“What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

Colette (1837-1954)


Affirmation ♥~ Loving myself heals my life.


A deadly storm brewed as I reclined against Peter’s chest during our ritualistic nightly bath.  As I massaged him, he lathered my body with fragrant bubbles. The tranquility within our bathroom offset Cape Cod’s nor’easter building over the bay. Romantic candles and music made the squall appear benign through the large skylight. Halloween had ended weeks ago, yet the sky was still shrouded in rich costume. Black velvet clouds embraced the full moon while angry winds rattled windows and howled like hungry werewolves.  I adjusted myself in the bath to better view the macabre performance of moonlight’s struggle against darkness and waited for the storm to pass. The serenity of our snuggle-session was shattered by a single life-altering question that forewarned of a deadlier squall building within our lives.

“Kathy, what’s this hard spot?” Peter asked over my shoulder as he gently caressed my breasts with his soapy hands.

My hand followed his to what felt like a pea beneath my skin.  His voice was suddenly replaced by the memory of a dream after my recent mammogram and another “inner voice” that declared, “Get to a doctor, now!” I’d never been sick in my life. Illness wasn’t a concern. Yet, the storm had just invaded our lives.


Three days later, I had an appointment with my gynecologist, Dr. Wagner, whom I also used as my general practitioner. Dr. Wagner resembled the deceased actor Gary Cooper in both physique and demeanor.  Each time he entered the examining room, the theme song from the movie High Noon played in my head. I expected a Colt .44 slung on his hip rather than a stethoscope around his neck. “I can’t feel anything on or around your breast, Kathy.”

“Perhaps it’s easier to feel during my menstrual cycle,” I replied from a contorted pretzel position with my arm held over my head. This was the only way I could feel the damned spot. He shook his head as he manipulated the area again. I’m torn between relief and concern. Is nothing really there? Did he miss it, or were the voices of alarm in my head just residual anxiety from my mother’s recent death from colon cancer. But, Peter had felt it, too.

“You had a blood test and mammogram less than six months ago and everything was fine,” Dr. Wagner said. He helped me up and showed me a copy of the report. “I think what you felt was just a fibrous tumor that is sensitive to your menstrual cycle.  Let’s just keep an eye on it. Come back in six months and we’ll check it again,” he concluded with a reassuring smile, and snapped my chart shut. We spoke a few minutes longer about how little cancer is in my family history, and my mind wandered back to a day, not that long ago, when I had a similar heartbreaking “cancer talk” with Mom.


Her gurney had been pushed against the corridor wall as she waited for an ultrasound to see the extent of her cancer metastasis. Our last mother-daughter conversation began with, “Breast cancer doesn’t run in our family, but now colon cancer does. You must get a colonoscopy and be vigilant of symptoms.” She smiled through eyes filled with sadness, pain and love. Was her grief unwarranted guilt at having brought this dreaded disease into our previously cancer-free family?  That was the second saddest day of my life. The first was her death, two days later.

“You’re only 44—too young for cancer, you know.” Dr. Wagner’s words shocked me back to my present situation.  If he isn’t worried about this invisible hard spot, why am I?  After all, he’s the doctor, right?  I dressed and headed for home, worry free.

But, the voices from my bath refused to be silent.  They are in my every nagging thought, and daydream.  “Go back to your doctor,” they said.  I had a choice.  Let these voices drive me crazy or listen.


Join me here again for part II of this article.



This article is a compilation of context taken from the book SURVIVING TRAUMALAND: The Intuitive Aspects of Healing by Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos.




Learn more about Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos @   where you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. And join her @ & on her 3 radio shows @


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