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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Musings from the Eve

I wrote the story about Sister P after a coffee date with LJ and before I saw that PaleMother (who is this ghostly Palemother? Palemother, write to me!) had left a note on the Daily News post at the top of the screen. The date has caused confusion in the past--it's simply the only way I know in Blogger to keep a post at the top of the screen. I wanted a space to let people know when I updated the Lost and Found for the day. Hence the strange date way off in the future.

This is what she wrote:
Hi Mel,

I'm having a sci fi moment.

Just stopped in to check up on you :) ... for some reason my bookmark was messed up and it linked me to an old post instead of the current front page. So when I clicked over to Home, I checked the dates at the top to be sure I was in the right place ... For some reason the date at the top of this post is August 14th, 2008.

Blink, Blink.


For a minute there, I thought I'd hit my head.

:) Just for fun, I checked the numerology of this date-out-of-nowhere for you. ;)

08 + 14 + 2008 = 5

Five is the number of a particular Tarot card, The Heirophant (the link provides the full interpretation):

"Having created a solid foundation on which to build his future, the Fool is struck with a sudden fear. What if everything he's worked for is taken away? Is stolen, or lost, or destroyed or vanishes? Or what if it is just not good enough? In a panic, he heads into a holy place where he finds the Hierophant, a wise teacher and holy man. Acolytes kneel before the man, ready to hear and pass on his teachings. The Fool tells the Hierophant his fears, and asks how he can be free of them.

"There are only two ways," says the Hierophant sagely, "Either give up that which you fear to lose so it no longer holds any power over you, or consider what you will still have if your fear comes to pass. After all," the Hierophant continues, "if you did lose all you'd built, you would still keep the experience and knowledge that you've gained up to this point, wouldn't you?"

This surprisingly pragmatic advise releases the Fool from his fear, and he is able exit out of the sanctuary and face the world's challenges once again."
Sort of creepy, right? It was left there prior to posting anything about my trip to Sister P. Literally--I was writing the first post and that came into my inbox. So tarot cards aren't exactly psychic readings but still...

Beyond that, I think that fear describes me to a T. But that's another post.

Others have stated it and it was Sister P's sentiment as well: you do have the ability to change your future.

I asked her if I could come back again and she told me there was no point to come back quickly. "Nothing will change until you start to make some decisions." She told me she wouldn't see me before six months and even then, she would prefer me to stay away for a year or two and see how things unfold.

I went back to school and came to a decision a few months later that I would leave Massachusetts and work on my degree from D.C. She said I needed to leave everything behind in Massachusetts, but I shlepped four milk crates full of notes with me with the idea that I would get my PhD at Georgetown or George Washington. I didn't feel like I really left "Massachusetts" and the events I'm summing up with that word until I threw out the papers. We were in the middle of treatments and I knew I was never going to return to academia. Holding onto those papers felt like that bezoar episode of Grey's Anatomy: paper that was simply a blockage. Très intéressant that bezoar literally means "protection from poison" since those papers literally were poison still tying me to those events. I literally had no regrets when I heard the thud, thud, thud of papers falling down the garbage chute.

I got pregnant a few months afterwards with the pregnancy that stuck (at least until the 7th month), Was it the slot machine effect--pull the lever enough times and at some point, you'll win? Or was it throwing out a pile of papers? The scientist in me believes the former. The writer in me believes the latter. Damn me for doing a dual major in college.

Leaving and moving down to D.C. fulfilled her prophecies as did marrying Josh. I'm not even sure when I strayed from the prophecy but Sister P spoke about how one moves onto a new path and creates an entirely new prophecy with each choice. Where was my turning point? How did I end up with two children instead of one? And if I wrote it down wrong and it was one pregnancy, how do I know if I've set a new path yet and if more children will be in my future. Unless, of course, I return to Sister P. Which isn't going to happen.

Can we talk about strange coincidences for a moment? Josh kept a blog a long time ago (that is now defunct) that was semi-popular (it was pretty damn popular and written in the time prior to the onslaught of blogs, but he describes it as moderately popular because he's modest so I'm going to balance out the two extremes and use "semi"). It was read by one Sarah of Goon Squad fame. At some point, I linked to her and she ended up commenting on the post and I wrote her back and admitted that I was the wife of the man who had the blog that she read.

I was reading the Goon Squad and I clicked on a link for Team WhyMommy. Which brought me to the great WhyMommy at Toddler Planet (as well as DC Metro Moms, which is where I ended up leaving my comment). Her most recent post was about coming out of the anonymity blogging closet about her real name. And her real name seemed awfully familiar.

She wrote me back after that comment and admitted that though she had never commented, she read Stirrup Queens. Which still didn't explain how I knew her name. I quizzed Josh--he said it didn't sound familiar. I ran through a mental filofax of all of our friend's friends. Was she at a Shabbat dinner? A sukkah walk? A birthday party?

And then it hit me. Her name sat on my desk for months because three years ago, I put out a plea on a local listserv when we found out I couldn't breastfeed for Enfamil coupons and she sent me three. I wrote her a thank you using the address I clipped from the top of the envelope and that return address bit sat on my desk for several months, staring up at me every time I sat down to work.

If you don't know about Team WhyMommy, you should. Every woman should read Susan's blog, because it just may save your life. And I don't mean that in the hippie-dippy way I usually do. Quite literally, her post on her own diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer may save your life one day.

She writes

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

Please spread the word. Because this strange coincidence that brought me to this post seems too enormous to glance at and just keep walking. Her post could save your life.


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Small small world, isn't it?

Baby Step said...

I have never heard of such a thing as inflammatory breast cancer! Another thing to add to my list of "things to worry about". Ack! Thanks for telling us about it. I am going to try to tell myself that my sore boobs are from the lu.pron and not from cancer (yes, Gloom & Doom).

Bea said...

Thanks for the info, and yes, it's all a bit creepy the way these things come to our attention at certain moments. Hopefully the inflammatory breast cancer thing will *not* be useful to anyone here, but just in case, we'll still come along for the Girl-Blogger's Night In.


JJ said...

Wow....such an eye opening thing to read. Thanks for sharing this!

WhyMommy said...

I am grateful for coincidences ... I was a faithful daily reader of yours when we were trying so hard to get pregnant, and I'm glad to be back now. This is cool. You are cool.

Thanks for the shout-out.