Do what you want with my body, but my mind belongs to no one

I grew up a little more anxious than your average kid, but never depressed. You could even say I was someone who was insensitive to others who did suffer from depression.  Until I was faced with the black hole at the end of my hospital bed trying to suck me in; that vortex is real and it’s strong. 

Round 1

After several pre-chemo bags were emptied, the nurse walked over with the ‘red-devil,’ slowly pressing the fluid through my port, gently pulling back. This was the delicate chemo-blood return dance routine I was not prepared to watch.  My anxiety turned into panic. Later that evening, I learned that trying to run away was impossible because unless you could crawl out of your own skin there was nowhere to turn -- that’s what I thought. 

For the first time, I understood how feeling so helpless could make one believe that help was impossible. That the only way to feel better was to figure  a way “out,” I mean like a permanent out, out. I closed my eyes and I saw them smiling at me. Calling me. Needing me. Their voices calling “mommy” were much stronger than any depression vortex I was up against.  So, I needed a plan because I knew that the depression landmines were real and they were cleverly disguised. 

Rounds 2,3,4,5,6,7,8…..

Week after week, I returned looking and feeling different; short hair and a thinned face to no hair, swollen and numb. At least that is what I looked like on the outside. On the inside I was free! The nurses would walk over with the bags to hang and say, “Go to your place now.”  Closing my eyes, I drifted to many far away places. I danced. I felt the grass under my feet and the breeze from the outlook on my face. I was the peaceful patient who would “disappear” as many would share with what they witness looking in from the outside. 

In my teen years, I learned the art and science of meditation to only find out later in life how to use it as a survival tactic. During my treatment, I furthered my studies of the chakras, use of music, meditation, Reiki and of course PRAYER to rest my mind. To heal the part of me that no one could ever see. To heal the internal scars that would remind me of my experience. To strengthen my voice to call out to others when the vortex pulls on them. 

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Meet the Breast Cancer Baddie

Norma DeLara is a Survivor of a three year fight with Breast Cancer, a NYC educator for the past 20 years, and inventor of the patented post-operative breast compression garment