Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Contemplating Sources

I have enjoyed the soul searching of various forms of therapy since I was five. I love looking at myself, in deep ways. I highly suggest for you Survivors out there, to find a top notch Cancer specializing therapist. I find Janet Abrams is a huge source for me. She understands all the medications, all the emotional ups and downs, the fear, the joy, she can hear everything I say, and get it.
What I talked to her about last time is the walking on eggshells around myself that I have been feeling. How I find myself unable to cope with multi-tasking and dealing with life all at the same time since I got cancer. My plate feels full, and I long to be back in the game of life. Don't get me wrong, before cancer, my Dad said regularly to me, "There is no need to stress over it Heather, stressing over it will not change the outcome." Wise words, that I knew would sink in later in life. Like a lot later. Like, as an old lady...a lady in my 60's. A wink, and a hug to those of you at this glorious age ( I now wish, and hope I make it to that age).
So, I got cancer. And lived in the present moment, and got finally what my Dad said. I had to know live my life like that. Do not stress over anything. What will be, will be. I am not a God believer. So, to me, trusting that God will would be done. And even if I was a believer in The One Way, I would not believe God's will would be to have my immune system, that dreaded day be overtaken by cancer.
Okay...so where was I? Oh, yes...back in the present moment. So, here I am presently filled with the now known understanding and fully integrated new way of living of living in the present and taking life as it may. And find myself struggling over how to be done with cancer, how to get a divorce and move gracefully through it, how to be single, how to buy a car, how to do it all on my own, how to run a successful real estate business, and how to run a successful massage practice. There is a lot of juggling that takes place. My massage practice is in peoples homes. So I drive around all day, and in between appointments I am seeing my real estate clients, and or talking to them on the phone. Real estate on its on is incredibly stress provoking. And then I find myself working until 10 or 11 at night again, and look at myself and say, "Now Heather, this is not taking care of yourself." I get that, really I do now.
Besides cancer, besides my health, I am still Heather. And Heather, loves to work. Heather, loves to work and be busy, and I love everyone so much. What more is there than a life of service. Well, that is until I get to be a Mom, and serve them (a blessed day indeed).
I'm straying again. In therapy I looked at my stress and why is it, that when I see a simple text message or get a call, or hear my sister mention something, or how at any moment I find myself not being able to deal? I literally, have freak out inside, and start the process of calming myself back down. ( I have learned how to do this, at least).
I kept picking up my phone during the therapy session, unbeknownst to me, whenever I said the word, STRESS. And finally, I said Why is it that I keep picking this thing up? And then, I had my Ahhh-Hhhaaaa moment. My mind went back to that day, to that phone call. To those words.
Heather, you do have cancer. You need to come down here right now.
Oh, right. And then, I had everything go wrong, and then more during my treatment.
All the worst case scenarios were MY LIFE. For the first time in my life.
I have grown, in the past year and a half, to expect the worst. That the worst case scenario is what very well may happen, and I have been living with that. I have been living on Eggshells since June 2, 2008. That is along time.
Oh. Right. That is the root.
Now that I recognize this, I can heal it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Morning tea

This just happened, and its kind of funny...kind of. So I thought I'd share it.

I am sitting here in my comfy chair, drinking my homemade chai (fresh tumeric root, ginger root, tons of cardamon, cinnamon sticks, and black tea) and I ran my hand through my hair. Its soft I thought. So soft. Then I found myself saying out loud, "Are you kidding? I did chemo. I lost all my hair. I did 11 chemo. Then I did 33 radiations? Seriously? I did that?"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Darker thoughts

I have been grappling on wether or not to post a few things, but I've decided to do so since my cancer therapy. Please do not write me and be worried. I write these thoughts mainly for you other cancer survivors out there. For you to read my darker thoughts, and so that you feel that you are not on this road alone. Kind of like new mothers, how I always support them talking about their despair they feel usually because of the surge of hormones. I think if more people shared their real thoughts and feelings, we would all feel more connected.

I must preface this with: I do not have an eating disorder, nor will I ever.

One of my first visits with my Onc he asked me a few questions, and one that I thought was very odd that made a lot of sense especially being done now, is, "Have you ever had an eating disorder?" I of coarse said no. Another thought that comes to my mind in explaining what I am about to is, that during treatment I remember some Survivor writing me and saying, "If only they'd told us everything that would happen to us during treatment." Well, yes and no. It is totally not possible to tell a newbie what will be encountered because no one know how their body is going to react. But they do know that breast cancer treatment does add on pounds. I also remember a very dear friend told me at lunch during my second chemo, " You will gain 40 pounds, probably." I thought, yeah...right! Me? No, way! Well, Hell Yes, that did happen. Not because I was eating tons of food. Not the case at all. I don't really know, and maybe I will ask next appointment, but really it doesn't matter. I think it was a lot of fluid, for those of you that remember the months and months of pericarditis and pleural effusion.
I still remember last birthday, I had finished chemo December 31st, (hard to believe almost a year now. That makes me cry because I still feel there, in so many ways) and I had to wait two weeks to get my white cell counts up so that I could eat Sushi! I went for my birthday, January 13th, and by the end of the meal I could not stand up easily at all, because my legs had swollen so badly I could NOT bend my knees. My Oncologist did not catch on with this, even though it was a clue, of the pain I was soon to be in with pericarditis. Remember Survivors, they are just doctors practicing medicine, you are in Charge of Your Body.

Alright, so I'll stop reminiscing, and just say it. For months, as I lost the weight, and started exercising, I have been teetering on a tight rope of wanting to starve myself. I of coarse will not do that. But it is there. Very silently, but there all the same. Like I just have a few more pounds to loose now, and then I'll be back to my pre-cancer weight of 136. It does not help at all when people say, "you look great, you don't need to lose anymore weight." It only makes me angry inside, because I KNOW MY BODY. And I want it back. Okay, I said it. Publicly. I said it to my cancer therapist first. She understood. Done.

The other interesting thing, is being a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, I don't have the other medicines after treatment that other Survivors have. I have my diet to be attentive of, and exercise. Both of which I feel I was good before cancer. But know, its stepped up a wee bit more in the exercise department. I am now up to four miles every other day, with running. I am hoping to start running longer distances within the year. I am excited for this new change.

The other dark thing I've noticed that I only do for myself in kindof a manic way, is take TONS of photos. My friend a few weeks ago, looked through my photos on my phone and remarked, "You take photos of everything." Well, cancer changed this for me. I want to "document" my life now more than ever. I guess in a way pictures validate what I do, what I see, how I felt at that moment, or what simply puts me in awe, like spider eggs hatching. Deep down, I take all these photos, so that if I do get my cancer back, my sister and super close friends can see what touched my soul. Then they can have those photos of my life, to look at and smile. This is incredibly dark, I realize. But again, here it is.

I like this last new change, I am not so keen on the food thing. The food thing is hard. My body became out of control and I had no control wether or not I gained that weight. Now I do have control, and I just have to be gentle with myself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sheer Delight

Bundled in my robe, fuzzy blanket, and slippers, I sit drinking Lap Sang Souchang (my favorite smoky tea). It is absolutely freezing this morning here in Seattle, a whopping 18 degrees. When i was a little girl, I kept journals. I still have years and years of journals. On rainy Seaside, Oregon stormy weather days, I would go back and read, what I had done the year before on that particular frigid day. Maybe this is why I am doing so much thinking of last year, so much comparing. One thing for sure, the little type A in me has to be okay with my inability to spell. Chemo clouded this part of my brain. I am getting way better, but still it is very hard. Like yesterday I could not figure out if I should use the word "than" or "then". I have NEVER in my life not been able to figure this out. It totally makes me jump out of my skin seeing misspelled words, and all my bad grammar. I am trying to embrace this here in this blog. Free style writing....
So, yes! It is freezing. Yesterday, and many days I feel deep inside me an inner raging of delight, that is new to me. Before cancer, I was a very happy joyful person, don't get me wrong. But now, there is a waterfall of gushing energy that is at my core. Billowing from my stomach, and I am not sure its healthy. When I was on vacation, I did not notice it. I was relaxed, calm, focused on the sun, the ocean, and I slept very well.
Now that I am home, the waterfall is gently raging once again. I notice that I get stressed very easily, overwhelmed at a drop of a hat, and toss and turn all night long. I feel like I am walking on eggshells around myself. haha. But seriously. It all makes sense right? It is obvious what needs to be done, right? Like someone that has come and gone through what I just did, should in a perfect world sit on a warm sunny beach, drinking Green smoothies with an IV drip of golden cleansing whatevers, and not have any "life" stuff to deal with. I would not get bored of this in a the slightest. But, that is not life. And I am back, and at a running start of coarse. Still my style, some things do not change.
I have learned through cancer to allow people to help me, and that is what i am starting now. The little control girl in me, the girl that believes she can do everything herself, is now entering a partnership with my Real Estate and that will lessen the load.
Okay, back to real stuff. My body is awesome. A few months ago, I started running. I ran everyday, and for the first time in my life, I hurt myself. Being what my doc's refer to as "deconditioned" I had to stop running, and let my knees heal. They did. Now i am running every other day, and yoga and lifting weights on the alternate ones. I am feeling strong.
I have a core sense of self, that i had pre-cancer, but its stronger. She is stronger. I am really excited for the integration that this cold weather is going to bestow upon me. Off to do some yoga. Loving that today, I am healthy, I am smiling, I am sitting with tea and joy, and a gushing waterfall of love pouring forth on to all of you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Ocean Does Heal

My trip was perfect for me. I really was starting to wonder if I was having a harder time than I really thought I was. Starting to question the whole PTSD, thing. I think that I am fine, actually more than fine. I think I just needed to swim in the ocean, and lay on the beach, and do nothing. That is what I did, and I feel really to attack my life again. In fact, I just went for a 45 minute run, and am now making my lists for work.
This is a short post. Too much to say, and not enough patience to share it right now. I am well. Scared to walk outside, and as my friend Jenn says, "Embrace the cold." But, will do it in a moment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pick up in an hour..

