Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bloating can be...

Summer is in full swing, and I literally have been home just a few days here and there over the past few months. I went on a motorcycle tour of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia..with my new man. Life is so fun. I catch myself playing with my hair and I can actually almost pull it back into the tiniest of ponytails now. This makes me smile secretly to myself. What I found out at my doctors visit last week is this. My ticker is awesome the swelling is not from that. Which leaves it to, Chemo and/or hormones. It is common for a few years following chemo to experience what I am experiencing. They do not know why, but really that is now okay with me. It seems that that is the answer to so many of the crazy things that have happened to my body. "Heather, we have no idea why, but we do know, its chemo induced." Okay, I can live with that. My numbers all seem to be in the awesome range. I'm off, into the sea of living life and enjoying every moment of it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

379 Posts...

You know, its really hard to stop writing here. So, today, as I sit for my latest three month appointment in a room of folks with varying hair lengths and varying levels of anxiety (both partners and loved ones and patients) I sit waiting for my name to be called. I really try to let the scared feelings of "what if its back" stay out of my mind. I am pretty much a believer in my "cancer free" status, even though I have not been told I am yet by my doctor. I haven't been declared NED. Maybe I should ask him today if I am. Or when I get to be. I am here for a few things and a few of them have been driving me crazy. One that started when I ran my 18 miler, my body started retaining water and has slowly kept this up. Last check up I was the heaviest ever in my life, and even my doc was shocked once he saw my numbers..I have been traveling a bit and airplanes are a nightmare for me. For some reason the retention stays for weeks, and does not go away without water tabs. Then I lose about 5-7 pounds in one night, and still my legs are full of fluid. I can feel it, its uncomfortable to say the least, and I want an answer. No more, well...that's just what happened because of chemo. I want to find someone to explain to me, why and how, and then I can rest. Because in this unknown is where the scared, "is it back" feelings go. I start worrying that there is undetected cancer somewhere causing the retention. My latest vacations have been really almost unbearable with this. I swell, and secretly worry a lot. I finally am talking about it. Okay, now I am back in the little room. The room where I've sat with D, and was initially told all about my cancer, the room that I sat processing all the icky stuff that happened to me, the room that I sit cancer free? No one knows that for sure, that is why I still have to come back here every three months..I wonder when I get to graduate to every six months. There is a question about that..that is why he didn't graduate me yet. hhmmm...so I guess my fretting is okay, and maybe its okay to talk to the loves in my life about it.
There is a sense of...I have worried them all so much and talked to them what feels like to me, till they are all cancer blue in the face, and I just don't want to worry any of them. Its been easier to just talk to my cancer therapist about it (she's very concerned and is the reason I sit here today) and just let everyone go back to living their little lives. My life has gone back to a near normal. But it hasn't arrived yet to my New Normal. I am still figuring it all out.
The other thing we are keeping an eye on are my hormone levels. They were very, very, very low six months ago..low as in there is no way you will come out of menopause...but miracles do happen. To starting my moon, and the numbers coming up ever so slightly to my Onc saying, "maybe you are just doing a sporadic sloughing, and still kid...don't get your hopes up." To, know this past month, I've had two moons, and I think last time I was a little nutty. Maybe. I have NEVER in my life gotten nutty with hormones, but maybe my body just got inundated with them and my counts are way up. I am trying to not get hopeful, and excited about this. We will see. What I do know, is that I am living life to the freaking fullest. There has not been one missed opportunity to have fun. I have started opening my heart and falling in love with a dear tender soul, and that feels good and scary and beautiful.
Life is full. Excited to have my Onc walk in and give him a hug. I can feel the tears already.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Living Life

***CLICK on the photos and it will come up larger, if you wish.***

Wishful Endings...

May flowers bring me one year and eleven months from the day I was initially diagnosed. I wrote this posting days ago. I have been sitting with it, making sure it is something I am really ready to do. My dear friend asked me the other day, " are you sad in your decision? I said no." But as I write here, I feel sad. But the sadness is not in the letting go, but in all that I have gone through. I am ready to start placing my energy on going moving forward and writing my book, and living life.

***My friends keep texting me and saying, You are a Marathoner. Wow! I am. I did it. I never let myself think about the whole 26 miles. I didn’t want to psyche myself out. I must say, that I think I could run a fifty mile, ultra-marathon now. With proper training of coarse. But for sure, I am already signed up for another marathon, and my new goal is to run four marathons a year.

I made a little Picasa web album with comments so that you all could see the beautiful place I ended all of this. I cannot think of a more triumphant ending. I was diagnosed at 33, went through fertility treatments, eleven chemo’s, and 33 radiations, on top of experiencing all the wonderful side effects that seemed to be ever present with each bend in the road, and then ending treatment I filed for divorce.

I got knocked down over and over and over. I learned how to not let that take anything away from me. Instead, I learned to surrender to all the twists and challenges and embrace them. I hope my blog will continue to help you woman and men out there that feel alone on your journey of cancer. Whether it is your journey, your sisters journey, or your wife’s journey. My prayer is that my words bring peace into your lives.

I often wrote thinking of some young woman in a little town in South Dakota with no support around her. I wrote to comfort you, to comfort me, and to comfort our families. I am totally done writing here, with the exceptions of posting updates of events I will be speaking at and creating. I am ready to start writing and being there again for the woman on the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundations website. This site was one of the most helpful, loving, supportive, and real places I could bring all of my emotions, all of my thoughts, and not be judged.

There will be a new chapter in my life, but first I must close this book, and regroup in the life that I now have worked so hard to be a part of. My life has come to that joyous place that Survivors ahead of me said would come, “Heather, some day you will go a day without thinking of breast cancer. You will have a life back. You will have a new normal, but normal you will have again..I promise.”

