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Published by DeBorah Ann Palmer

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Published by: DeBorah Ann Palmer on Jul 02, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tribute to Thelma Rosalie Palmer 
I looked down at the angry red scar that ran nearly diagonally across what once was my right breast. Carefully almost reverently my left hand caressed the raised stitches that thedoctor said would be removed in a few weeks. I was one of the lucky few. The surgeonremoved the entire cancerous growth along with all my breast tissue. Bonus point: I didnot require chemotherapy or radiation so at least I would get to keep my beautiful salt &pepper mane.Once the swelling and redness had subsided the plastic surgeon explained to me I'd be agood candidate for reconstructive surgery. But in my musings I had already dismissedthat option. Id rather wear my mastectomy scar as an Amazonian badge of courage andhonor. I was a Warrior Woman much like the mythical females immortalized in Greekliterature.This sacrificial scarification symbolized strength and endurance. The will, no, the need togo and move forward in life. As for the pain, its not so bad, not nearly as bad as when my ex pummeled me bloody and broken with his fists when I failed to obey some orderknown or unknown. This operation was not an intolerable as the bi-weekly rapes to which I was subjected.Even now in the years since he left me on Thanksgiving Day 2007 Ive considered takinglovers, even had a few imaginary ones but the nightmare replays itself again and again in
my head. When I see an erect penis, a face appears right at the head, above the shaft. Hisface. The face of my tormentor. Sexual intercourse with him and forever more in my mindbecame associated with the lower bodily functions. Its as though men blow their nose,defecate and vomit upon you in succession. No pleasure. Only pain and moral/emotionaldegradation. You can never forgive him and worst of all you can never forgive yourself forallowing this to happen. But Im free now. This scar will protect me from furtherencounters. My greatest desire is to never be violated again.I went to the weekly meetings of breast cancer survivors. But nothing will assuage thesurvivors guilt. Guilt that I had lived but my favorite aunt, Thelma Palmer Varner hadnot. Aunt Thelma had married and divorced early in her life. Childless she devoted her sparetime to her beloved nieces and nephews, especially the children of her only brother,Edward, myself and my brother Stephen. I spent many an enjoyable weekend at herapartment in Co-op City, The Bronx. Aunt Thelma was the fun aunt. We laughed; joked,played games. She took me shopping and told the most hilarious stories. Aunt Thelma died of breast cancer. Carcinoma of the right breast read her deathcertificate. But I attributed her untimely death at age 62 to religious ignorance and blindobedience to error. Aunt Thelma a former AME turned Catholic got involved with theChurch of Christ Science, better known as Christian Scientists. Mary Baker Eddy. They are neither Christians nor scientists. Christian Scientists claim all illness and sickness isan illusion, doctors are unnecessary and all appearance of sickness can be worked out

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