If my bed wasn't littered with various clothing, shoes, hats, purses, books, and computer cords, I'd be jumping up and down on it. My vacation starts in an hour. My friend Keiko is flying down from SF, and my friend Jenn is flying from NY, and we are meeting in Sayulita. Jenn lost her sister to breast cancer the EXACT day I finished radiation, and my treatment ultimately! The days are going to be spent walking the beach, sharing, hand holding, hugging, tears, ANDDDDD TONS OF FUN!!! I cannot wait. We have yoga in the morning, then surfing all day, and I mean ALL day! I may or may not write here for a while. I need to integrate again. It is good for me to take a break from the cancer stuff. But I have a hunch that this weekend is going to a mixed bag of diving into the emotional ocean, and the actual one. Salt water can heal everything.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Survey

This morning the NY times has a great article that I will attempt to post here. I have limited techy savviness. It lead me to think of my fellow Triple Negative Sisters. I posted a new forum under Talk..."How did you find yours?" I will let you know the numbers in a few weeks.
I'm off for a walk around Greenlake. Its a blustery day here in the city.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Moments Like These

It was hard to be totally in the present moment this Thanksgiving. My mind kept slipping back to the distorted memories I have of last year. I was so incredibly sick. Just trying to get through. By this time, I'd been on the journey of Breast Cancer five months. I had been on this leg of the journey by myself in many of ways. My book will have a chapter about relationships, and how for most young woman, divorce is quite common. I don't want to talk about it here, as there are too many readers, and I want to be really conscious of it. I don't want to blurt out my feelings and dishonour his. Because, I was not in his shoes. I was only in mine. In the long run, it was a blessing. Cancer brought non-actions, words, and detachments that slashed through any cord that made us strong, which made an the ending.
I think, I have so much pain in me. Why is it that in our modern living of life we think that the end is not apart of the experience? Even the word apart. It is together. It could be a part. Together. One. One experience. Silly me, for thinking I was ready to start writing my book. Or even that I was ready to sit with myself in a place to write it, when I haven't even finished the end of the race. I mean, I crossed the finish line. I ran through my pink ribbon (oh!! that's a good idea to incorporate that into rituals for woman when they are done...have I told you guys that ONE of the many things I am going to start doing for BC survivors, is creating rituals for them to do with their friends and loved ones to mark the end).
I had an incredible week with family and dear loved ones. I drove down to Eugene, and spent a lot of time thinking. I love rode trips for this reason. Tears came and went. Once I got to my little nephew, meditating on his little ears was incredibly sweet. So little. An ache or two, or three, for my absence of a little ear. I slept next to him every night, my Sis on his other side. He is such a squirm worm!! That part is easy. That part is blood. That part, doesn't hurt. It is simply love. Never~ending.
My best friend, Gen surprised me the night before Turkey day, with a call that said, "I just landed in Eugene." What!????!!! Crazy! A wonderful surprise.
I spent a day with her. She understands my depth of loss. We spent the day with our friend Renee, who lost her mom to Breast Cancer, at the age of 13. We shared lots of heart opening conversations, to the point that I just had to stop it a few times. Being reduced to a pool of tears, is not in this soldiers desire right now.
Right now, I am just trying to become whole again. I've been living alone since June, and I threw myself into the Zone Of How Much Fun Can Heather Have At a Drop of a Hat, Constantly.
I've been living in some friends house, since they're in Singapore and this house is close to downtown which was perfect for this summer. Also perfect for my daily walks down to Lake Washington. But its their house, with all their stuff, and I am now ready to rent my own place, to wrap myself up in my blankets. January 1st, I move in. Spirit really has had me in the palm of "Yes, you are right were your supposed to be" feeling since I left D, now almost five months ago. This retreat, is going to be where I become whole again. I can grab all my fragments of self, and come together. The next month, well....in just three days, I leave for a girls surf trip to Sayulita. And then I am giving myself one more month of lots of fun, interspersed with lots of counseling.
I am seeing my cancer therapist again, starting when I get back. She mentioned that she thought I had PTSD. I dislike/hate/ignore these types of names. But if I spell it out: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...Uhhmmm..ahhh...YES! What part of this year was not full and filled with this.
I need to go get the pre-cancer Heather. I need to go get cancer Heather. And then I need to get the post-cancer Heather. And cuddle with all of them on a really soft soft blanket, and do yoga with them, and dab their tears, and hear their tears, and try to comfort them. They all are in shock. To be a soldier and pass this by would be a grave mistake. I do not want to pass this opportunity up. I deserve to be still. They deserve to be still. I deserve to be in the anguish, and the pain. This is what life is about. I am always such a bright lighted and happy person. But, I just went through hell. And hell wasn't full of roses. It was horrible. Horrible with lots of medications that luckily let me be hazy and forgetful, so that I could do another dose of toxic almost kill Heather, but for sure kill the cancer stuff.
The end is here. But I need to have another ribbon to cross. To break. There will be another ceremony. Another rites of passage I did not see, nor deem needed until this moment.
This Winter will be all about me. Living by myself, for the first time. Healing myself. That starts January 1st. December....Here I come. Mexico, Girls time...Oh! Yeah! Baby!!!! Lots of fun.
I guess there is a fear in walking into the sadness into the gray, into the rainbow of grief, that I won't be happy. I have never ever ever, ever in my life been a wallower. So I probably won't wallow. But I do deserve to be with them, and me, and witness the rebirth of my new woman. There is power in this. Instead of walking through life trying to act, react, and feel in a fragmented body. That does not work.
I am excited now. It won't all be sad, Heather. It is going to be empowering. You have another mile to go.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Attention!! I AM A SURVIVOR...

I'm up at my favorite tea shop on Queen Anne hill in Seattle, at the TeaCup. I was fine, until I decided I was ready to grab all the swirling thoughts that have been dancing around me in the past few weeks, and throw them into a ball of fury here. At which point, I sit in a crowded cafe, surrounded by young hip kids my age, holding back tears as best I can.
To answer all the questions in a nut shell, I am cancer free, I am awesome, and it was simply scar tissue.

What gets me today, is this asinine news all over the front pages of our newspapers.
Being the little cancer sharer that I am, as I was sitting in a mechanic's lobby waiting for an appointment today, surrounded by young women, I said out loud in the office, "What do you all think about the news today, about not getting Mammograms and that we shouldn't be checking our boobs because of the "fear" that this process puts us through?" Quickly, all of them started talking over each other, sharing their stories with breast or ovarian cancers in their families, their fears. I was filled with despair (for only a moment, as I know how much ass I am going to kick soon) and a feeling of what can I do, to fight the insurance companies that are so obviously pushing this "fear" tactic. In my opinion trying to save monies and push us out of our right to get these tests paid for by them, that are one of our only ways of finding breast cancer.

Yes, the mammography is not a tool that is successful in finding young women's breast cancer due to our breast density. This is true. But it does work sometimes. And sometimes is better than nothing. And..And...And...oh, I am so pissed. I cannot wait until I am grounded in my health again. Smarter. Wiser. Oh, this lioness is going to shred some heads. I want so desperately to change the face of cancer. Some tall, cute, smart, healthy, organic this and that, I got it. I found it. I found it. FOlks I found it. Where was I? I was trying on lingerie at one of my favorite little shops here in Seattle. This is a quick recap of what went on in my head that day:
Wait? What is that? That is a lump. Quickly, my mind went back six months to my yearly exam. My doctor, is a breast cancer survivor, and oh..right. She hesitated here. She did. She didn't say anything. What is that? What is this? Hmmm..I let it go for a few weeks BECAUSE SHE DID. She felt it. Its probably nothing. Right? For weeks, I walked around with this knot in my chest. Then I said something to D, as I we sat on the coach. Very nonchalantly. No need to make a big deal about it right? "Hey, I found this. Can you feel it and tell me what you think?"
Luckily he thought I should go get it checked out. If I had not shown it to him, I would probably be dead of this within the next few years. You wanna now why, I say such a definitive thing like that?
I say that because CANCER IN YOUNGER WOMEN IS MORE AGGRESSIVE. It is usually Triple Negative. Negative to all the receptors: Progesterone, Estrogen, and Her2Nu (the growth hormone in all of our bodies). These are the known food choices for these other types of cancers. But mine, like most younger womens cancer's, and women that are African American and Latina, are usually known as TN..Triple Negative for the sole reason that it is negative to all the known receptors. Got it.
Yonger woman only have ONE TOOL. One tool, to save our lives. Because doctors do not look out of the box. They do not see out of the box, even though they may EVEN BE BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS, THEMSELVES.
The box is this: Women under 40 do not get breast cancer. It is a rare 11,000 that do a year. I was one of 11,000.
We only have self-examinations. Without this, small and effective tool, there will be more younger woman dying. Already, as it is WE women under 40 years young, have a higher mortality rate. It is beacause, there are no known effective tools for our diagnosis, doctors do not send us to get checked out as often as they should when a lump is discovered, choosing instead to act like God. If I had not found mine that day, I would have quickly become a stage 2.
My lump was found at 1.8 cm's with no node involvement. My survival rates are much higher because of this. Stage 2, with node involvement or anything higher than 2 cm's, is a whole different story. Mortality rates change very quickly. That could have easily happened, before my next yearly appointment (and that is IF, they doctor chose to look out of the box at this appointment). By then, I could have been a stage 3. With mortality rates, much much much higher. As it is, when I drive down the road I like to look at all the little cars and think of my stats, being a Stage 1, I have a 1 in 6 chance that my cancer is going to come back. Look around you right now. For every 6 people around you, one of them would die. These stats are horrible. How would you like to live with that as part of your life? How would these insurance companies, these doctors, these whoever they are that are pumping out this crap advice, how would they like it if their young daughters had these odds? Simply because they did not check their breasts? Simply because the only tool we have, and they have was ignored for the comfort of sometimes needless inquiries and mammograms showing there was no cancer.
An opportunity to say, you know what, you do not have cancer. You did what you should have. You checked your breasts every month, you noticed a change. And that yes, we will do a Mammogram, and if needed an UltraSound, to now tell you dear:daughters, dear sister, dear wife, dear granddaughter, dear niece, dear friend, that you do not have cancer. Here wipe your tears here on our sleeves, that was scary. But you are healthy, you are fine. What is so wrong with this? The odds are so random. But I was that odd. I deserve to live. I deserved to not have been overlooked. I deserved my doctor sending me to get an Mammogram, but she didn't. Most young women have not found the voice that I have. I could have listened to everyone but D, who insisted I had nothing to worry about. I could have put it off. I would have died of this. As it is, I could still die of this. Cancer, sucks. It does. I want to live. I want to grow old. Luckily I did breast exams. Luckily I tried lingerie on that day.
When will the persecution of women end? When will be honoured, and cared for? When will we be held high and believed just as worthy of living? I am furious. I am in shock.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plans for the future