Thank you all for your love, for following my journey, and I look forward to hearing from you. Please continue passing this blog onto anyone you think that it will bring comfort, peace, and healing to.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This coming week marks my one year anniversary of being "done" with treatment. There seems to be a lot of "anniversaries" with this cancer thing. Or this life thing. Like when you meet someone you remember the day you first kissed. The day you first held hands. The first day of it all. I guess that is what life is about, at least for me. I like to mark special things that happen in my life. Cancer to me, was a special time in my life. It created me, for who I am, today. I cannot help but want to celebrate, and create rituals for myself to mark these moments.
The 22nd of April 2009, I was done. The 21st of April, 2009 my dear friend Jenn said goodbye to her sister Jen, as she had fought this fight for years. Triumphantly, I will add. I signed up to walk the Susan B. Komen 3Day in Arizona this November with the team that she and her husband Greg started, Team Thrivr.
I have put this off, knowing full well that I wanted to walk, and that I would be walking, and sharing a tent with Jenn (I am sooo looking forward to this). I have not been "strong" enough to bring myself to do that. I mean, to sign up, for a walk that I never truly cared about. In all honesty. I mean, I cared before cancer. I did. But in a, "that's not me, and I'll find another way to give back to society," kind of way. Like, maybe I'd tutor young kids, or something. That, was another lifetime ago.
This past week, I spent a moment with a friend whose been fighting for her life for years. Bravely, fighting. Fighting perhaps longer and with more vigilance than I may... This was the first time, (I realized this as I was at my cancer therapy appointment this week), that I was able to be present and not "make it about me." I realized that so often in life we connect with peoples lives or feelings or thoughts, through our lenses, through our experiences, through our hearts. I was able to do this deeply, but it did not cause me to freak out and start worrying about my cancer. My trip. I feel safe. I feel like I made it across home base, and the umpire is yelling, "SAAAFFEE!!!" I think, I am safe. Safe enough, that I am able to put myself aside, and hold a dear sister, and let her cry. I can cry, because I understand her pain. I do. Fully, understand. I realized that this week as well, another blessing to come out of this. As a healer, I am ready to start being of comfort in a like minded, fully-understandable way. In a strong, safe, sound, and integrated way of giving back.
So, I for months now, since my girls trip to Sayulita, Jenn has been holding off on sending me her sister Jen's blog postings..Her journey. I simply could not go there. As I was not even close to being there.
I signed up, yesterday for the 3Day and asked for some of them. The ones on her being a marathoner, and her running, and her cancer journey. Her freakin' incredible life, that was lived, so lived, so loved. She had, and still has an amazing husband. He was with her, as her teammate unlike I have known, in such a beautiful way. I cannot wait to meet him, this year. Even though Jen Hoffman has passed on, her legacy continues. I am so incredibly honoured to be joining such a family, a team that as my friend Jenn says, "is running 40 deep this year."

I have started the beginning leg of my marathon journey. I left Seattle this morning, and am at new friend's house in Reno. Overlooking sage, beautiful rolling hills, turkey vultures flying, and am slowly starting to paint my face, with war paint.
This marathon, is my time that I have ritually over months and months of training, breathed all of the pain, all of the anguish, all of the beauty that this journey has brought and taught me...I breathed all of that into each and every run. I am ready to pick this breath up, and run with her, with the Spirits of those that have gone before me, from this disease. All the ones that were not ready to go, but did. And run for them, and run for me, and celebrate being here. In this vessel. This body, that really does not matter. But matter, to all that love me, it does.
I guess that is the pain in death. It is letting that love that connection, that breath go. To the Hoffman/Glickman family. Thank You for bringing me into your fold.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Last long run..

Yesterday was my last long run before the marathon, on the 25th. I decided to run down at Alki, which for those of you that do not live here in Seattle...its a beautiful boardwalk along the Puget Sound. The Olympic Mountains, on a clear day sparkle, and its easy to get lost in thought as you look out at the views. Since this is the route I ran to teach my body how to go the distance, I thought it was the perfect way to end the big training. My training, has become a way of life these past seven months. As I run lately, I find myself astonished that it is just like walking to me now. In the beginning, I was always in pain, my mind pulling me this way and that in pain...but I've harnessed this wild beast and it is a meditation now. Early on in the training, there was clearly no difference in the pain in my lungs, in my head, in my knees. Now, I feel that there are two separate discomforts for me. One is cardiovascularly I am incredibly fit. I can even run up hills, and stay within a good heart rate for me...And then, there is my body. My body is learning how to be strong. Honestly, after the twenty mile run, my body has taken about a week to jump back.
Okay. So, yes, I am totally ready to run this race. Very excited indeed. I feel for the first time in years, truly back to a place of normalcy..haha..whatever that means. I feel warm. I feel full of grace. I feel full of patience (and I see this now in my work again..thank god..and in my stress levels), life is coming together just as Springs buds are exploding in scent.
Yesterday, I spoke with a dear sister whose cancer has come back (she's my age) for the upteinth time. She said goodbye by saying, " I gotta go, play life." How that sentence brought me straight back. How that sentence suddenly made all the things in my life, irrelevant again. It is, just playing life. I so got her. I so get it. I so remember that. And it. All of it. It has been nice, forgetting all of it. But in reality, It is Me. How silly I've been lately. How humbled I was by the reminder. I now wish, I could just run and run, and think. My body will not allow this yet. Today is a rest day. But I do wish, I could run, and think about this. This it...this life.
How blessed we each are for our days here. We get to wake up, with a renewed love. With a renewed openness to what may be. We get to start anew each and everyday. In each and every moment.
As I ran yesterday, I started to give myself permission after the marathon, to stop writing here as often. I have given myself until after the marathon...to be "done" with this whole cancer treatment stuff...I really need to turn the processing I've done, so openly (and so openly on facebook..)back into me. I need to turn this energy within so I am inspired to write my book. This will be very healing for me. I will continue to write here, but who knows when.
Okay, off to play life. With a huge smile on my face. I am excited to see who will touch my life today, and whose I get to touch.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The ever living Ghost of Once was

