A Conversation with my Son

…Which I am sharing as a way to share what happened with my surgery last Wednesday, October 14:

“How’d it go today?” Harrison asked, somewhat tentatively. He’d spent the afternoon at a friend’s and was now lying next to me in bed.

Big breath. “It was hard,” I answered, just as tentatively. And then, worried that he would take that to mean there was a new medical concern, I said more. “It’s nothing at all for you to worry about. But they couldn’t make me a new breast, so now I don’t have one. I wasn’t prepared for that. I’m very sad.”

“Does that mean you’ll never have breasts?”

 “Well, I still have one. I’ll need to decide whether to have another surgery to make me another. But if I don’t have another surgery, no, I’ll never have a breast.”

 “Oh. I’m really sorry, Mama.”

Image 35

I can’t muster much more than that, other than to say that I am grieving and I am angry and I am rather shut down from the world.

14 thoughts on “A Conversation with my Son

  1. Oh, so beautifully communicated! Your frustration and sadness, anger and confusion – all of it so well captured in your portrayal of this moment between you and Harrison. You are grace and beauty and brilliance all in one, Jenny Bender. xoxo Nae


  2. As Thomas Merton said, There is no way of telling people that they are all going around shining like the sun,” and whatever you feel right now, I am here to tell you that you and Harrison are shining like the sun.


  3. Jenny, I’m sorry that this is happening to you. You have every reason to grieve right now. Your son sounds like a beautiful, empathic young man. You must be so proud every day. Hug him and squeeze him. That’s what I did with my son. It’s what heals me.


  4. Dear Jenny I have followed your blog for a while, off and on. Many times it has been my intention to write to you. Mostly to say I admire your courage and ability to articulate your experience, that is your gift and you do it so intimately. At times I have found it difficult to read, so take it as I can digest it. Being filled with cancer literally and steeped in the cancer world constantly (even though I step out as much as I can), I have learned about establishing boundaries the hard way. So i go in and out of what I can digest, no reflection on you. Everything I read and hear about telling your story, exploring your feelings and finding your truth are t some of the most important skills one can assert. I hope it has served you well. I feel there are so many conversations to have with you that will not happen. I wanted you to know I am cheering you onward and at the same time am by your side. I have had a journey these past few months: cancer camp that put me on the Colorado River kayaking ( life-threatening) as a way to go beyond cancer, then to Rudolph Steiner Health Center in Ann Arbor for a two week retreat in Anthroposophical medicine( IV Vit C drips, mislte toe injections, liver compresses , homeopathy, herbal baths and foot soaks, massage as well as art therapy, light, sound , movement and speech therapies. Fascinating experience. Am just back yesterday from a silent retreat, imagine sitting with yourself for 5 days, intense. I am relishing in deep awareness, knowing it too will pass. Many blessings on you and your family,My LoveMary

    Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2015 21:48:24 +0000 To: maryisham@hotmail.com


  5. Jenny, I’m sending love to you and cheers of encouragement as you continue to move through this series of intensely profound experiences. You are reflecting so much wisdom, grace and strength.


  6. Oh words! Even when they seem to fail Jenny, you have found a way to say this. Beautifully. You are so generous and gracious to share this with us. I think of you often and send some cross MA love.


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