Nothing is better in the whole wide world, than all the love that has been directed to and for me this past year. I am in bed right now with Keiko, dreaming and planning a surf trip just for us girls. It is a wonderful thing to start planning something. To be able to get out of the present moment, and know that I am going to be healthy enough to do a trip. I feel confident that it is just scar tissue, since Dr. Clarfeld said so, and since the MRI and tumor markers are low!
Keiko and I were quite surprised at how quickly my body bounced back from this surgery. Keiko kept saying to me, and not until the third time did it sink in..but she said," Heath, your body is so much healthier now. Look, you bounced back so quickly." I was sleepy, but not like the prior surgeries. I was not sick at all, and had a really nice night. I turned off my phone, and let her talk to everyone for me. I sure have learned how to take care of myself, and to allow people to take care of me. Thank you cancer for that one! The old Heather was always doing and thinking, and doing some more for everyone else.
Off to eat a yummy raw breakfast of Chia seeds, and raspberries!

Friday, November 13, 2009

POst op

I am good. Dr. Clarfeld said, "It looks Like Scar Tissue" as he leaned over and gave me a hug. Aaahhhhh...I am a lucky girl. Whose surgeon KICKS ASS, and is so full of integrity and love for is career. Blessed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts for Today

I managed to fill pretty much every waking hour doing a massage today. Giving a total of 5, so that’s good. Driving to the island this morning, I just started crying and I cried all the way across the Sound, onto the island, and then all the way to my clients house to Maury Island.
Crying because I thought about how easy it is for anyone other than a Survivor to tell me that I should, and usually with a capitol SHOULD do chemo again. Its easy for a non-Survivor to say YOU CAN DO IT. When noone in my life, not a single person was with me for all the hell. The depth of despair, the fearful nights alone, the endless egg and toast, the endless doctor visits, each and every single radiation appointment I had to endure. I did just say, RADIATION. For some reason going through this whole thing, numbed me. And maybe, even has numbed you as a reader since you’ve been following me on this journey for over a year now.
So, I wrote someone close to me a letter today. And told that person, to not tell me that I should or shouldn’t do anything anymore. If that person really wants to be there for me, then be there. Allow me, the Survivor, the one who has to be alone during this hellish fight for my life, the respect to support my decision. To respect my choices. And to not judge me, when I say I am exhausted, and if this is cancer, #1 and #3 are still only looking good to me.
I am scared. I was good for a few days. But then I felt the lump again, and its hard, and it freaks me out. My friend Keiko is flying in tomorrow morning to be with me, and I just can’t wait to snuggle in bed and watch movies. I am really sad.
Last night I found out that a dear massage client of mine, was diagnosed with Breast Fucking Cancer. I was numb as I spoke with her. I was in soldier mode. I heard her soldier, I heard her questions, I heard her beginning the digging deep, I heard that she is still reeling, I heard me coming out of my shock induced comma to finally extend a true and honest and brave hand to her. Its time to get over this hurdle, and to join up with my beloved sisters and brothers in Cancer and start supporting the newly diagnosed and telling them what no other can do. I can look them in the eye, and tell her, that she will, (I know you are reading this dear J) but you will get through this. You can and you will. This time is for and only about you. Dig deep. Its gonna be a hellish ride, but you my love, will make it through.

Surgery tomorrow. Results next week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Okay, everything is going to be fine..I'll just blurt that out first because I know you all are wondering. And then I can explain. haha!

As I was driving to my appointment today Tamara said, "What were your tumor markers?" Well...I'd been putting off finding them out because at the end of the day, finding out before I got the surgery was going to either bring a HUGE smile to my face or freak me out even more. I was with T, so I called and found out the very awesome news that they were the lowest they've been since this whole ordeal started, a whopping 11.5. Just to give you an idea I was a 28 at diagnosis. And doc's don't really look at anything over 30 something when doing these counts, but would notice if mine were going up and up, closer to the 28 numba. But mine, are low right now, and that makes me super super super happy. Inside. Somewhere. The little hippie girl, the little girl that likes to jump rope and sing songs, the little girl in me that likes to hide behind a corner and jump out and scare my sister, that girl...was jumping up and down today when I heard that news.
But the athlete in me, the soldier in me, well she said to that happy girl, "chill out. its just a tool. A tool that can have false positives."
So...I became both girls grinning and saying to Tamara, "Its good, its good, but I can't get too excited." Just like Clarfeld, the Rock Star surgeon said to me today. These are all tools. The tumor marker test, the MRI, the yadda yadda....this and that. I get to be monitored with all these great technological tools and then, its my job to notice a change. Which I did. Which I noticed and that is why I am set for surgery for this friday. My friend Maryam is bringing me, and my friend Keiko is flying in and will be with me when I wake up. I really want my sis to be there, but that all changed when I found out I will not be getting the test results until Wed, possibly Tuesday. No need for her to be there, until then. And really, if it is cancer, which I doubt highly in this moment, then...she'll come....with NOLAN!!!!!!! How is it that I love my nephew more than her? Like he is this extension of her that is my most favoritest thing in the entire world and galaxy. Smile..smile..

I cancelled my appointments tonight, and am reflecting on this mile stone. I am learning how to be a survivor. This is huge. I am proud of myself, I say laughing full of a few measly sips of Rose, and am already giggling drunk. I am happy in this moment, I am full in this moment, I have so many friends that I love so incredibly deeply, and I am excited that this is one of those stones that I get to plant in the ground and look back someday in the near future and say to myself, "Wow! That was super scary, and look at how I dealt with that. Look at all the friends that lifted you up in your time of despair." I also cannot wait to be whole again, and turn and give all this energy, all this spastic love for life that I have with all my Survivor wisdom and give it to the newly diagnosed ones, and hold them in their despair and look them boldly in the eye, and say, " You my Love, will get through this."

I am victorious in spirit, bold in my moment, and blissed out in love.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The blank space

My mind is kind of filled with nothingness the past few days. Kind of just not sure what to do, what to think, how much to plan for, how little to plan for, so I just don't. Tomorrow, is the end or the beginning.
As I see it, its 1%. But I was that 1% once already. And it got me, that time. Its easy for people to say not to worry, but really, what is there to worry about. In the end. Its death anyways. That day that it is.
I have three options.
1. Its not cancer, and I get to go on living my little survivor life.

2. It is cancer, and I do treatment

3. It is cancer, and I do not do treatment.

I am heavily leaning to day for #1, or #3.

Mainly because I've already hit it as hard as I can the first time, I couldn't even finish all the chemo's. K, said, "you are done," So done I was. I much rather live my life as healthy and happy and feeling good with the occasional flu/cold then be sick as death again. No thank you. Once was enough.

So, I am leaning for those two. The shock that I was diagnosed with it in the first place takes away my positive thought ability, and leads me into the, WTF reality of possibility. (for those of you older folks that are not down with the WTF, it means what the fuck).
Okay. I didn't write about this little lump at all on here for a long while, I didn't talk to anybody about it for a long while, and now its out. I needed to be real about it. Kindof like the first time. I found it. Sat with it for a while. Then oh so casually mentioned it, to He who will not be named. This time, it started out not feeling like it did the first time. But months later, like 4 months later, it feels like that again.
Okay, enough talking about it. I'll know soon enough.
I am going to take a whole sleeping pill tonight. Not a half.
You know, if it is cancer, I had an incredible summer. I really did. I think, if I do have surgery to remove it, I'll wake up in that groggy place and my surgeon will say, cancer or no, and if it is cancer, I'll immediately ask for (I should ask prior to surgery for this to happen) but if it is, then I am just going to ask to be knocked out on drugs for a week. I need to. My brain will need to. And then, I can look at my two options. Sick and see how long I live, or Live as long as I can as long as I can...Mmmm..kindof sounds like a no brainer to me.

On a happier note, I get to see my nephew in a few weeks, and I am really excited for that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't push the Panick Button

I've been talking to all my dear friends/family today and its interesting hearing myself talk. Its kind of strange. How when I talk to one person I might be laughing, and the next not even be audible because of me crying. Wasn't it just the other day that I was telling my little soldier it was safe? I heard myself tell my adopted Uncle George today, that maybe this is just the life of a survivor for the first few years. Or maybe its just like this for a Triple Negative the first few years, because my odds go back to a normal persons after two more years. I've already put one behind me. I say that, as I feel the hard lump. That is what it is. I don't know, and all I have to go with so far is the technology that said its 99% sure its nothing.
I wish I could see my Surgeon today. Monday is a long way away. My friend Tamara is coming with me. My X, used to get upset when I'd ask him to go with me. He'd say, "Why do I need to be there?" But what people don't understand is that when you are freaked the hell out, my mind goes blank and its all you can do but to listen and try to ask questions. So, Tamara is going and she'll fire away at all the questions for me. If I forget. Maybe it'll be a really good visit. Maybe he'll show me my MRI and say, yep there it is. And nothing to worry about, simple scar tissue.
This is sucky. Sucky Ducky.
Well, I'm off to do a few massages and a wee bit of real estate. Its a perfect fall day here in the PNW. The trees are in their splendid glory of shifting colours and its raining.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He agreed

Well, I just left my Onc's office, and he agreed that it does feel different, and he called my surgeon. He told me, that the MRI is 99% accurate, so I only have 1% chance that it is cancer. I like those odds. My initial appointment with my favorite surgeon is on Monday, early AM. I wonder what he'll say?
That's all I have for you, for me. To sit in this moment, and wait until Monday. I am not going to worry about it anymore. Actually, the little MRI stat he gave me took away a lot of my fear. It probably is just scar tissue. I'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Panic?

