It’s been a tough month, with one friend after another being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Most of the women are my age. Two out of five have a strong history of cancer, the other three do not. One is a vegetarian and a yogi.
Just last week, I had my own concerns about breasts and cancer when I found myself in the breast clinic of The Medical City (which, by the way, has one of the best breast clinics in Metro Manila in terms of service, equipment and bedside manners). I was waiting for my first-ever (and I’m ashamed to admit this) digital mammogram and breast ultrasound at the lovely age of 48.
My “OB-gyne” had been requesting me to get a baseline mammo (which, really, every woman must have) since age 40, but I disregarded his advice because I had heard so many horror stories about mammograms. The fears were unfounded.
“Hindi naman pala masakit,” were the first words out of my mouth as soon as plastic plates lifted and the technician was done shooting my girls.
Before my mammo, I was in the dark confines of the next room while undergoing a breast ultrasound. Lying there, quite anxious, I thought of all my girlfriends who were on the cancer journey. I’m normally quite brave about exams, but watching the technician make markings and notations, I had various thoughts—and I have one hell of an imagination.
A few minutes later, the doctor came in to do a second “repaso” of my girls. Noticing and possibly feeling my anxiety, she gently told me that everything was all clear and benign. I gripped her arm in gratitude and was so relieved I wanted to cry.
Seven energy centers
That personal experience, and having so many girlfriends now on that journey, made me read up, more than usual, about breast cancer this last week. I always like to look at illness through the lens of traditional medicine and the holistic approach as well.
One of my favorite women’s health authors is Dr. Christiane Northrup, who wrote the best-selling “The Wisdom of Menopause” and “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom,” which I must have read five times, from cover to cover, and a book that I return to now and then when I find myself, or a close girlfriend, grappling with some health issue or other.
She says that a woman’s body is divided into seven energy centers, and the fourth energy center or chakra is where the heart and the breast lie.
“The energy of giving and nurturing others unconditionally draws on all the organs of the fourth chakra, or energy center: the breasts, heart, lungs, upper spine and shoulders. But the love that makes maternal nurturance so life-affirming must be replenished regularly, otherwise it leads to health problems in those same organs…