Tulips in bag

I’m ready for spring.

My eyes are hungry for color and bright sunny days.

It was pouring rain this morning as I took off for my walk. Half way to my destination, I decided to splurge and buy myself tulips on the way home. White, because I thought they would photograph better with the black and white film I had at home. I think I was wrong on that count. If I had known, I would have bought a bouquet of screaming pink.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Tulips 2 in Jar

I’m not sure where this saying comes from but it is something I could spend my days singing. I don’t. That would be a waste of time. I do look back but only to learn from the past as I forge ahead into the future. One of my lessons learned is to listen closely to my intuition. I think it saved my life. For me, intuition is a little voice that rises from my gut and whispers ever so lightly in the back of my head. It’s not loud and I do have to stop, quiet my soul and listen carefully to actually hear it. Thirteen years ago I wasn’t feeling well and it was that little voice that kept saying, “Something is wrong. Something is very wrong.”

Tulips 3 in JarI would wake in the morning and drag myself to Starbuck’s for a triple shot venti latte. I’d need another shot of coffee by midday to get through to the evening. I was tired. Really tired and cold, even in the summer when the temperature hit 90 degrees. I could never get warm enough especially when I slept at night. My body was gaining weight even though I dieted, exercised and walked nearly two miles or more a day. My nails were brittle as was my hair. I went to nine doctors in 4 years and all but one said it was Menopause. They would look at my age and just mumble those words in a disinterested manner. At the time, I was north of 35 but south of 43. At 43, I went to a doctor and at our first meeting I said, “I don’t want you to examine me until you agree you will listen to me. I’ve been to 8 doctors and all of them have said Menopause but none of them have actually listened to my symptoms. I know something is wrong.” Dr. Liss agreed to listen and she ran tests. My thyroid was slightly low, my adrenal glands a mess and my cortisol levels through the roof.   She weaned me off the coffee and tweaked changes in my diet. Protein in the morning was one of the biggest shifts as well as less caffeine.  Dr Liss wanted me to lower stress in my life.  I began taking yoga along with my Pilates and admit I failed at meditating.  I’ve since gotten better with my stress management.

It wasn’t until my friend Vita suggested I give up all mammal products to see what was causing the bloat that the weight actually dropped, really melted off. That’s when I found the lump in my breast and I talk about finding it here.

After all the operations, the lump itself was 3.5 inches long or for my European friends – 8.89 cm. The part of the tumor that was invasive was under 2mm. My yearly mammograms from the age of 40 on proved worthless.

Tulips close up

I was in shock over the size of the tumor removed and asked my surgeon, “ How long did I have this?” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “ We will never really know for sure. The DCIS probably formed about 10 years ago.” He folded up my file and added, “ You are fine now.” Twelve years ago is when the voice started in the back of my head. I can’t whisper shoulda, coulda, woulda. Two months before my surgery, I had a sonogram and it never picked up the lump either. I had very dense breasts.

Sometimes I shudder when I think about the details. Then I remember that I did fight with diet and exercise. Maybe that’s why it took the cancer so long to become invasive. I will never know. I do know if I had ignored all of my symptoms and  settled into the idea that they were something I needed to get used to as I aged, I would be well on my way to an early death. As for my health now, it’s good. My nails, hair and skin radiate a healthy lifestyle. My weight is something I must always watch but the bloat is gone as is the voice that comes from deep inside and whispers in the back of my head.  I like it when she is speechless.

I bring this up because I want you to leave this site a bit more aware of your own intuition. Listen for that tiny voice that seems to come from somewhere deep near your stomach. Don’t ignore it if it won’t stop calling out to you.  It might be trying to save your life.

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7 Responses to Intuition

  1. Wendy says:

    In practice, poor intuition is much maligned in our culture. You know we’re supposed to be “logical” all the time and small, quiet, internal voices aren’t logical. But really, how can our logic really comprehend all the complex ways our cells communicate – maybe intuition is just the end of the communication chain, the message having been passed cellularly (electromagnetically, chemically, whatever) until finally making its way into (sub/un)conscious awareness – if all those cells and organs are lucky, “we” pay attention to the message. Lucky you did, that’s for sure!

  2. LB says:

    I love this post (well, other than reading about your health and your fight to get healthy). Your point is so well taken and exactly right!!! On any given day, I say to the women I provide care for “don’t ignore your instincts! Just because certain tests are negative, if you continue to have symptoms, please keep pushing to find answers”. One of the other things that drives me crazy is that everyone blames everything on menopause – women and their providers alike. I’m so glad you are healthy, Mae!
    I’m going to refer to your blog, a dear friend and patient who is in the process of making the tough care management decisions about her newly diagnosed breast cancer. Knowing you have traveled that road, do you agree that I share the link after decisions have been made?

    • maesprose says:

      Yes, she needs to listen to her own inner voice and make decisions based on her own cancer story. She might be in a bit of shock as you never think it will happen to you. My friend Vita was very wise to point out to me in the beginning that my cancer story wasn’t my mother’s story nor was it anyone else’s. Your friend can stop here anytime. She can also ask me any question she wants… I know I was filled with them. I don’t give advice, I just answer questions from my point of view.

  3. Terry says:

    I totally agree. My doctors told me that I was “fine” but my inner voice told me otherwise. I went with my gut feeling, and luckily I was diagnosed very early. You always have to go with what is in your heart, it will always lead you to the right path.

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