I am home, trying to multi-task with all my bazillion ways to be in touch with folks online, and all I can do is keep bringing my mind/self back to the present moment, because it keeps racing ahead and freaking out about tomorrow. I wonder if there will be a time that I don't freak/panic out the day before my "check-up" appointments. I wish my sister lived here, so I could sit in her lap and hold her hand. Of coarse, little Nolan would be in her lap, so I'd have to sit next to her ( I say with a smile).
Thoughts that race through my head and not listed in order are:

1. What if the lump is cancer
2. Would I do chemo again
3. What if it disappears and I can't find it
4. Maybe I should put lotion on my boob like I did, when I found it. Would that be weird to do in front of my Oncologist? No, probably not. (Now, you gotta laugh at that one)
5. As I was getting my mani and pedicure today, I thought, "maybe this is the last one I'll be able to get for a while." Because, maybe I'll have to start treatment again.

It is very hard to stop this senselessness and bring myself into the present moment. Breathing is a good thing. In and Out. My mind sometimes feels like a wild horse, and I just put a loop around her neck, and yank her firmly, but gently back. Whhhooaaa...there!
So, all I know is that my last three month check-up I had him feel it. Or somewhere around there. I need him this time to feel it again, and to make a biopsy of it, or to at least show me in the MRI that it is there, but not cancerous. Phew. It sucks living so far away from my sister's hand. I'd squeeze it really hard right now. Can you feel it, Wendy? : )

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time to start the recovery

I am list maker, and here will be a simple list of my To Do's that I need to do for me. I am listing them here, because they will be out of the hat...

1. Call Cancer Talky-Talk Therapist~ make appointment

2. Call Fred Hutch and find out their post-cancer cleansing routine

3. Talk to my Onc about who and where he recommends I go to do the cleansing routine

4. Call my Cancer ND and ask what their routine is for cleansing

5. Call my old ND and ask her who she saw when she was done with chemo


Okay, the list is made. The list I've been putting off. Its time to stop holding my breath. I've been asked a few times if this blog is going to have an ending. I've put a lot of thought into that, and this is what has come to me, in a story form of coarse.

A few months ago, I would tell people, "Wow! I am back! I am seriously back to Heather! I feel great!!" But in reality, a week later, I would feel even better, and more whole. Three months later, I can tell you that I "100% feel like Heather, now." But really, do I? I am coming to realize just how hard this was for me. I got done with treatment, left my husband when I was healthy enough, and then had a summer of reconnecting with the Heather I have always known. Seeing all my friends and loved ones. There was an intense celebration, at the end of the finish line.
Like my friend said to me the other day, that has run 6 Iron Man's, he explained to me how he felt at the end of one. As he was running the last two miles, the sheer energy from the crowds was enough to catapult him to the finish line, at which point he collapsed into the arms of the two volunteers.
I think its my athlete in me that keeps comparing what I just went through to some sport, but there are so many similarities. I got to the end of the finish line, had a party, and now, I need to heal. I need to let my muscles and my mind, come back to a non-fatigued, state.
And so, this process, this ending, this last chapter of my journey to health, well...I'm still on it. Its just as much a part of it as any other part so far.

I do feel great. But there are times in my Hummingbird self, that are blue. That are sad. I lost a lot. Mmmm... A better way to look at that I think is, I surrendered a lot. It was a choice. Yes, I like that much better. So readers, I will be writing for a while longer.
I am contemplating turning this blog into a book, as is. Many of you have requested just this. I poo-poo'd the idea. But am starting to see it.

Off for a run. I get to go for a run! Yipppee!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Falls call

What a whirlwind of a summer. I find myself this fall, having random flashbacks of events from last year. Like yesterday, I was speaking with a friend who has taken a role in my life as a Great-Aunt, and we were talking about the West Seattle Junction Halloween party for young kids. And suddenly I was taken back, to hanging out in my office in West Seattle, at Keller Williams with my friend Kristen and her young daughter. I was too sick, too weak to walk around with them., so I just hung out in the office and watched all the youngsters in their adorable costumes. I was so sick. Ugh! I had lost my hair and I was just trying so hard to "do" something that day. Its hard to not cry thinking of that time. I would not want anyone to go through that. Ugh! I got through it. I am and we are stronger than we can ever imagine. Which brings me to the other day at my Acupuncturists office.

As I laid on her table with all the needles in me, the lights were turned off, and I went into the Savahsana mindfulness, and my Spirit said to me, "Hi, Soldier. There you are. You can relax now. You are safe. Be still." And all I did was weep. But then the needles started hurting so I stopped, LOL. I realized in that moment, that yes, I have had to be a Soldier to get through this. A fierce soldier. A fierce athlete. A fierce everything. Its time to be softer on an energetic level now. But the Soldier keeps fear at bay.

I have been wading through the feelings of fear the past few weeks. Slowly since my ritual, it has begun creeping up and flittering about in my psychic fields. I am safe, in the present moment. That is all we ever know, right? My three month appointment is coming up in a few weeks, but I have been a little panicky so I am going to see my Onc on the 4th instead. There has been a little lump above my scar and he felt it three months ago. But I have felt it again, and it freaks me out. I need him to just do a biopsy of it, so I can let go of any fear around it. Its one thing for him to say its scar tissue, and yes I did just have a free and clear Mammo and MRI, but still...there's no problem with double checking, or for that matter triple checking.

Where the fear also comes from is my initial doc missed my lump. She dismissed it as just a cyst, or whatever it was she thought because she never told me. She simply hesitated over it, and kept going and then said I was good to go. She was the first lesson I learned in that Doctors are just people, practicing medicine. And it is up to us to be our own advocates and I want the lump/scar tissue biopsied, end of story.

I honestly 100% believe the acupuncturist is going to get my moon to come back. My ovaries felt really warm for the past few days, and I just have a good feeling about it. She told me to eat lots of meat, and to stay stress free. Of coarse the Cancer ND's tell me stay away from meat. And my Onc tells me, no red meat, but to eat anything else...except sugar.

Which brings me to my newest thought about this NO sugar diet. Okay...so..if cancer feeds on sugar because it runs faster than anything else in the body. So when you have a sugar spike it jumps on that and has a feeding frenzy like a shark to a nice bloody tuna head. But....that shark had to be in the water in the FIRST PLACE. Just having the bloody tuna head does not cause the shark to suddenly be made and plopped into the ocean.
You are following me right? Eating Sugar does NOT cause Cancer to begin. If I have cancer still after all that chemo and radiation then I still have cancer, in its microscopic form. And the sugar will just cause the cancer to speed up, but not create it in the first place.

So....that is my newest thought.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The anger of Blood

Okay, yesterday as I was massaging I revisited the hard part of my weekend. The hard part being the part that I had the base emotion of anger when hearing about woman laugh and joke about their menopause symptoms. Hell..I laugh about mine. What more can you do right? But in the care, in the safety of others that have been through it, I was able to be in the anger. I say as tears stream down my face. Its not quite time to do a ritual about my chemopause. Because I still am in belief that it is Chemopause, and not menopause. This morning I woke up to my ovaries feeling really warm.
But back to the safety. I could miss the opportunity to get real with myself. But luckily I am looking at it. I want to be a mom more than anything in the world, well...besides getting to be healthy for their lives (of coarse there is a their~I want twins....). This has been the hardest part of this whole, "Heather, you have cancer." Thing. And now its a, "Heather, you HAD cancer." And I just simply want my life to be back. I want my ovaries to work. I want to sweat again. Funny thing at the retreat, I found out that I am not alone with that one. There are others that have never starting sweating in their arms again. I have not under the right one.
So...The Anger..deserves to be capitalized. It deserves to have an alter made for itself. And it deserves to be acknowledge so that I can get to the real feelings of sadness, despair, hope, and trust. I just need to trust. If it doesn't come back, I have those little frozen eggs. And if those don't work...there are lots of fertility options and then adoption...but I really want to have my own, in some form.
I am so thankful for Casting For Recovery. I feel like I have been walking through a jungle to get to a lake, for nine months, or however long its been that my moon went away. Now, I am standing at the lake, just looking at it. And all the feelings that I have about my moon going on vacation, swims in the lake. CFR allowed me the space, the grace, and the ungrace, to finally see myself at the waters edge. Each day, I now need to look for a rock that speaks to this pain, and start piling my rocks into a pile, and talking to the rock that I place there. Sharing my pain, sharing my wishes. I need to let go of this grief. I am scared to. Maybe more scared than anything so far on this journey to health. I have to use all the lessons Cancer taught me to get through this. Time to surrender and to open my palm even more, and just love myself and be with myself. Be with my ovaries. Be with my blood, that circulates through my body. And a famous sentence my Dad always says, that has been so helpful during this past year pops into my head again, "Heather, there is no reason to stress over it, stressing over it won't change a thing."
I am heading out to Vashon in a few hours. I am going to start my rock pile out there next to my favorite pond. Fisher Pond.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So sad to leave

I'm sitting next to the large fireplace in the center of Sun Mountain Lodge. I don't think that Casting For Recovery WA could have been set in a more scenic tranquil location. What a weekend! I am full of gratitude, a new craft, and lots of healing. To be heard, to listen, to be understood at times by a simple whimper, to understand a simple whimper, and to be brought to tears from another's saddness/grief/dispair/anger/shock....was moving.