Its taken me a few days of retracing and dissecting what I learned about myself, from my 20 mile run last Saturday. Happily, and reverently I am thankful I ran out on Vashon Island. This island, as you all know by now, is one of my heart places in this world. Its a safe place for me. A retreat. My sanctuary. I ran from the Northend ferry south alongside the Westside highway, ending my run around a loop that is called the Burton loop. Since I was 17, I have ran that loop off and on, it is three miles from my favorite little coffee stand.
The first ten miles were met by spring's multi-hued palettes of green. Buds pushing out into bright fushcia Salmonberry blossoms. I past a creek that years ago, I had reached after hours of crawling through various tight brambles and walking fallen trees in a ravine miles upstream. Remembering how happy I was to reach the Puget Sound after such an adventurous trek, by myself. I ran past the memories of friends homes, of parties, of stories, of births, of dreams that have morphed into the stories I now tell. I ran past the house I rented last summer to celebrate my one year anniversary. I wrote poems in my head of all these things.
As I run, I break up the long miles into quarters, so every 5 miles I got closer to being done. The closer to my own private victory.
As I reached the little town of Burton, I raised my arms in victory, being that I only had four miles left. I started to cry a little, but had to stop because my lungs hurt with the irregular gasps from crying, when I am already pushing them hard. I stopped for a moment, and looked out at the view of Maury Island (Vashon is connected by a little isthmus to Maury Island) and said, "You did it, Heather."
Running is just for me. It brings me deeper into me. I get to learn how my mind works, how it would like to trick me into stopping. How in the pain (and I am in pain as I run these longer runs) the mind can tell me different stories, all stories that are from past experiences/stories about how I should stop. I travel with these stories, and then imprint new stories. Stories of, "Remember, when you were sick? Remember how bad you felt? If you got through that, you can push through for a few more miles."
Running allows me to heal further. To regain parts of me that were defeated. So, in that moment(s) of raising my arms in victory, I shook my fists..I did it. Victory is so sweet. Growth as a human, is so sweet. This victory is no ones, but mine.
A few of my nearest and dearest will be at the finish line. The symbolism of their support is huge for me. Before cancer, it was nearly impossible to allow myself to receive this kind of support. I was always trying to prove to myself, how I could do everything on my own. How strong I was. Cancer broke this down. I learned how to be vulnerable. I learned how to be soft AND strong. I learned to risk asking for what I needed, and then being okay with whatever answer I got. As I run through the finish line, and celebrate that night with my beloveds, we will be celebrating Life.
I am ready for the marathon now. I am glad I have a few weeks to rest up, and heal from the 20 miles.
A wee side note...I wanted to thank two of my Mom's in this life. Debbie and Kathy, for meeting me after my run. They drove me back to my car at the Northend. But not before retracing my entire run, and filling me up with so much love, celebration, praise, and encouragement. Those hills sure did seem bigger in the car! Your love brings tears to my eyes as I write this. I sure am lucky, to be loved as I am. I will remember this part of the celebration for ever. Hugs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts that wake me

I have been dreaming all night about my moon. Telling family/friends about it, feeling it in my body, releasing all the fear...I decided to finally wake up and put words to the fears....

What if it stops? Maybe I shouldn't have told anyone. It did happen. It is happening. How long will it last? Wonder if I will go back to my 21 day cycle? Does my body know what to do? I get to experience menopause again...yay..and ugh.. I get to celebrate and create a ritual of coming back into my womanhood. I get to put off welcoming menopause. In my early 40's I have to have my uterus, ect taken out to prevent cancer showing up there..at least I will have gotten to have a baby(ies) by then (alone or married I will do this if infact I can). Everyone is saying I should stop running. Doesn't anyone understand that I know my body really well? Doesn't everyone understand that I believe it is my running that got my Moon to come back? I think running cleared all the toxins out of my system so that my body reversed the menopause/chemopause like state. I am going to run my 20 miles on Saturday, just because I am bleeding doesn't mean that my body needs to sit around and drink tea. Bodies are meant to be moved. I am running this marathon. I am scared. Feeling my body/mind resisting sinking deeply into myself. As I sat tonight and drank my Kava tea I felt my uterus. I felt my body calling myself back into itself. I have been so scared, so sad, that I had separated myself from my uterus. Instead I drank my tea and I simply noticed this. Instead of sitting and closing my eyes, and reconnecting. That is for tomorrow morning's tea. So happy my friend Katie is coming down from Van tomorrow. I get to celebrate with a friend. I need to do a spa weekend. Relax into myself. Unto myself. Love. Slow down the pace, to heal, to heal yet again. How is it that I can be this connected to myself, and so aware, yet so unaware? How is it that I am just now realizing how my sadness had caused me to disconnect to my own reproduction system? I need to do a meditation from head to toe, from toe to head with welcoming myself back to myself. Listening to what these body parts are saying to each other. That will be my new morning ritual before I get out of bed. Wow!! I started. Time to drink more water, and try to go back to sleep.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Not an April Fools Joke

I started my Moon...Just NOW!!!!!!!!! I get to be a Mom!! Wow! Blown away..

