Loving Ourselves into Safety


Loving Ourselves into Safety

Resilience and Strength in Perilous Times

By Lynn Grodzki

May/June 2021


I’m in the hospital waiting room, preparing to get a chemo port placed in my chest after a diagnosis of human papillomavirus–related anal cancer. This cancer emerged suddenly, though my doctor says it‘s probably been growing in me for many years. I feel alternately numb and despairing. It’s my third go-round with early-stage cancer, each disease found in a different area of my body. I wonder if I’m a magnet for cancer, and if so, why. While this cancer has a very good prognosis, my medical team has prepared me for the fact that the treatment will be dreadful. My anxiety swells by the day. I’m afraid of having cancer again, afraid of the treatment protocol, and like the rest of the world, afraid of getting COVID-19.

In the waiting room, a man sits across from me. He has a gang tattoo across his neck and inked teardrops leaking from his left eye. Bearded, with bulging muscles, he huddles close to a woman who’s whispering in his ear and stroking his arm. He looks as scared as I feel. I’d like my husband to be at my side right now, stroking my arm, but the hospital insisted that because of COVID precautions, only patients would be allowed inside. Idly, I wonder how they’ve dodged that rule.

Soon, a nurse ushers me into a more secured prep area, and the bearded man enters too, this time alone. I watch as he paces…

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1 Comment

Saturday, May 8, 2021 7:31:27 AM | posted by Nancy Barskey
Lynn, Moving, inspiring, profound. Sharing your journey and what helped you during your cancer treatments is infinitely generous. May your days and years keep you strong and in good health. Thank you Nancy Barskey lcsw