The staff touched my heart in all of their unique ways. I feel incredibly blessed that I got picked for the retreat.

I am suddenly being filled as if I were a child going to sleep for Christmas eve, filled with fly fishing possibilites. Like Kyacking and fishing, like hiking into a remote lake and fishing, like fishing in the middle of a river with a bikini top on....I can't wait!!

I have to drive all the way home now. Not looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


As I sit here, trying to find the starting part, a flood of images and thoughts rush past my eyes. I guess I'll start with the homework assignment. Each participant is required to draw, or what have you, something on a square cloth that will be made into a quilt of our class. I wrote a poem of coarse and it read:

A common thread
tied into
A common knot

Well, today I learned how to cast my rod in a various of ways. I learned about knot tying. I made a few bugs/flies. Really cool ones that made me scream out, "Its a caterpillar!" I am the youngest one here, by far. That sucks shit. I hate it. It makes me angry, I say with tears streaming down my eyes. There are lots of moms here, there are grandmothers here, there are woman that have lived a life that are here. I have lived a life. But not as long as them. I want to be a mom super badly. And hearing them talk/complain about their hot flashes, they are able to laugh about it. I can laugh about mine. But its not the same when a guy I am dating says to me as I am repeatedly taking on and off a sweatshirt, "what, are you in menopause?" When, the joke is not a joke. And I say yes. I want to cry when that happens. And I do sometimes. Because menopause to me, could possibly mean the end of a life long dream. I never dreamed about my wedding dress. EVER. Even the owner of Cicada, Elizabeth who is a friend and who is the one who made my dress for me realized when I could not figure out what I wanted the darn dress to look like. Because frankly, I just wanted to look hot. I didn't really care, never thought about it. But having kids. Being pregnant. Doing the ritual to ask the spirit to come into me. GIving birth. Breast feeding. Comforting my child when sick. Teaching my child how to ride a bike. Making cupcakes. The whole thing. Every second of every possiblity of being a mom, I HAVE THOUGHT AND YEARNED ABOUT IT, MY WHOLE, LIFE. And I am going to add a Goddamnit at the end of that sentence. So, to hear woman talking about their menopause, here its a bit different for me.
But, it is still a common thread.
The day before I left to come here, I made an appointment with a well known acupuncturist that has good results for woman in bringing back their moon. It is my first very, very brave step in not ignoring the fact that I have not bled in months and months. I miss it. I miss doing ritual with my blood. I miss my blood.
I am loving this retreat. There is something to be said about being around a group of people that have had or are in the midst of a life changing profound nightmare. I am understood. There is grace. There are common words, common feelings, common lessons, common everything. A sense of belonging does not exist, but simply a depth of compassion that is hard pressed to find outside of the commonality. I will say though, that I have been incredibly blessed to have a handful of friends and a sister that does get it. That has understood me. And have held my hand, and my tears and my fears as they have over filled my cup and carried me away down stream to a place I never dreamt or imagined I'd be.
I love each of the woman here. I have had a super fun day learning with them. I have met knew friends and am really enjoying the fact that we all have a common thread.
Tonight there was a circle with the groups counselor. She would pose a question like, How does your family deal with pain? Or how did your family and friends react when you told them? Or, how has sex changed since your diagnosis? All questions that allowed each of us to share, and to bawl.
I am realizing that there are parts of me that are still in shock. I just can hardly believe it. And then again, I can totally believe it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Casting for Recovery

I'm feeling the old writing bug gooshing through me right now. I'll probably start writing often this weekend. To go back about 9 or 10 months ago....And for those of you that are Golden Girls fans....Picture it, it was 2009 I was in my month 3 or month four of laying in bed straight. Sick as unimaginable, sick as sick gets, watching or trying to pass the time, or trying to feel normal, simply to find things to laugh at by watching The Today show. There was a segment on Casting For Recovery. A fly fishing weekend for woman with or having gone through Breast Cancer. That was my bag. I knew it, I knew I had to go. It quickly became a goal of mine. Once I got well enough, I printed out the application and sent it off. I called every once in a while to find out when they were going to announce the prized winners of the lottery style drawing. For months and months, I simply told anyone and everyone that in October I was going to go to this fly fishing workshop. I did not leave any room for the possiblity that I was not going to get picked. I was. That was it.
I DID!!! I got the letter in the mail and I have been looking forward to this day for months. The Washington state workshop is being held at the coveted Sun Mountain Lodge. I didn't want to carpool with anyone. For a few reasons. One, I wanted to cry if I needed to cry. I wanted to sing loudly to any music I wished. I flucuate between Country and AC/DC at any given whim. I also just wanted to be by myself. This vacation, this trip isn't about anyone else but me. Every other crazed adventure I've been on this summer was about seeing family or best friends. This one, just me. For me. About me. To me. Back to Cancer.
Well, Hello Cancer. There you are, I said to myself as I sat in a room full of courageous beautiful woman this afternoon. After we'd all filed in and put on our name tags. FYI, I never ever ever wear a freakin name tag. I first of all don't like being told to do so, and I hate conforming to mundane things like this. But today, I put that tag on, with a little hesitation. But quickly, let it go. I didn't have to worry about people thinking I was anything other than who I am. I could let my name tag guard down, as I and am surrounded by a bunch of woman that KNOW ME. Without knowing me. They love and I love, without a word.
So far, the experience has been wonderful. I have stayed away from any "cancer groups" as I've heard they are usually full of those that are the "poor me's". I can't stand that.
Casting for Recovery seems to have 14 woman, that are adventurous, fun, loving, deep, super fun woman. That I have to get off this computer and go downstairs and have virgin drinks with. haha...
I am looking forward to this with so much joy. As I drove up today, I saw the sign, CASTING FOR RECOVERY on the outside of the lodge, and I just wept. My Tribe was inside. The knew me. I had the image of a hand, and I was in the middle of the palm; supported with knowing and love. I had a doozy of a summer "pretending" to be "normal" and going back to life. THis is a great opportunity to go back to the Cancer Heather, and do the homework I need to do. LIke be with her. She's full of lots of sadness, and joy , yes! I have wallowed in the joy this summer. Anything and everything, I mean everything that was a possiblity, I did it. Seriously. The fun was had. Now its fall. Now its fly fishing ( a sport that is relaxing and one that I can do with just one person) and its time to be still. Its a great intro to begin writing again. Of coarse I couldn't start writing my book until after the adolescent puberty like explosion of a summer, and now fishing...fall winter..
I'm Home. Home is where the heart is. Aaawwww...Heath..there you are.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Battle Wounds

September was a whirlwind and October is already half way over. Each day is filled with times of reclaiming Heather. Reclaiming her and integrating Heather. The new and old.

Like today, I took a five mile walk, as yesterday I went for a run and lifted weights so I was trying to be gentle on my knees. Strangely, my knees had a hard time for the first time ever, in my whole life. I realized that running everyday is not good and that I need to be slow with the running again. So, I'm trying to do every other day. On my walk, I noticed the fall leaves and the spiders living in their new spun homes. As I walked my brain had a flashback of last Autumn. How the very bald head seemed to find every unseen spider web and how happy I was this year to be blissfully in lala hair zone and not know about all the spider webs getting caught in my SUPER curly hair. The longer it gets the curls just get curlier. The phrase "chemo curls" seems to have been coined due to my hair! I am absolutely loving having hair. Each day, I bound into the shower to wet it, no need for shampoo yet, and rinse out the day befores product, and then put more on it. I love the smell and the ritual. My eyelashes are not fully in and that is starting to drive me nuts.

The other thing that I realized today as my friend felt my port stitches (the stitches we removed the other day), is that its a little rough. She mentioned that there is vitamin E, and whatever else stuff. I intterupted her and told her that I don't want to use anything. The hippie girl in me knows about all that stuff. I told her, that with all this cancer stuff I just don't want to use anything alternative. Not that Vitamin E is alternative. But I just DON'T want to use anything. The scar is what it is. Its rough. Its my battle wound. It helps as I run my fingers across it, to remind me that yes, indeed what I have gone through is and was real. It was rough. It will heal. It will move on. It will be whole again. Forever changed. Forever different. But it will be smooth again. And I don't want to pretend or take away anything from it. That is where my medicine went into my heart and healed me. I want it to be a reminder. For that delicious day that I am full of health and living the life that I get to live. That. One. Day. In. The. Future.

I had a dinner party at my house tonight. I made soup, Made a plum cobbler. I am eating sugar. Some would say, The Devil. I am not going to go without everything just out of fear. If eating plum cobbler, or drinking wine, or having a cookie makes cancer come back and kill me Some Day...then...it does. Who knows. We all are going to have to die. Some Day. Some. Day.
Life is full of those thoughts lately. That someday. There is a ton of sadness. I am full of sadness. Less tears. More just integrating right now. I am not as manic. I am sleeping. I am loving, EVERYONE deeply around me. Its interesting seeing who can take it in. Who cannot. How those that can't make me want to give more or to totally remove myself. Knowing full well, that in the end, it and none of really matters. Because of that some day. Those that are in my life now, will be..until they are not. Pretty simple.
I need to start writing my book. I am hoping for a respite soon. Loving deeply. Feeling deeply. Heart wide open. Loving myself a TON. Loving feeling alive. And loving those spider webs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Nana's Tribute

Well...My Nana passed away and here is what I wrote for her funeral. She was an incredible lady.