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feathers and Fire

Once again, I find myself in awe of the lessons cancer has taught me, and is still revealing unto me. Before Cancer, I sure was a goal setter. A planner to the T. List maker extraordinaire. I am really loving making my lists again, but now my ego is not attached to these lists, or to an outcome. I sit here this morning, full of joy and have gotten closer to a whole(r) place of being in my body, mind, and soul.
This past weekend, I attended a ceremony for my friends daughters second birthday. I have been putting of attending a ceremony since I have been going through this stuff (sounds so trivial when I put it that way..), for the main reason of a few postings ago..I had let go of Faith in my life. I had to. I had to set it aside, and just be "in" the present moment, that in all reality was much more of a spiritual journey than I have ever been on.
Well, this weekend it just happened that my jam packed real estate schedule (yippee a schedule) all vanished for various meant to be reasons, and there was nothing holding me to the city. I drove down to Southern Oregon, and met with friends that had gathered from Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, and California. Old friends that I have not seen in years. Friends, that are my brothers in my life. Men that have my back. Men that I can call for any reason, and they are there for me. For no other reason, than they love me. Which is hard pressed in my life. I would say I only have two others in my life, that there are no ulterior motivations. Just pure sister brother relations.
In this ceremony, I prayed and prayed, and prayed some more for my friends daughters life. For their life as parents, for their guidance for her, for their continued communication and love for one another so that she may have good examples of the love she deserves in her later life, ect.
In praying for her life, I connected back into my faith. A faith that I thought had gone away. A faith that I felt had betrayed me. A faith that had not been there. A faith that indeed I did feel all along, but that I chose to exile, so that I could dig deeper, and be "alone".
What I learned this weekend is that my faith is not an extension of me. It is not outside of me. It is not something I can "have" or "believe in" or even "live by". It simply is my heart, it is my soul, it is my breath and my blood that pulses through my body with each heartbeat. I looked deeper into myself this weekend and found a stronger me. A wholer me. A me, that I do not not need to exile any longer.
This week is the second biggest week of my training for this marathon. I run 40 miles, and am very excited about it. I woke up in the middle of the night, freaking out about my Saturday run that will be 20 miles!! Its small compared to April 25th's 26.285... I ran through my first pair of shoes, and bought a new pair yesterday. Very excited to bring these new ones for my ten miles spin today. Its a beautiful day here in Seattle. I am opening my life up for change on many levels. I'm noticing here in my life, that I am not connected to any one thing, as I had been before cancer. I believe after this weekend, it is through my faith, faith in my life, and my body, my soul, my path, that what will be, will simply just be. I have nothing to hold onto, other than change, and the perpetual motion of being in the present moment and living in awe of the unknowns.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Understanding

Today, was a full day. I have had a few of my nearest and dearest in town visiting and they both left today. I have not been sleeping, at all. My body is also, still ever so slightly trying to have a moon. I am trying to not get excited, but feel that there has been a shift. Hopeful hopes? Hhhmmm..possibly.

I gave a massage to a client of mine today that has just finished her chemo, and has started radiation. There were a few moments, of such depth of understanding. To hear in her voice, a quiver of pain, of the depth that she has had to dig, for it to be felt in every morsel of my body, my heart, my soul, my every-thing. We whimpered together, fighting back tears. The tribe, of life that I belong to. She belongs to. Forever touched. Forever understood.

I am feeling a huge sense of empowerment the past week. Feeling stronger in my body, stronger in my mind. There is a sense of things to come. For almost two years now, I have been on this Cancer road. For almost two years, I have been in my shell, thinking of ways to give back. To help, heal and to be of service to other survivors. I have decided on one, I believe profound way of giving back, and I am just now beginning the steps to move forward and make it a reality. I will share it, once I know that it is going to work, and is not just an idea.

Two hints...just for women and men that are breast cancer survivors under the age of 40....and its going to help them regain their lives after treatment.

I am excited to start my new life of service. This morning, over my cuppa with my friend, we spoke about my new life. I feel like I have been birthed a new, and I have the blessed chance to start over. I was stripped down in every single way imaginable. Moving forward from here, with an open heart, and open palm...soft yet strong. Being gentle with myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Did I? uhh..No

I have been grappling with wether or not to post this, but have decided to be brave and do, strictly for you other breast cancer survivors that are young. Just a quick requests for all my beloveds in my life, reading this, if I have not brought this up to you, please do not talk to me about it. Gulp..here I go..
You all know how badly I want(ed) to be a mom. I am now going to not capitalize the word, and will also add (ed), as in what limbo state am I in? Or more importantly who am I trying to fool? Or who am I trying to just live with, in this present moment, and not start planning and living thoughts for tomorrow that I may not even need to worry about.

Ok...no more stalling. After my long runs (I just completed an 18 miler last Saturday) I bleed for a day..a small amount, but blood is present nonetheless. On Sunday, this was still occurring so I called a few of my closest and shared. Everyone got really excited. I was secretly excited, that is why I called. I wanted to share my potential news. Like, HEY!!! I THINK I STARTED. I even have allowed myself to start planning my party, if it comes back. Setting myself up for failure? Uh, No. Just dreaming. Everyone will have to wear red.. : ) Who would've thought I'd ever be planning a party for this! Too funny. Really? You got to laugh.
I am also planning for the ritual of embracing its non-return as well. Tight rope. Or how about just no rope, Heather. In the present moment its not happening, you still have some more time ahead of you.
What is odd to me is all the self-awareness I carry with me now. In the present moment, I pay attention to everything now. I listen very carefully to everyone now. I listen very closely to my feelings, my thoughts, my process.
When I phone my friends and sister, I heard their delight. I found that I was detached. The Tigger in me, the one that wants to jump and play, was wrapped in bubble wrap. Its great listening to everyones responses, don't get me wrong. They mimic the joy that is in my soul. Its just hard, sharing sometimes. Being vulnerable with me...myself..and I.
I can feel my ovaries getting warm, like in my pre-moon days before cancer. The hot flashes and night sweats are totally gone. I hope they stay at bay. It feels like my body is trying to work. It wants to work, it wants to have a baby in a magickal way. I have always thought of looking someone (I wonder who that will be.. smile to the unknowns) in the eye, and calling forth those spirits (with all fingers crossed for twins) and consciously conceiving. I even have the book, Conscious Conception. Great book, by the way.
Anyways, those are thoughts for the future, because a year from now, it will be very evident if I am going to get my moon back or not. My Onc, thinks I'll know in the next three months. Or wait...a few months have gone by already. I am scheduled to go in after my marathon. In the beginning of May..(I am going to give him a picture (I'm giving one to my surgeon and eye doc too) of me running through the finish line with my medallion around my neck!

