Atoosa Unedited
Atoosa Unedited
Cancer Has Been Good For Me

Cancer Has Been Good For Me

Weird, but true assessment of the past few weeks of my life.
If my hair looks good, I will always take a selfie. I have no shame. 🤪


I’m racing to write and record this for you in the moments before my second surgery. But before I go in, I want to tell you something odd.

Cancer has been good for me.

I can’t lie. In the first 24 hours, I journeyed through some very difficult feelings relating to my mortality and how that would impact my three children. I let those feelings truly sink in and tenderize me. That felt important.

I recognize not everyone will agree with this take, but when it entered other people’s lives, I’d always thought of Cancer as an important messenger. So when it knocked on my door, I wanted to fully receive my message. What came up for me was grief. So much grief. This made a lot of sense. See, before I was separated from my husband, my mammo was all clear. So The Big C came on after the separation. I will spare you divorce details, dear reader, but ever since my husband moved out of our home, my focus has been on keeping things steady for the children. I wake them up the same way, I put them to sleep the same way, the breakfast and dinner tables are set the exact same way, our vacations haven’t changed. No matter what shit storm is happening behind the scenes, I’ve kept it all Steady Eddie on my end. I rarely let myself grieve the dream I had for our family. I wanted to be the face of resiliance. The all powerful Momma. After all, if I fell apart, it would make everything so much worse for them, right? Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter. I didn’t fall apart. That’s the path I chose. And so, perhaps, that’s why Cancer chose me. Again, maybe. Maybe not. This is how I see it. How many women do you know who’ve gotten some form of female cancer during or just after their divorce? The unprocessed grief takes a toll in my opinion.

So diving into and sitting with that abject grief felt important to me.

In meditation, we stay with the breath. But when a very big wave of feeling comes, we release the breath and stay with that feeling and allow ourselves to feel it fully.

Just after the diagnosis, when I felt that grief come on, I allowed it to engulf me (when my kids were at school and asleep, of course) and eventually, it passed. When I allow hard feelings to come in full force, they usually pass through me within 24-48 hours like a rough storm. I suspect I will weather many such storms during this process

Today, I have another surgery. They didn’t get it all the first time.

I fall into the 10 percent who need a second surgery.

Some people would call that unlucky.

I see it differently. I am lucky. They caught the problem.

Out, out damn spot.

Whether the source of the proverbial spot is the divorce or something else, I don’t really know. Whether I will ever fully get it out, I don’t know that, for certain, either. But I am committed to the exploration and understanding of my internal life in tandem with the exploration and understanding of my physical body. I believe the two are linked. Many people use the phrase, Fuck Cancer as a source of strength to fight the disease. I don’t gain strength from that personally. I do see the Cancer as a toxicity that needs to come out, but it feels like emotional waste for people who have gone through something hard.  So Fuck Cancer feels, to me, like being mad at your bowel movements. 💩 But I admit, this is a privileged POV since Fuck Cancer is intended to support those suffering from late stage Cancer, which I am not.

As for me, I will continue to rely on two things for good emotional hygiene:

1-Daily meditation. But not just a sitting practice. Every moment we are meditating on something. Instead of meditating on fear or worry, I will meditate on love. And speaking of…

2-Love. I will continue to ask for and give love freely. It’s sunshine for my insides.

I feel so grateful to the team that will operate on me today. I feel grateful to my partner, Anthony and my dears David & Karen who seem to do all the worrying so I can be my big bad Namaste self. I feel grateful to my community who love and support my family every day, including the days, like today, when I’m unable to cook or do pick-ups. I’m grateful to everyone who sent me a message of love on email, text, social media or smoke signals. My media, college and even high school besties who have reached out as naturally and casually as if it was 2000, 1992 or 1987. I love you. I am swimming in a sea of love. I urge you, don’t wait for crisis. Send a mass email to your people and ask them to send you love. Why NOT love each other up. The water’s sooooooooooooo nice in here.

And please consider this: Every so-called “crisis” is an opportunity to deepen our practice of love. That’s why I suggest a reframe on all crises. I spent the first part of my adult life going for the peaks and climbing every mountain in front of me like a beast. But today at 51, that feels so simple and well…2003. I would argue that the deepest, darkest depths we swim to determine our true triumphs. And yes, most times we are pushed to those places. Like, I wouldn’t have chosen Cancer. I also wouldn’t have chosen divorce. But good lord, I’ve gotten way more out of these challenges than I ever did when I was a career mountaineer. Back then, the rewards were fairly straight forward: Money, cache, recognition, and of course, lots of “stuff.” The rewards of this inner journey? Are you ready? Not NEEDING all that shit. In other words: Sweet Freedom. And so while I’m no longer a journalist, I am a journey-ist…and the path? Still being written. Thanks for holding my hand on this particular journey. I hope you gather as much strength from my hand, as I do from yours.

xo atoosa

Atoosa Unedited
Atoosa Unedited
When your life gets bat sh*t crazy, I can help.
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