As the sun rose on my flight to Memphis, the thought came to me that everyone on the plane, we all in this church today, get to experience all of our experiences in these once in a lifetime moments. Once the sun rose, the beautiful sunrise was over, bestowed upon me, the start of a new day. Never to be taken back, never to be done over, never to be felt quite the same way, as we do right now.
Right now, I stand before you as my Nana had gone over with me ten years or more, ago. The meaning did not mean the same thing to me then. The meaning did not feel the same way to me. I had not lost her yet. I had no idea how I was going to feel, this one day, this day, that she spoke about, to me. How she wanted me to stand tall and shake each of your hands and to thank you for coming here today to honour, her honour.
Thank You.
My Nana was my best friend. She was, from the youngest of memories I have.
As a young child I always looked forward to holidays, and the one that is coming up, is the one that I remember today. Halloween. She would come over for the pumpkin carving party, Wendy and I always vying for her attention. Somehow she always made each of us feel like we were her favorite. I hope that someday I am granted the honour of being a Nana to my grandchildren. May I remember how she did this with such grace.
My Nana taught me many things. As a child I always looked forward to going to her house in Surf Pines, to work and do things for her. Now that I look back, I’m pretty sure it was her that was working, picking up after me, making me food (her crazy concoctions of jello and vegetables that I loved simply because she’d made it), and the way she was so incredibly present with me; enabling me to feel like I was the center of her world.
One of my favorite things I would do for her was chop wood. She taught me how to do this, and to this day this is one of my favorite things to do. She even taught me how to stack wood. But the biggest thing she gave me was a work ethic. I always looked up to her, and loved to help her out at her house or in her store.
Whenever I am in Seaside I stop by the shell of what was her store. Teena’s shoes and gifts was a steadfast symbol of Seaside for over 20 years. I always hated when she wasn’t around and had to go to Lincoln city, to her other store. I missed her terribly. And the times that she would allow me to go to Market with her and shop for her upcoming seasons clothes and shoes, was always so much fun.
We used to take walks, endless walks to me it felt as a young child, hand in hand on the beach. We would talk about everything, and anything. I will miss this. She is the only person on this planet, besides my sister Wendy, that I have been able to share every thought, every feeling, every single thing that makes me tick, and to be understood. I may have shocked her…but my Nana..she used to shock a lot of you..she understood me. I will miss this.
I will also miss, riding with her in her car, listening to Alabama over the 8 track, years later the cassette player, and years even later… the CD player, driving to watch the surfers surf..and listen to me tell her about things. She taught me as a young adult, that we are never too old to learn from each other. May I remember this attribute. May I, as I grow old remember to look to the youth in my life, and be open as she was open to me, and to learn. I believe this is one of the reasons my Nana remained young..She was not afraid of change. But taught me to embrace it.
She was my best friend. And I was the sunshine in her life. Since Wendy isn’t here today, I can say that…but really we all, were her favorites. In our unique ways.
As an adult, I spent time with her, but the times that really molded me were the times on the Oregon Coast. She taught me how to set a table for a party, she taught me how to sit and how to eat like a lady, she taught me everything that I feel is good about me. She taught me how to live the life I want, and to not be afraid to go and get it, she taught that anything I want I can get it and do it, she taught me how to love deeply.
My Nana and I shared a special bond. We share, and shared, and will share, until I see her again, a love for life. A hold no barres way of life. A bring it on, and lets roll with it way of life.
Thank You, Nana for giving me these lessons. As this past year may have been harder for me and maybe I wouldn’t have gotten through it with as much grace as I did, if it hadn’t been for you being my role model.
This past year, I did not see her as I was battling breast cancer. I was sick in bed for months on end, and too weak to drive the 4 hours to see her. She was there for me. I would call her and just cry. I would tell her how hard it was for me, and she would just listen to me.
One of the last lessons she taught me, I think unbekownst to her, is that we all have troubles. They are all the same. My battle with breast cancer, and her’s just lying in bed and not living the life she wanted. Hardship is hardhship. I will miss her being able to help me grow as a human being. I will miss the lessons and the love. I will miss being able to pick up the phone and call her. I will miss her calling me Sugar. I will miss all of these things.
But I must say, that though I will miss her..I am happy for her. How lucky it is that she got to choose her time. That she was done, and so she moted it be. As I take my walks on the beaches of the world, I will think of her. She will always be just a breath away. When I need guidance, she will be there, just a thought away. And the day I get to hold my newborn babe in my arms, she will be there in the child’s first cry. AS, she is everywhere, and in everything to ME, from now until the day I get to hold her hand, and walk on the most magickal beach in some distant land.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall breezes

I'm sitting here in my house in Madrona and re-reading my recent blog posts. This has been something I've done from the beginning. I read, and re-read and read again. Its beginning to feel like a distant nightmare, that triggers tears and belly cries. I cannot believe it is the end of September. My last blog entry I was in Northern Cali, in St. Helena visiting my dear friend Keiko who, even though she is younger than me, and a strong Capricorn woman, she often plays the part of my bigger sis in my life. I called her today, and told her how much I needed that trip. I was literally the tasmanian devil whirling around and around. The Tasmanian Devil, while doing yoga...and listening to tango music..The good thing out of that trip, was that I had a few nights of real solid sleep. With sleeping pills, but at least I slept.
But really, I couldn't sleep, I was as manic as manic gets, and she helped ground me out. I began doing yoga again, we drank lots of yummy Rose` and I started the long process of get grounded again. I was grounded before, but there was a harnessing of my new powers that needed to take place. I think being done with cancer treatment, at least for me, and coming back to a place of good health, feeling good, a sound mind, just was a spinning tornado of energy and love. Incredibly powerful time. I came home for a short time, and had a week of doing a bazillion massages and tons of real estate, and then was the port removal. On the 18th.
The sad thing that happened before that was a phone call from my Dad telling me that my Nana is ready to die, and doesn't want to eat anymore. I rushed down to Seaside to spend a few days with her, before surgery. Then the day came, the port removal day!!
Tamara got to my house at 5:30 AM, and even though all the neighbors were sleeping, I opened the windows from the top floor and hollered out a YIPPPEEEE!!! She ssshhhhed me with laughter and I ran down to greet her again. The removal was a biggie. I was letting go of my security blanket. Very strange that it turned into that for me. I miss it. Mr. C saved it for me. I have it. I haven't looked at it yet though. As I was in the room waiting to be brought into surgery. I missed my soon to be X, and I missed his mom, my mother-in-law for life. She has been an amazing love of mine and a treasure that I will never lose. I remembered how scared of all the unknown I was a year or so ago. July 1st, 2008 my port was put in, and my cancer removed. I had no idea how big it was, or where it had gone. I had to surrender to the unknowns and be. That was hard. Surrendering got easier. But that was a sad day. I remembered how my Dad showed up, and surprised me.
I got out of surgery, and was not sick at all. Thank God! I found out this year that I have my Nana's body chemistry and am allergic to most pain meds. Last time I puked and puked and puked some more. No fun. This time I opted just to take Advil, which I didn't even need. No pain. Really. Tamara and I layed around and slept. I slept and slept and slept.
Sleep starting getting easier for me after the port removal. I can actually say, that I am now sleeping at least 9-11 hours a night, with no aids.
I made myself stay home the next day. I did nothing. I read, I played on my computer, and that was it. I drank lots of tea, and relaxed. The following day, I drove down to Seaside. I basically have spent the last couple of weeks off and on there. My Nana passed away a few days ago. I wasn't there. I didn't want to be. I said my good byes, and I just am not good, even with all the facing death stuff, I am not good with queasy icky body deteriorating stuff. I didn't want to remember my Nana, in icky ways. She was always such a lovely person. I wanted to think of her in that way. She was okay with it.
I have been hiking tons, in my hometown and surrounding areas. Playing with lots of my childhood friends that have moved back to the Coast, and driving tons. I am really not looking forward to again, tomorrow driving back down to Seaside, after my big day in court with D, getting a divorce, and waking up Wed. to my Nana's funeral. I have to drive back Wednesday, as I fly out in the wee hours Thursday for my Nana's funeral in Tennessee, wehre our entire family lives.

Life is full right now. LIfe easily gets swirled into being ungrounded, as I am re-learning how to juggle life. But really, I feel like I am doing awesome. Who else can face, ending cancer, getting a divorce, and losing their most loved person in their life within 2 weeks and not be a crumpled mess on the floor? ME!! I am well. Of coarse life is full and crazy, and I just keep reminding myself that this will pass. As I walked around Greenlake today, I welcomed in the fall as I kicked an Oak leaf that had made its way to the ground. I am looking forward to my fall relaxation and soup time. Making soup for me, for my health, and for no one else. Just me. I'll probably make less, or invite friends over to eat with me. I am excited to slow down and to start reading my blog and writing my book. September was not the month for starting something new. It was a month of letting go, with love and full surrender, all of which I was able to do with grace as cancer made that possible. Thank You, Cancer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ending of Summer '09