Ok....I'm going to stop the what if's. The possible painful possibilities. There is so much sadness around this that bubble wrap very tightly can contain it. Talking about it seems to pop one of those bubbles, which I love, but its just safer to keep the precious cargo protected right now. I have a race to finish, and then a blood draw. Until then, I am going to stay focused, and real. If I feel like crying, I'll cry, and just be with myself..and those unborn babes I have since I was a little girl talked about with everyone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I'm down in one of my favorite little towns in California, St. Helena. Today I met up with an old friend, an old friend that we have a deep spiritual understanding together. I would say, my closest friends and I share a deep connection in this way. He was telling me about a shoulder injury he has and that he is heading to Brazil to see a spiritual surgeon, or he'll have surgery in the states.
I looked him in the eye and said, "You are going to need to have real surgery."
He and I looking deeply into each others eyes, and he responded by saying, "I don't know why you are saying that. I am not even going to hear that. I am not going to take that reality on. I am not sure if you are saying that, Heather because Western medicine worked for you, and you chose to go that route."
I started telling him more of my story, and I'll skip most of what I said otherwise this post could be a book in and of itself.
But the jest of it, with lots of tears, was this:

" I lost my faith." To get to where I am now, to go through what I went through, I had to let go of it all. How was it, that I..ME..and again, I got cancer in the first place? I remember blogging about this, but one conversation that occurred frequently was this...some loving caring person (because they always meant well)would say, "You will be fine, Heather. You will make it through this." And I would get really angry inside, and say as loving as I could back, "I will be until I am not." And then they would say, "I believe that you create and bring to you whatever you believe. So be careful what you say." And I would say, " I never thought I was going to get cancer, and I did."

You see, this conversation is on FAITH. Faith in lord knows what. Those of you that are Christian could be upset I just used your lords name in vain. Or whatever religion. Whatever religion you are, any walk of life, in any part of this miraculous planet, we all on this planet are just trying to make sense of what happens in life, and to us. Through faith.
We pray, we meditate, we fast, we walk, we run, we do all these things to help us get through. Because life is hard, and life is challenging, and life sometimes simply does not make sense.
It is easier to put your faith out there, and allow yourself to believe that "some great entity's" will, will be done. For your own good.

I am a deeply spiritual person. And this was one of the hardest things for me, and still is. I realized that Faith, is Control. Control in the idea that we do make our own reality. That we are our own magicians. That we can pray to a deity/God and through our faith, "Let go, and Let God." But this is a form of control, as I see it.
I feel like all the praying, all the seeking is our minds just trying to make sense of all of this life stuff, in reality we have nothing to figure out. Life just is.
For me, I chose to surrender into the unknown. Surrender and in the surrendering I learned to love myself deeper. It all boiled down to that. Surrendering and Loving. In the present moment, that is all I had. I believe it is all we ever really have. The hippie in me years ago, used to say its either Fear or Love. But it really is, just Love.

I have a bumper sticker on my car that sums it all up for me, Love Wins. It does, and through this Love, I will come back to having Faith. Because I do deeply believe I am my own magician. And that I do create my reality. But I do also now believe, that sometimes, stuff just happens. And it doesn't make any sense, and no one can tell you why, or how, or even IF at the end of a long struggle, it'll all be worth it.
There is a sadness in this harshness. I cried a lot today, and have over this many times. Faith is what I have stood behind for years. A mask of faith, full archetypal images, and mysticism...but a mask all the same.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Point

Coming to a place of gratefulness. How does one get there? Choice.
Sure cancer stole a lot from me, and during this time of writing I get to go back and relive all of that. But..But..there are a lot of pluses, and movements inside me that I choose to look at. Don't get me wrong. When my sister told me she was pregnant, I mourned. She mourned as well, because we'd always hoped and talked about the day we'd be pregnant together. There is loss. There is grief. I do not think its healthy, nor am I saying to overlook, or to shuffle the loss under a rug of pain.
I just choose to look at the positives. The fact that I am here, to be at my nephews birth. To see life. To be apart of his life.
My life, that could've been taken, with the aggressiveness of Triple Negative. I get to train, and run a marathon, that I would've never done before cancer. My mind and the self-imposed limitations are less restrictive now.
Grieve at your own pace. Feel at your own pace. Simply being with yourself, in and on, your journey. It is a journey. This Cancer Journey. If you choose to pay attention in that way. Others choose to not think, and just get through, and go on living life. There is no right way. I would love to hear from any of you, privately, or in the public comments if you wish..when you do come to your place of gratefulness. This will make my heart soar! I am also here, to hear your despair. Believe me, I am there. In the still point. One side is despair, the other gratitude.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Body...My Book..

This is a simple quick note to you all. I am so loving feeling my body come alive. I have nights that I can sleep, and others..like tonight, that I am so full of joy and excitement for my new life that sleep eludes me. Last night, I slept almost ten hours..
On the 20th, I will be running my first 18 miles. 18 miles is monumental to me. The ones that really pushed me have been 6, 10, 15, and 18 so far. I am excited to feel my body excel and push through its mental barriers.
I am in a true place of gratefulness for cancer, and all of its mysteries and lessons it still is teaching me. About me. Closer to me. Who would have ever thought that an illness makes One Whole?
I guess Dis-Ease is that. Where the body was not harmonious, is where the disease starts. I used to love my "hippie" friends saying that little phrase. It sure did not mean what it means to me now.
Today, on the plane I watched, This Is It, and started making my notes and lists for my book. I guess, I've started it.
I am a little torn on what to do. Many of you have requested I simply publish this blog as is, with adding what I see are "chapter notes" or "quiz like summaries".
On the other hand,
I want to write the book I've always visualized. So, I am going to write my book, and maybe make the blog a free PDF, or something....
Or maybe there are two books.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mammograms to Enneagrams

Today went great, I'll just blurt that out for all of you that are wondering.

