?

By Bonnie Annis

 

Where do the wounded go when the cut is fresh and deep? 

Where do they hide to keep others from tasting the bleeding?

Where do they go when healing begins, or when it's too slow in coming? 

Where do they go? 

Where do they go when the wound has mended? 

When scars once raw no longer weep? 

Where do they go when the pain has eased but the trauma remains? 

Where do they go? 

And when the scar is old but still reminds, where do they go? 

I'll tell you. 

They go where they've always gone, into that dark, quiet place. 

The deep space inside where warriors live. 

The place of solitude and strength. 

The place of sorrow and tears. 

The place of resilience and hope. 

That's where they go. 

How do I know? 

It's where I live. 

Day in and day out. 

Until cancer came, it was a secret place. 

But then, I received permission to enter. 

That’s when I discovered I was not alone. 

There were others. 

Invisible to me, but they were there. 

Kindred spirits.  

We were the wounded warrior women. 

The ones without choice in the matter.

But we bore our scars with dignity. 

 © Bonnie Annis 2021

Thursday, March 4, 2021

So I did a thing

So I did a thing today. I don't know why I did it, but I did. 

For years, I've been struggling to find the right prostheses. Either they've been too heavy, too uncomfortable, or too something. None of them have felt right and believe me, I have quite the collection thanks to annual insurance benefits and lots of out of pocket dollars! (Fake boobs are very expensive - normally between $400-$600 each and I have to have two!)

I don't like to have unnecessary things in my house and this morning, as I was Spring cleaning, I noticed all the unused prostheses. I have boxes of them on a shelf in my closet and drawers full of them in my dresser. What a shame, I thought, to have all those silicone boobs and not use them on a regular basis. It seemed like such a waste. 

But silicone prostheses disintegrate over time so they always have to be replaced and the breast surgeon warned me, right after bilateral mastectomies, that if I didn't replace the weight of my breasts, my spine would suffer as my body curved forward in a protective measure. So I bought the boobs every year when the insurance company notified me it was time. And my collection grew, and grew, and grew. 

It's been 7 years now and I have 7 sets of silicone boobs as well as some lighter weight poly micro bead ones and some homemade poly fiberfill ones but there have been problems with all of them, mostly with the weight. They're either too heavy or too light and then, there's the size issue. I have them from a giant B cup down to a double A. 

And that's why I have gone flat most days, especially when home. When I go out, however, I try to wear prostheses so I look feminine. During the winter, I don't worry so much. My puffy down coat and scarf camouflage my breastlessness but in the summer, you can't hide. 

Today, I got to thinking - what if I could make a camisole with built in boobs - one that was comfortable and light weight? Would I wear something like that on a daily basis? I thought I probably would so I pulled out 2 camisoles, my sewing machine, thread, scissors, and a big bag of microbeads and got busy. I was going to figure out how to make this work. 

I'd seen an advertisement a few years back from a fellow breast cancer survivor who had struggled with the same dilemma and had formed her own product and home based company but I wasn't willing to pay $150 for one product when I could make my own for a few dollars. 

Taking the two camisoles, I cut the top front from one of them and placed it over the front of the other. Pinning the cut pattern in place, I began to sew. Within a few minutes, I'd stitched around the bodice of the complete camisole and had adhered the pattern in place leaving an opening for slipping in the microbead prostheses I'd make next. 

Microbeads are nasty little suckers! They stick to everything and they're so tiny the static electricity makes them next to impossible to work with, but I did it! I got 2 breast forms made, filled, and inserted into my makeshift camisole. 

Holding the project up, I looked it over - front and back. It looked great and it had been so simple to make. 

Next came the chest test. Slipping it over my head and pulling the camisole into place, I was surprised at how lightweight and comfortable it was. Maybe I was on to something!!! 

I put my shirt on over the top of the camisole and buttoned it up. Turning side to side, I liked the profile my new boobs gave and there was no back pain from the weight of heavy silicone. 

What a relief to finally have something I could wear on a daily basis. I was so proud of myself. 

Rounding up all the silicone boobs, I loaded a box to donate to survivors who don't have the financial ability to purchase prostheses. My hope is that those boobs will find good homes and meet the needs of women who've battled cancer. 

Now that I've freed up tons of space, I feel so much lighter - emotionally and physically :)

So I did a thing, a useful thing and I'm so glad I did.



Monday, March 1, 2021

New month, new beginning


Today's the first day of a new month and I must say, I'm thankful. It felt so good to bid adieu to January and February. Neither of those months had been kind to me. 

I'm still sick. It's going on three weeks now and this junk just won't let go. I am so ready to be over it! Now that the round of antibiotics and prednisone are complete, I'm hoping and praying I don't take a turn for the worst. I'm continuing to doctor myself at home - taking lots of vitamins, Elderberry, and Tylenol. I'm also trying to get in some good fruits and veggies each day to pump up my immune system, but I can tell my body is weak and out of whack. Perhaps a good week long fast would do the trick...

It's another overcast day and it feels oppressive. Days like these make me feel sad and depressed. And since I know that, I try to counter with the weapon of joy. It's not easy to overcome depression with happiness but when you study the Word, there are so many verses about joy, it's hard not to be happy. 

Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You." What a powerful verse! Let all who take refuge in YOU be glad. Yes, that's exactly what I have to remember - because I am hidden with Christ, I have His protection and love guarding over me - that's a good reason for rejoicing. 

My word for the year was SAVOR and as I've focused on tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, He's interposed the word JOY. So I guess I'm supposed to not only taste and see that He is good, I'm also to rejoice in Him. They do seem to fit well together, don't they? 

In this crazy, mixed up world it's a challenge to seek joy but I think that's exactly what God wants us to do. When we focus on all the mess, we miss the message. He's still on the throne and He's still in control. That should give us hope, peace, and joy. 

So on this first day of the month of March, I hope you'll be a joy seeker. If you take time to look, you can't miss it. It's all around us. 

"Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say rejoice." Philippians 4:4 The Hebrew word for rejoice is gil. It means to be glad, be joyful, to spin around. And that makes me think about my childhood. 

One Easter, when I was about 5 or 6, I got a new dress with a crinoline skirt. It was so pretty and flouncy, after putting it on I began to twirl around the room. Spinning around and around, in my little black patent leather shoes and my white lace topped bobby socks, I felt special. I couldn't help but smile! I was so filled with joy! It was rare to get a fancy, store bought dresses back then. Mama made all of my clothes, but that Easter, I had a complete ensemble including white cotton gloves and straw hat. I'll admit, I probably looked like a silly, little girl twirling round and round but I didn't care! I was happy and wanted everyone to know it. 

I think that's kind of how God wants us to be - unabashedly joyful! Maybe that's why Paul says "rejoice." RE-JOICE...DO IT AGAIN! And again, and again...TWIRL!!!! Yes!!! Thanks, Lord. I've got it now. " Rejoice in the Lord always, and again...I say rejoice."




Where do the wounded go?

  Where Do They Go? By Bonnie Annis   Where do the wounded go when the cut is fresh and deep?  Where do they hide to keep others f...