This summer is shortly coming to an end, in just a few weeks. Its been a summer of change. Most importantly reconnecting the “old” Heather, pre-marriage-pre-cancer, to the “new” Heather.
Last night, my dear brother friend David, had a sweat lodge at his house for me. In the sweat, I thanked Spirit for giving me the lessons that I learned from Cancer. How I learned to open my heart to a depth that I did not know existed, to those that love me. I prayed that I may stay in the present moment, which enables me to feel this love from my friends, and allows to me to give my love authentically. I truly am a blessed woman, with so many friends all around me. Raising me up, and supporting me on my life’s journey. I have a lot to be thankful for.
This trip to California was pure love, pure vanity ( as I went shopping and went out lots, which enabled me to feel vanity rise inside me once again). It’s a wonderful thing to be a woman, and to again walk with confidence that is held and supported with pride. Before cancer, I would have noshed this, possibly thinking, in the back of my mind, how shallow it is of me to feel that way. But now, I just love it and embrace it and am so thankful for it.
Then again, I can do that and the very next night, sit up in a sweat lodge and pray and sit on the earths soil in reverence.
I got three pimples on this trip. I laugh and point them out to my girl friends, because its my body trying so hard to start work again. I even started sweating, only in my left underarm, not on the right yet. The right side is where the surgery was, where the cancer was, and where they took the lymph nodes out. I think that side of my body is still in shock. I feel my ovaries get warm off and on, but nothing yet.
In a few short weeks, I’ll be divorced. I’ll be Heather MacLean, again, instead of Heather Bakstad. I can’t wait to have my maiden name back. A sad change. A change. A grateful change.
I’ve been noticing how the “new Heather” processes change. Change on any level really. Its way different. I don’t get as sad as before (not that I ever was a sad person) but I just don’t get caught up in the “resistance” to change. Change occurs more rapidly now. I see that something isn’t working, and wham..done. Make the change, instead of sitting in front of the change for a long while. Starring it in the eye, and dragging it out.
Now, its over. Now, Its time to move on. Now, its time to live the life I want, right now. I don’t hold back how I am feeling with anyone. I tell everyone how much I care about them, how much I love them, how much I like to hang out , ect.. I am not going to miss an opportunity to be in the present moment and to share how I am in this world, because of social barriers or social walls. Or peoples unavailability, due to their vulnerability issues.
I find the dearest of friends, are able to accept the love and give it back. And that is really the defining experience in my life this summer. I no longer will hold myself back, and miss out. My choice is to love. My choice is to live. I will let people around me choose how present they want to be, and how open they want to be, and how vulnerable they want to live their lives. That’s about it. Pretty simple. Pretty real.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Surgeon

I honestly, was totally annoyed that I had to go see Dr. C, my surgeon before he took my port out. I just wanted to make the removal date, and just go get it out. But no, no procedure without the preliminary appointment.

As I sat in the lobby, I realized that I had not been there since the beginning. For an entire year really. This time I was alone, and I quickly became attuned to the fact that the two women in the lobby were alone as well. A business woman in her attire, down to the leather briefcase, making phone call after phone call. Literally cancelling everything in her life, to make her surgery "fit" into her life. I grabbed a tissue as I could not help but cry streams of tears. For her, for me, for every single woman. That hears the words, Yes. You do have cancer. And your life is now DONE. You must stop EVERYTHING, and go to surgery, NOW. The shadow of a woman, whose life was shattered, and making phone calls crucified me today.
Then, the other woman trying to make sense of directions for what lot she needed to park in the day of her surgery, and me remembering how confused and overwhelmed I was with those same darn instructions.

Luckily, they called me into a room right then. As I was quickly deterorating (fuck! I still can't spell...damn chemo)!!! I told them how sad I was getting, and the nurse replied that this morning was very hard for her too!

Then entered one of my favorite people of this whole year, Dr. Clarfeld my surgeon. We gave each other a hug, and I was reminded of what a sweet and caring professional he is. He asked me how this years been, and I simply just broke down. I started crying, and crying, and crying. Those tears have not been on the surface lately. He told me as I grabbed the tissue, we have lots where those came from. I couldn’t believe I was crying. Well, I could. What am I saying. I just didn’t think I’d cry in there.
I thanked him for setting the stage for this year for me. And reminded him that when he walked into surgery, before I was zonked out, he announced and asked,” Ready to be cured?” This past year, I was able to go back to this “cured” mind frame, and find a small piece of belief and comfort in the idea, that I was indeed “cured” already. And that the hell I was enduring with chemo, was strictly a preventative measure. He told me, “well, I can’t say that to everyone.” I love him. I truly do.
I quickly understood the importance of the pre-port removal visit. It’s a huge deal to get it removed and we talked a lot about my feelings with it. This type of medicine is so profound. Doctors who actually take the time to ask important questions, who have the time to listen, and to take time to really care for their patients. I am so lucky I found my Rock Star Team!
Before he I left, I had another breast exam, he said I was great. He also told me that I needed to get a Mammogram before the removal. Defiantly I responded, “It didn’t show my cancer in the first place, the only thing that saved my life was getting the ultrasound. I want one of those.” He explained, that he understood where I was coming from but finally helped me to understand why its important for a young woman to get one. He said that I should also get a Breast MRI, but that the Mammo will show any calcifications that wouldn’t show up in the MRI, so that they know what’s what.
He told me I had to get this done before my removal. Just in case. Yes, of coarse there is always the just in case. Does one allow the just in case to reside on the shoulders? Keeping constant check? Hell no.
As I pondered this decision, I looked up, in the room of a breast cancer surgeon, was a picture of a woman breast feeding her child. I thought that shouldn’t be up on the fucking wall. Most woman with breast cancer, get it later in life. After they’ve been blessed with this experience. But there are young woman like me, who possibly are having this life time dream of mine, ripped from my grasp and so..I started to cry more.
Enough said with that. There have been times as of late, that my moon comes for a minute. Seriously just a minute. Am I ovulating? Who knows? My doc’s have no clue. My fingers are still crossed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Exploding Love

I have always been a high energy girl! Like those of you know that have read this blog from the get-go, I never crawled and at 7 months I just got up and started running, and screaming of coarse! I'm still really vocal, and still full of energy. But not like the past few months. I'm not sleeping very well at all. I toss and turn and finally get out of bed in the middle of the morning. Thank God for my new addiction, FaceBook. I would described myself, and did to my Onc the other day as maniacally enjoying life. He said, " how about taking sleeping pills a few nights a week." I balked at that idea, but honestly its starting to sound appealing. I told him that I am taking 1/2 a one every few weeks just to get one night of solid sleep. He said he doesn't think I can keep going at the pace that I am, without sleep. That makes sense. No one could go for very long, even if they were a coach potato with the amount of sleep I am getting.
What wakes me is my little hummingbird just whirling inside of my chest and I find myself wanting to jump up and down on my bed with sheer delight! YOU GUYS!! I AM BACK, AND I'M FEELING AWESOME!!! This is possibly one of the most exciting times in my life. When I was married, I shut out all but a select few of my girl friends, and this summer being as my friend Emily always sings to me over the years when I am single, "free and single, she likes to mingle, she lovveess the part-y liiiffeee." Its true. Cancer, forced me to open my heart to all of my friends again, and now that i am all done, and single, they are all still rallied around me and I don't have a spare moment without one of them loving me up! So I get to love back, and be loved, and I couldn't be happier.
I find myself driving down the road and I start crying (a manic sign....who knows-maybe its a coming to life sign) because I am simply exploding with love.
I have not called (because I've been having too much fun) Dr. K's office to get my tumor marker numbers. They are of coarse good, other wise he would've called me. I have it in my to do on Monday, so that I can keep track of my numbers.
I told Dr. K that he should not refer anymore patients to the dip whit cardiologists I had been seeing. I told him my new one rocked, he agreed. He asked my what about her I liked, and I made him laugh out loud when I said, " You know, all the cardio's I had seen were just guessing, and telling me they were guessing. With her, even if she didn't know what to do, and even if she is guessing, she didn't tell me that. She allowed me to feel safe, and that I was in competent hands."
Which leads me into the thought I've (one of many-one reason I don't sleep) been having. There was a study done years ago, with children with cancer. The study did a visualization with the kids while they were getting their chemo that Pack-men were eating up their cancer. And then every night their parents would lead them through the same visualization. The kids that had this done, survived 50% more than the other kids.
Which made me think about how dip-whit cardio, who will not be mentioned kept telling me he had no idea how to treat me, and "this is where art and medicine come together", and a slew of ridiculous stuff. He freaked me out. He made me not be able to trust my body. I tried really hard. But honestly I felt like I was a walking time bomb.
Visualization is an awesome thing. And I just live my life like that. I always have. I think it started with sports. The night before a game, I'd visualize me playing, ect..It works. It does. Its time for me to start having faith in something again. This is kind of one of the hardest things for me right now. I am a deeply spiritual person. But this foundation of mine got shattered. I still believe everything I did, before cancer. But now, I also see that possibly all the faith and visualization in the world, still doesn't change one's Karmic path, or ones whatever. However, we as humans use words to make it okay to go through tough times.
The other hard thing is vanity. It was NOT hard losing my hair. When I did, I was in the beginning of a race, and I knew what was a head. I knew I had to let go of everything. But now, that I am done. Now, that I am starting to run again, and exercise, and laugh, and feel awesome, I want my long hair back. I am actually loving that its growing. But at the sametime, hating how short it is. And it is SUPER, SUPER curly. Its those chemo curls!
I'll leave you all with an exploding love for life, and go out there and do something fantastic just for you, today!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2nd follow up

I'm starting to get a little nervous for my oncology appointment tomorrow. Its been over two months since I saw Dr. K. I know I have nothing to worry about. I really do know this. But as I write those words I think, bullshit. I really have no idea. There sure can be a lot of hope and a lot of hippie "good" thoughts but really, who knows.
I've been listening to what I say to people lately. How it is that I talk about cancer or dying or living. The thing that I hear myself saying the past few weeks over and over, is basically. You know, I have and you have no idea when our time has come. And I can hope that I stay cancer free, and live a long life. Because I want to grow old. I want to have a family. I want to teach my kids how to ride a bike and push them on a swing and laugh with them and cuddle with them and dance with them. But, maybe I'll die soon. Maybe I could die. Yes, I will she says. Someday I will die.
What's up with all the fear around dying. What's so UN-P.C. about freaking acknowledging this basic freakin' fact. I am, I will repeat, I AM going to die. Someday. Some Day. One Day. One moment. One second, I will take my last breath. We all will, so what's wrong with stating the fact.
Well because we live in a society that beauty reins and botox keeps old age puffed to its preened state. I hope I get to live a long life. But I get to dance with the beauty of the fact that I could go to my Onc's, in a year, or as the case could be, tomorrow, and my cancer numbers could be high and I could start this whole damn process over again. I have enjoyed the past month taking a break from writing and thinking about this. Not that I don't think, because I do, constantly. Its more thought of when I speak to others about my process at the moment. So, yes, I go to my Onc's office for my bi-monthly check up.
My little hiatus is over and I've pushed "cancer" into the corner in the top floor of a twelve story building and I have had to go up there and get the little bundle and walk back to the main floor with it. I am just about to begin the process of sitting in my little beach cabin I've rented on Vashon, starting September 1st and reading my entire blog from beginning to end. I think there will be a huge box of kleenex and my computer to get me through.
I can't wait to start writing my book and finishing my healing process in this way.