I of coarse went armed with my blog cards, so I could hand them out to the various woman I started talking to. I met a young mother, about my age who had found her lump in the past month. I listened to her, tried to not say too much, because I didn't want to freak her out. Remembering full well, how I felt that first day. The day, I went there alone because I didn't think it was a big deal. I was just going to get my ultrasound and mammogram and be on my merry little way. That life, is gone. Or better yet, that girl was just that. A girl. I grew up pretty quick the past couple of years.
Once I got into the mammogram room, the tech started her litany of questions. I was okay to answer the first bazillion, but I snapped finally when she asked, "Does breast cancer run in your family." I refused to answer the question. Telling her look, I know your just doing your job. You don't need to know all these answers. What is this questionaire for anyways? To stick in some folder? The question, for a young woman should be is it Genetic. That is what the insurance companies should be paying for, so that you know the answer, and don't have to ask. There is no rhyme or reason for my cancer, and no..it does not run in my family, nor is it genetic. (remember, I could have been the first in my family to start producing the BRCA 1 or 2, gene)...
I told her, I didn't even want to be in there anyways. I understand that mammo's show the calcifications, great. It didn't show my cancer. I get really upset every time I have to be forced to go have one. The test isn't even FOR younger women. It is FOR older women.
She agreed with all of this. Why don't they figure out some techy savvy tool/machine that CAN detect breast cancer through dense young women's tissue? The only reason I have to be there is for insurance purposes. To run through the little rat maze as all the other women.
I did start to laugh and joke with her, after that. I apologized and told her how emotional this test is for me. I just have not come to a place of forgiving it. It let me down, and I see no need for it at all. At all.
At one point, I laughed with her because it seemed as if I was doing yoga to get my boob pressed into the machine (which doesn't hurt for me at all) and told her I needed to go see my chiropractor after getingt the mammo. I was serious. :)

I then went over to the MRI place. The machine is so loud that they give you ear plugs. I actually fell asleep in there...I guess I am used to it after the bazillionth time through the egg like metal clashing sounding machine.

Tonight I took for fun an enneagram test online. It said I was either a 1, 2, 3, or an 8. I read through them all, and they all fit in a few ways. None of them fit me perfectly. I realized how much I've learned and grown in the past few years. How much cancer has taught me. Issues I thought I was never going to be able to work through with various therapists, had to be worked through with cancer. All the growth stemmed down to surrender, loving myself deeper, loving others deeper, simply loving with surrender and an open palm...me, you, anyone. Seeing how fragile we all are. How fragile life is.
It didn't surprise me that I wasn't pegged as "a type" because I have not settled down into a patterned way of self yet. I hope I don't. I pray that living in the present moment does not go away, and life continues to grow and stretch, and not be One thing.
Living in the present moment does not work, if you actually LIVE in this world though. And I am starting to live once again, and I am starting to plan things now. When I was first done, making plans for that week was incredibly hard for me. Which was so foreign to the "pre-cancer, Heather". Now, I am planning for my marathon in Big Sur, at the end of April, that is as far out as I feel comfortable with.
I made reservations at the headquarters, in Monterey. I guess that's good. Its hard to think of not being in Big Sur proper, but all the racers will be staying in Monterey, the dinners will be there, the pre-race events. My friend Jenn, is planning post event stuff, and that helps. Thanks Jenn. Planning is simply too much for me right now. That far ahead at least.
I am super good with the weekly planning. I even have my weekly marathon training chalkboard up in my apartment now. Each week, each days schedule mapped out, with inspiring quotes to myself.

I took today off, and I made a promise to myself today. Until I am done with all these six month check ups, I am going to take those days off, and take a day to do whatever I want. I'm staying on my Uncles boat tonight. I sat and played on my computer all night, read, did a little yoga, he made me a yummy dinner, and now I am being lulled to a quieter place within myself by the gentle, almost unnoticeable rocking of the boat.

I'm going to send the tech a little thank you, card tomorrow. Tell her how much I appreciated her listening to me. I have some sadness to work through with that damn mammogram in my cancer therapy still. I think some tears still need to spill.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ode to the 6 month tests

Tomorrow morning is my next six month check up. I tried really, really hard to squirm my way out of getting the darn mammogram. But the MRI folks realized I didn't have the films sent to them today, and called me and asked for them. Drats! Foiled!! Since the mammo failed me the first time, since it didn't find the cancer, didn't even SHOW my cancer, I don't want it. LIke last week I went to the dentist, and I didn't want the xrays. I don't want the extra radiation. Hahaha!! I don't want that little bit of radiation, but I'll take high dose radiation where it counts. haha.. life and all of its ironies you gotta love.
So...I got caught. I called my stellar oncology doc and the awesome team there scheduled everything for me and then made all the calls to the MRI folks. I realized how lucky I was today, when I spoke with a newbie. She is a cherished mother of dear friends of mine. It was a big day on Survivor land.
I spoke with her, with not a stretch for my heart, at all. I felt empowered and full of just the right things for her. I realized when speaking with her, how I was able to give my treatment to Dr. K. I let him be in charge of getting me through, so that I could just be with myself. My job, my only job was to get better, to take care of Heather. I did a good job. I sure did have some growing pains. I laugh out loud to myself thinking of them. LIke the time that I walked all the way down to the beach, down a very steep long hill, barely able to see, walking into branches, and then having to call D to come and pick me up. Totally deflated that I couldn't walk home. I learned about limits. I learned that I needed to not be such an athlete all the time. I learned I didn't have to prove anything to myself. It was okay to be vulnerable. To be true. To be in the present moment, and to listen to my body.
These lessons are helping me succeed and to now push my machine into marathon shape.
Okay, back to the survivors today. So that was this afternoon that I spoke with her. But this morning, one of the only woman that is my age, and is a dynamite kick ass power house, who by the way is a Triple Negative Stage 1 too, told me today that she found a new lump while she was in class. Fuck! I had that scare, we both reminded each other of that. BUt you know what? We share the knowing of what it is like. There is the club, that I hope to God none of you have to belong to..but we understand down to a cellular level of what she is going through right now. I'm feeling for you, E. Hugs.
Okay, so tomorrow. The mammo that I didn't get out of, and the MRI. I always get sick from the toxic stuff the put in you. I have to run eight miles tomorrow, so I might run from my part of town, which is Queen Anne to First Hill. You know what rocks, is that I am not super scared (well, the past few days I have not been sleeping again...so maybe I am), and I am running there. I feel strong. Last Saturday I ran sixteen miles in two hours and fifty-three minutes. I loved it, and when I wasn't loving it, I thought about my life, and how lucky I am to be alive and happy. Truly happy. Tomorrow isn't here yet, so I am going to relax and try to get some sleep.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jen Hoffmann

