Part 11: Topless Tuesday's & Being Brave
Aaaah I have found the ANSWER!!!! It FEELS SO GOOD you have no idea. No more pain across my scars as there is no friction from even the softest of fabrics !!! You Guessed it! It's Topless Tuesday's! I actually discovered this on Sunday and I've been walking around my apartment topless, I even told my mom, sister and brother, on Sunday night that they would have to excuse me as I would be eating without a shirt on. In fact, I felt so free and more importantly pain-free, that when my friends arrived I said; " I hope you don't mind us having a topless tea party" They thought I was HYSTERICAL! I was at the point that I actually didn't give 2 Fucks! so 3 days went by of topless tea parties it was marvellous. I even FaceTimed my friend Jenny topless and said: " No wonder you were prancing around in the apartment in Israel topless! I've started going topless too! I stopped taking pain meds and it's so much better without the chafing on the scars!" She said I told you! Her good friend happened to be over that night who is also a breast cancer survivor and all three of us have had double mastectomies. We chatted and they told me even though the expanders are so sore and uncomfortable it will be worth it as my new boobs will be amazing! Then they took off their tops and showed me how happy they were with their new breasts! We laughed as we FaceTimed topless and It was so wonderful to have such amazing support from these 2 survivors on the other side of the world. Never in a million years would I have thought I could sit topless in front of my friends drinking tea after having a Double Mastectomy. How incredible! I feel SO much better the last 4 days like I'm finally back to myself a bit. I'm mobile and getting much more movement from my physio exercises.
My mom posted something on Facebook for people to pray for my healing. People from all over the world have been writing to me saying " Hi Danielle, I heard you are NOT WELL" the truth is the last few days I have felt great, in good spirits, I've never felt so popular and all my friends are connecting and getting to know each other. It's wonderful! a fabulous social tea party every day!
When they say " I heard you're Not well" I wanna say "all I have is a slight bit of Breast Cancer but I'm feeling a hundred percent! "
but instead, I write "Thank you very much for your message I really appreciate it". I've decided that I'm not even listening to people anymore about chemo, as I could feel horrible or have no side effects at all, everyone is different. I'm not gonna think about feeling crap when I'm feeling good now. It's like walking around with an umbrella in the sunshine waiting for it to rain. I will stay in the sunshine an when the rain comes, well then I'll get wet!
The worst is the BENT HEADS, yes the people who bump into you in the grocery store and do the tilted head to the side with a sympathetic look that makes me feel worse and say " Shame, I heard what you aren't well, are you ok? How are you feeling?" I don't need to feel like a sick patient, I mean do I look sick? NO, I'm Fine. so that's what I tell them. I'm good thanks. My mother can't stand it, she just turns off her phone. I think it's better to just say " I know you are going through a difficult time and if there is anything you need don't hesitate to contact me." NO "SHAME" and "BENT HEADS" PLEASE!
A lot of my friends have been writing to me and telling me how strong and brave I am and that does empower me. I guess I am strong, sometimes to my detriment as I'm the one holding everyone up around me even when I'm in the centre of the storm. I guess it's my default.
I remember when my sister was three months premature, I was nine years old and reassuring my mother that Gabi would be fine because I had been praying for her and saying the "Shema" (Hebrew prayer) every night. I just knew it in my heart that she would be okay. I could have been highly intuitive at that age or maybe it was blind faith, either way, my mother believed me and my sister turned out fine.
I am strong perhaps in the way I've lived my life chasing my dreams, moving to multiple countries, starting from scratch, facing rejection multiple times, learning to have to survive on my own and hustle!
I moved to LA at 21 and stayed with my mom's childhood best friend. I didn't know anyone in LA besides their family and in those days Tinder and Facebook didn't even exist, just Myspace. (Wow I feel ancient right now!)
I thought, " you have 2 choices, to sit at home or to go out and try to meet some people". So off I went to The Standard Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, all dolled up in a white little outfit and white ankle boots. I waited in the lobby for what seemed like an eternity dying for someone to talk to me. Looking back now I probably looked like a high-class hooker! aaah to be young and so naive!
Eventually, a group of people came over and one of the guys asked if I was ok? I told a little white lie "I'm new in town and I was supposed to meet some friends of friends here but they flaked and now I'm not sure what to do" He said, "well why don't you join us, we are going to a party" and just like that I had some new friends and started to get connected in the city of angels.
I suppose moving to New York City at 22 not knowing a single soul was a brave move. (That's a story for another post, I spent 6 years, most of my twenties living In that concrete jungle where dreams are made)
But The most terrifying thing I've ever done was Playing Evita in the first run, as an alternate without one rehearsal, not even a sing-through with the orchestra, only a technical run with half a cast. I was thrown on stage to perform the biggest musical theatre role in history to a packed house! My character Eva Peron literally leaves the stage for 2 songs in the whole musical and belts through the whole show. I was so flipping petrified that my lip was quivering through the whole of the first act. I thought if I could do that I could do anything!
t's just weird when people say "you are so brave, you got this." I mean ya I got this obvs, but it's like you just HAVE TO be brave, you have no choice! Maybe going through this process I need to learn that it's okay not to be brave all the time and give myself permission to feel crap. The thing with me is, I don't like to feel crap, do you? I' de rather try and do something and get my mind out of that place. Although it is good to have a cry and a release. Am I brave that I am going to have to go through Chemo and lose my hair?
Or is being brave the way I chose to handle this? courageously sharing my truth, my pain, my everything including my scars and my bald head when my long beautiful hair falls out. I guess that it is brave to bare all and surrender the persona that is me. Shedding the outer layers to discover the inner layers of who I truly am without that. Without my Persona Danielle Bitton - The Singer, The DJ, The Actress, The Artist. Strip it all away to discover my true essence. Shedding my old skin and discovering the new me.