So....tomorrow...9:20 in the AM I go in. Get the port flushed, for the last time as mid-September I get it removed. I've asked my friend Tamara to come and be with me. Hopefully I don't get too sick from the operation meds and we can watch the first season of True Blood. I am excited.
But back to tomorrow, I am not looking forward to the flushing of the port, smelling all those icky smells. A friend asked me where on Madison the cancer institute is. I told him, Madison and Disgusting. hahaha! It grosses me out driving by it. I am going to run to my appointment tomorrow and then run home. I am excited. I have moved to Madrona, so from my house its 2.4 miles. I am excited. I can run there and back. I have been running every day for a few weeks now and have started lifting weights as well. I canNOT WAIT to have a hard body and feel my body's strength as I walk and play again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer meanderings

It’s been a while since I wrote in here. I have been living life. Living again. At times it feels that this past year didn’t even happen. This morning marks the second day that I have gone for a run. I have lost almost all my chemo weight, just five more pounds to go. My hair is growing, at a snails pace. I am in between being about to use a palmade and a more viscusy hair product.
I was looking in the mirror this morning and saw my port. Its kindof one of the last things that I need to do to be done with all this. There is a safety in having it there. It kindof feels like an implanted security blanket to me. My friend. I can’t believe that I became so close to it. I can’t believe what it did for me. I wonder if my surgeon will allow me to keep it. I set the date for removal for Friday of labor day, and then realized its labor day weekend, and must cancel. I am going to have entirely too much fun, fun doing what I have no idea, but I don’t want to be laid up in bed for one of the last summery weekends in Seattle.
Figuring out who to ask to come and be with me for the removal and post-operation is a biggie. It is a milestone and a marker for me. One of the reasons I haven’t been writing is that my sis, just had a baby boy. I made it down to Eugene just as they were checking into the hospital, so blessedly I got to attend the entire birth. I felt like I was team captain, alongside the doula, and my sis's husband. I am so proud of her for digging deep and finding the strength to have a natural child birth. She rallied with all the ancient mamma energy and wisdom and was able to birth, our little tiger, Nolan.
There has been less grieving and more just maniacally enjoying life. I’ve been working really hard and playing really hard. Like my friend Gen said to me yesterday when I told her I slept just 3 hours. She said you are being manic but your just living life again. And I will go back to not being manic, because I wasn’t before. But right now, I am just so incredibly full of life. Its beautiful. And full of angst as well.
A week or so later..
I have run now 8 days in a row, and I am happy to report that MY HEART AND LUNGS ARE SERIOUSLY HAPPY!!! I am so thrilled. I am slowly starting to trust my body again. There is just a tiny little devil on my shoulder saying, "hope you don't have to go backwards and go on steroids again." I don't think I will.
I have just had a week of visitors and last night two more came into town. I am having a great time.

I am going to visit my friend Keiko for labor day down in the bay area. I'm hoping we can go play in the ocean a little, and party like its 1969. I have had a few drinks, which did not do me well. Hysterically, I found myself pucking in an alley in Seattle a few weeks ago. I said out loud to myself, "This is not loving myself, Heather!" I did go a little over board, for me just a few measly drinks! Regardless..

THis is a potent time. I have just birthed a new me, and I need to be careful with whom I allow into my energetic force field right now. I get to be discerning on who gets to walk this magickal road with me. So far, its old friends that are helping me to remember that Yes! Life is full of living and loving, and each day, I am learning how to integrate all my new wisdom into the "living Heather".

I don't feel like writing here as much, not feeling like making things fluffy and fun to read. I have been sitting for the past month and praying about how to write my book. What angle to come in at. I have finally figured it out. I am excited to start writing, but have given myself until Sept 1, to play hard and then I am going to start.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I'm feelin good. I feel good that I shared the weird feelings that I am having, and to have so many of you Survivors write to me and share that you too feel that.

I have tried to change my schedule to allow myself to have more fun. I was here working for a few days, and am heading out again tonight for a huge gathering at a friends house near Ashland. I am super excited to be around tons of love and friends and to swim in the creek, since its squelching hot here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So I am not crazy...

I feel so good that I just read that two of you understand fully what I have been feeling. I thought that last night, maybe I came closer to understanding it. But honestly, I am starting to think that my therapist is right and I am suffering from PTSD, post traumatic stress
But maybe its just that I was a healthy 33 yr old, living life and had a pretty darn carefree, easy breezy life. And then the next moment, the phone call, the shattering, the world crumbling, making decisions, facing decisions i never thought i'd have to face, being sick, losing everything in my life, e*v*e*r*y*t*h*i*n*g, being sick some more, just trying to get through, not being understood, not being loved through my deepest darkest sickness, you get the idea.
So, maybe I am just seriously shell shocked, and scared to feel and scared to love and scared to feel some more, and scared to feel myself, and scared to trust myself, scared to trust my body, scared to trust my immune system, scared to put faith and trust in my future, scared to get close to anything or anybody again, as it may all be ripped from me again. She says, and types with tears streaming down my face.
And I am really, really tired right now, I just ran a year of IronMan's and am exhausted. And I don't have the energy to do this opening right now. So, I walk through life like a zombie. Or maybe its not this at all.
I feel happiness, and joy, and victory, and vanity, and love, and fear, and I FEEL, its just not sinking in. Like I am not getting invested in life.
WEll, thanks for saying Krisa and Tink that you get it, or are experiencing this.

Too bad there isn't a place that us young woman, after this hell we go through, can't go to and sit in a teepee together, or sit and massage and braid each others tears and look at each other and say, WE MADE IT! WE ARE DONE. Now, how do we go on. How to we rebuild from here? Where is this place? I wonder how many of us, loose our mates through this, and are left to rebuild a life from the beginning?

Well, Heather, You made it. Krisa, You made it. Tink, You made it. How is it that you are moving through this?


The other thing I find myself grappling with is for the past year, to get through this I had to live in the present moment, constantly. That is how I made it through. But now that I am done, in the beginning is was hard to think 2 days out, then 7 days out, now I am trying to imagine a few weeks out. Its hard to plan stuff, although my planner in me would like to think that she is ready to go gangbusters. But in reality, I like that I learned how to live in the present moment and would like to continue living my life. But how do I do that when there are goals and things that I want to do? Like having kids?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get out of jail pass

Can't sleep. I feel weird, had a chemo taste in my mouth, still have it, so I woke up. Now, I am remembering all my nights in my old kitchen (was the prettiest one we re-did), unable to sleep, high on drugs, eating egg and toast. Ick!

One thing that I keep forgetting to write in here is something that I have just been noticing for over a month. I am not judging it, but sure am questioning it because I don't understand it. And I will say, please don't any of you suggest in comments what you think it may be. As I feel vulnerable with it, and don't understand it, so I am probably suggestable..

It is that I feel separate from everything. I feel it on an energetic level and on an emotional level. I notice it when I am and should be having a deep connection with my sis, or with a friend, or with my Dad, with an animal, with a garden, or with anyone. Like the other day, when I was massaging a newly re-diagnosed cancer lady and we had a deep connection, a deep understanding with one another. It was felt. But at the same time, I feel a distance. Kind of like I'm floating out of my body and looking down. But I am grounded. I'm here. Maybe a little busy, but here.
Or, when I am with my sis. I am really really excited that her little tiger is coming. My little tiger (haha, wendy~and Wendy I haven't spoken to you about this only because I'm so weirded out by it, and i've been trying to figure it out)
But Im really excited, and all that comes with it. With the exception of, that again I feel disconnected. Shell shocked. TOtally out of the shell. Again, a feeling of not being in the experience, but just being a visitor, on a get out of jail pass. This is quite disturbing to me. As I am such an emotional person, so in tune with me and my feelings. I get the depth of my connections with people, and I feel it, but there is something that is blocking the connection. Like I am floating out of my body, like a dead person, looking down at the situation and seeing the beauty, but not having the connection as an alive person. Okay, I said it. The part I was scared of.
I feel like I am experiencing life as a dead person, instead of an alive person.
Its weird. I need to write this into my calender next to my cancer therapist so I remember to talk to her about this. Its disturbing and maybe just a normal part of coming alive again. Not sure. But its weird.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My List of Happinesses

The little things that I am enjoying are:

1. Putting yummy stuff that smells delicious and sexy in my hair
2. Driving down the road and feeling the wind blow through my hair
3. Getting out of the shower and running my fingers through my wet hair
4. HAIR, HAIR, Hair
5. Enjoying that my hair didn't grow back in my under arms! Yes!
6. I just got my eyebrows waxed for the first time in a year
7. painting my finger nails, they are almost all grown back
8. Feeling healthy and strong
9. Amped on my innate strength and hummingbird self coming to life
10. tasting water again
11. tasting all foods, including pepper again!
12. putting smell good senses on my body
13. caring about how my hair looks : )
14. feeling vanity in my eyes when I look at myself in the mirror
15. seeing my cheeckbones
16. seeing my stomach muscles, barely, but I see them
17. fitting into almost all my old clothes
18. shaving my legs

The list goes on and on.

Some weird things that I have noticed is that this past week only, and just twice I get this chemo taste in my mouth. Its disgusting and makes me shiver. I also saw a husband of a wife who was getting chemo at the same time as me, and I almost got sick. I shook all over, ick!

I'm off to the island to lay in the sun and visit with friends, its the Strawberry Festival. Should be good times.