Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Heart Boobies

Acupuncture is a holistic medicine: it takes into account the whole person, i.e., how a person is affected physically and emotionally by symptoms. So I've learned to consider both aspects when listening to a patient's medical history.

My iron butterfly of a friend, who is young, recently had surgery in response to some cells that appeared to be getting out of hand in the boobie area. She said to me: "Breast cancer seems to be an emotional cancer. It seems to trigger people emotionally more than say, thyroid cancer."
Hearing about her experience I thought, "I am not exempt; this could happen to me too."
So I asked myself, how are my boobies? Physically, I've got the breast self-exam covered. Emotionally, I realized that just thinking about about my entire chest area, I had a reaction. I felt tightness in my chest and my breathing got shallow. So my internal conversation continued....I asked myself "what word would I use to describe how I feel about that area of my body?" The word that immediately came to mind was 'underdeveloped'. My rib cage must have decided it didn't need any extra padding, because it likes to be visible. I thought about my childhood. I realized that I felt Ninety percent of the people in my life were a lot older than me. Older meant taller, smarter, funnier, more important, more capable, socially adept, able to drive, make money, leave the house. From my perspective, nothing I could say or do could measure up to their wealth of experience. This feeling stuck.

Instead of wallowing here, I asked myself "What is the gift from this? How did that experience benefit me?" It took me a couple days to mull this part over. Then I it hit me that this has shaped who I am in a major way:
First, I learned to believe myself. Just because my news (learning to ride a bike, skinning my knees on a fall, etc.) was old news to everyone else, my experience was still vividly real to me.
Second, it created a sense of empathy for people's small big moments. If a 5 year old tells me the sky is falling, I'm actually interested in what they're experiencing. If you buy a new bookcase and it makes you really happy inside, I feel your joy. I know that the smallest experience can feel like a big deal.
This perspective influences the way I communicate with every single person in my life! I approach people from a lets-be-equals approach instead of I'm under par or you're under par. I value your big small moments, because those are what make up most of our existence after all.

Thank you iron butterfly! Now, I am grateful. I heart the act of heart-opening.

(By the way...A Federal court ruled this month that the 'I heart Boobies' bracelets are OK again for kids to wear in school. I hope our young girls are hearting their boobies.)


  1. Beautiful post! I hope that your friend's cancer was caught early and will be keeping her in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Thanks for this, Joy! :)
    Heather Hargrave Roberts