One of my best friends called me tonight, she lost her sister to breast cancer the same day I finished radiation. We have become very close this past year, through our mutual best friend, Keiko. I have been grappling with the idea of what my Pink Ribbon will read as I pass through my Marathon in Big Sur...actually ending in Carmel. She called me tonight and asked if I'd figured out what my ribbon was going to say. I told her no. At which point she sent me a photo of her sister at the top of Mt. Whitney after her second chemo infusion. She hiked this Mountain and stood on top of it with the sign that read (her supportive husband printed it out for her) and it read....


Those words say it all. And that is what my sign will say.

*uck Cancer....is at the core of it. Is what pushes me when I am hurting and tired. I push through and think of my pain, of what I have gone through. So yes, *uck Cancer...but I don't want to run through that. I want to run through the idea that this is nothing. That cancer couldn't stop me, and nothing can.. I will continue living, and pushing forward...

Hell Yes! JEN HOFFMANN...Survivor that keeps living, in Memory. I will be running through CANCER SCHMANCER.....Thank you.

Jen said in her blog: 8/12/2007::::

Jenn Glickman March 7 at 10:12pm
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose...

Sunday, August 12, 2007 by ShawnieMac
On August 10, at exactly 11:44 AM, after ascending exactly 6132.61', (and two days after chemo), we reached the summit of Mt. Whitney under the bluest of blue skies. In spite of all of my recent treatments, we're pretty convinced that the best medicine I've received so far came at 14,497'.

When we reached the summit, after tears of celebration and accomplishment, Greg pulled out this sign he had made before we left (unbeknownst to me). Pretty much sums it up...

Whatever ends up taking me eventually, it sure as hell isn't going to be this cancer...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Steamin with friends

Last night I happened to be on island with some free time. I thought of the frogs that are billowing out their cries for us all to awaken from our winters dormant sleep, and unite with Spring. I realized I needed to go take a walk in the dark and listen to them sing to me. I was ecstatic to have my friends pick up their phone, and they too were on island. Out of all the fancy spas (I am a spa-a-holic) I've been to, their sanctuary is my favorite. There were just four of us in there, and we were able to sink quickly into the conversations that I love the most. The real ones, on life, and bouncing ideas off one another. I realized something in there. I am perfect as I am, in this moment, and I think I've been being too hard on myself.
You know, I haven't done this kind of healing before, haha..so I was inflicting some hurry up, and get back to "normal" crapolla on myself. Last night, as the hummingbird slowed down, and I massaged my aching legs, I wrapped myself in the present moment of just being, just noticing.
I have always known that I am perfectly where I should be. Trust me, I say as I laugh at my inner hippie girl. But, she..the HIppie girl has been in a long hibernation. She had to go away so I could take all the stuff I did. I feel really sad, as I sit here and cry looking out at big ships pass on the Sound. I feel really sad that I put all that stuff into me. The other day I took a walk with a new friend that is a cancer survivor. He said to me, that there is a small percentage that he could get I think it was Lymphoma, but maybe I'm wrong, but some other cancer from his treatment he'd undergone. There is a grief in this potential of buying time.
We are all buying time. My friend who has early onset Parkinsons, is hoping to buy time with some new meds. Ladies getting botox, are buying time. Haha.
We are all buying time. Borrowing time, I mean. As it really isn't ours to be had. Or is it?
All I know this morning is how incredibly grateful I am to my friends. To my loved ones that at every single turn are there. I have been incredibly blessed to have so many teachers, friends that are my deep soul filled family, and my sister who are there for me. Life has been hard for everyone of us, in the past few years. I think as I come out of my slumber, energetically I am feeling this as well.
Here is a little poem I wrote this morning, as the Spring birds renew my Spirit like no other.


Sweet song birds
calling forth your mate
lay me an egg
to find as I walk this soft earth
broken shells to be kept on my altar
full of growth, fertility, new beginnings, and a promise of tomorrow

