The other day I had a biopsy. It is about that time in life I believe where my skin needs to regularly checked for irregularities. It seemed like a non-event, but for the past few days I have noticed that I have been a bit out of sorts, kind of ungrounded, spacey... one might say out of my body. I knew something was wrong but could not put my finger on it, and being an extrovert I needed to talk to someone to find out. Lucky me: I just happened to be having a conversation with friend and client Christine Page, M.D., an author, a pioneer in health care and a voice for the sacred power of women's bodies, when at the end of our work conversation I blurted out what I had hidden from myself.
I had actually spoken to her a few days before -- soon after I had gotten this procedure I told her casually on the phone that I had gotten a biopsy. She was, I thought, overly sympathetic and emotionally supportive. My head was saying, "It was just a simple biopsy. I am not concerned I have cancer," but now I understand that this was NOT her point.
But first you need to know what happened.
I showed my doctor, whom I really like, this new and odd-looking mole on my chest. She said right away that it needed to be biopsied. She left the room and came back with all kinds of tools. Without explaining or showing me anything, she went to work. First, she stuck me with a needle. Then she took a scalpel and started to cut. The next step was the cauterizing iron. All this happened within about four minutes. I swear.
At the beginning of this chain of events, something rose up inside me but did not quite come into full consciousness. She had explained nothing, so I started to ask questions as she worked -- what are you doing, why are you doing it? And there was more to tell her about my mole. But even though the impulse was there on my part, I was unfortunately unable to fully take care of myself in the moment, not able to stop the process, take my time, feel comfortable or even comprehend what was happening. There was time pressure. I could feel my doctor needed to move on to her next patient (they only get 15 minutes with each of us, and she still needed to enter the data of my experience in the computer). It was obvious that she was rushing, but I did not feel more time was mine to take.
I left the office fuzzy. It took several days for what had happened to sink in. And I think only now do I get it. Someone cut a hole in my skin. It is on my chest above my heart. To me it looks deep. I wonder if it will heal without an obvious scar. The person who did it did not really think about or understand that my body is sacred. That my skin is sacred. That it breathes for me, that it helps me to feel life. There was no real permission given, nor asked for.
I am certain to have a biopsy was the prudent thing to do. I take no issue with that. I felt the real damage was done because she did not regard me, my humanness, my vulnerability, my sacredness as she cut into me. There simply was no regard for life in her actions.
Now I know that many people go through WAY more than this. On a scale, I know this was minimal, but what came next was an awareness of other times I had done this, when I had not regarded or respected my body. When I had not taken the time to feel what I needed to feel comfortable. This has happened so often in my lifetime -- again and again. It made me deeply sad to remember this, to feel this. But through this experience I have become aware that even though I am a fiery gal and move quickly, part of me is very slow, and this part needs to be considered, needs to be protected from the pace of the culture, from the fast pace of my own mind and belief system. Otherwise there is a price to pay.
I am not angry at my doctor. I feel compassion for her, because she was trained in the mechanical model, but I write this today for myself, as a reminder that it is okay to take my time and listen to my body, even if there are time pressures and the schedules of others to accommodate. I also write this so I can remember to regard my body and all other bodies as sacred (including the earth), and to me this means be respectful when you touch.
Please share with me your experiences in this regard, especially those where you did honor yourself.
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