Monday, March 1, 2010


This time of year always brings a smile to my face. Actually, anytime brings a smile to my face, but lately its waffs of Daphne in full bloom that I breathe in as I run, or as I walk into my sisters house. I love this plant, and if I am ever lucky enough to be a mother to a little girl, I would love to name her Daphne, if they are a fit.
I have decided to not write here unless I have something to process or share, and I do again finally. Finding the place to start seems to be harder and harder because I am not writing as often. I am not sure what is good for me. Maybe I should be writing more often. I guess I just do not have the desire to make my writing interesting and fun right now.
One thing that I have learned from an early age is that I do not want to put myself in a place of being a victim, or feeling sorry for myself. This is not a Heather thing to do. But (there are always Buts in life) I did choose to become very in~sync with myself, and I shared my entire process. I feel like in this introspection there is, and very well maybe a place of being too in tune. Like maybe i just need to be. Not think everything through so much. Maybe its as simple as loving myself back in that now learned place of...dah..dah..dahhhh..dahh..the present moment.
As right now, the Daphne is in bloom, it is night, and I am laying in bed all cozied in with my new snuggle buddy (stuffed elephant that is HUGe, LOL) and that is all I need right now. I am content, in fact I feel blissed out.
As I was walking with a friend today I explained that when I am around her, I don't feel like I need to protect her, or worry about her, and that I can just process my feelings. I notice this with most of my close friends. I feel like I am "living life" around her. But at other times I feel myself protecting loved ones and not "living life" around them. This past weekend I visited my beloved sister and my baby nephew.
I knew visiting my nephew may be difficult for me since I just came to the understanding that I may very well not be able to be a mother in the way that I had always dreamt. I have even come to a place in the last couple of weeks, with toying around and sitting with the elephant in the room, that maybe I will just not be a mother at all. I am not going there totally yet, because I know that that will not be the case. I have to trust that Spirit will bring my children to me, in whatever form, but a form they will come. They must. I have too much love to share to not.
Anyhow, so visiting my sister was great. But I felt the whole time I was not fully giving myself to her. We did fall asleep and cuddle like two peas in our usual pod, but I was careful with her. I just didn't give 100% to her, not even 60%. SHe knows it, I am sure she felt it. I blurted out on my walk today, that I think its because what if I die and I don't want to cause her anymore pain. And I also shared my little morbid reason of my new found obsession with taking photos of everything. It is for her to look back when I die and see all the things, all the things that make Up Life, and see what touched my heart.
Or maybe I am just reminding myself of what is My Life, and what touches my heart, and its as simple as that. Everything means more now. The Daphne is intoxicating, whereas before I just loved it immensely. Now, it creeps into poems and is a thought in my daily mind like a new lover.
Other changes I am noticing is in my work. I love being a healer, and I will die, one day, being a healer. I also love selling real estate and enjoy the game of it. I truly do. But the past few weeks, I have been toying around with the idea of not selling real estate anymore and just being a Healer. Because life is too short to have so much stress. But that is not what its really about for me. At all. I enjoy it. I simply am not able to do it all as much as I need to be doing, and to do it all gracefully. I guess Grace is gone for the moment. I feel like a clunky teenager. For example, tonight I had plans to go out to dinner with a friend and catch up. I had a buyer call a half hour before I was to pick her up, and say, I am finally ready to make an offer on this house. I chose to take care of myself instead of doing what the old Heather would do. I did not cancel my plans. But went to dinner and had a great time. I got home at 10. The old Heather was saying, go to the office and write up the offer tonight so you can sleep in. But the new Heather said, No, go home write, and wake up early and write the offer up.
Is it insane to work until midnight? If you love what you do? Yes.
So, I am fine doing them both. And you may even wonder why it is that I write this since its not really about my Journey with cancer. But really it is. You see, I had the Pre-Cancer Heather, the Cancer-Heather, and now these two young women need to integrate so that I can start living my life as Heather. I need to stop being in limbo and actively start molding these lovely ladies together. Well, Hello there. Nice to meet you. Way to start taking care of yourself.
Speaking of taking care of myself, I ran last Saturday 15 miles in 2 hrs and 35 minutes. I am feeling incredible. My stress levels and anxiety are way lower.
I am able to handle more. Each week that goes by I notice a huge change in my well being. I feel calmer, though at times--- I grew up watching The Jetsens-- I feel like Rosie the robot when she has her meltdowns and wonder if people can see my bolts and screws go haywire in the air..haha.
I guess these juxtapositions are life. I guess its okay that I am not back to normal, and that normal is trying to still catch up to the whirling dervish I have been enraptured by. There is no right way to deal with being told you have a life threatening illness, no right way to go through treatment, and no right way to heal from the trauma. It just is what it is and that is it. Pretty simple really.
I am doing better. I am feeling strong and I am sleeping finally ( I write this as I yawn). I think I am in shock still when I think about what I have gone through. I am nearing the time that I will read through my blog and start writing my book. I am becoming clearer and clearer on how it will be written. It is a fun thing to think about as I run.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Uh...getting drunk doesn't work.

Last night I went over to my Uncles and we went to a chili contest. I drank so much wine, and had such a blast (mind you I am a total light weight so my lot is not that much). I woke up this morning feeling woozy, and tried to run. Ick!! Note to self: Dear Heather, please do not drink anymore alcohol while you are already taxing your body/machine for this marathon.


In general I am at peace with myself right now, and I do not have a bunch to say, nor do I feel inspired to write. This healing journey goes in waves. Feeling good. My dear friend Keiko is flying in for a few days this afternoon, and I am looking forward to having a girlfriend around. To drink tea with. I am definetly (damn I can't remember how to spell still-drives me nuts) less manic than I've been. But still a swirl of energy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cobwebs and chicken soup

The news from last week really put me into a tailspin for a few days. The day I found out, I drove out to Vashon Island, and took a walk for two hours. I just let myself cry, and cry, and cry some more. I walked and cried. I walked and saw beauty and spring pushing itself through the plants with beautiful buds. After a few hours, of giving the passing streams my saddness and a few puddles of gazing deep at myself and then splashing into them, I was better. I was better enough to say to myself, Heather, it is going to be okay. Again, surrender became my teacher. Again, I had to learn how to surrender without giving away my dreams. How to be soft, yet be rock solid. I am learning.
All I can do right now is hold on. Life is genuinely difficult for me right now. At the same time very easy. It truly is a mindset. If I just take care of myself, and don't start planning a bunch of things and just keep it simple, life is good. I am surrounded by loved ones, and I am slowly getting my apartment into a sanctuary for myself. I have been training effortlessly for this marathon. Last Saturday I ran 14.25 miles in two hours and fifteen minutes. My body is finally at the place of being able to run and talk, and get excited at the sametime that I can do this!! I get sore for the day after my longer runs, but then bounce back very quickly. I am feeling strong, and confident. I know my body very well. Very well. And most importantly I know how to listen to my body. I am taking lots of baths and soaking in epsom salts, and icing if need be. Eating lots of good food, and sleeping well. Pretty well at least.
I am still not back in a place of being able to handle stress very well. Which to most everyone around me, would be astonishing because I do so much, and get so much done. I guess its kindof like when I am running. If I focus on the activity/chore/work at hand it is easy and no biggie. But if I start thinking or processing that I have so many more miles to go, work to do, ect..than it/life starts to get painful.
I need a vacation, but honestly I know myself well enough right now, that the best place for me to be is here. To be home. To be still, in the daily regular life, and just live my schedule. I have my MRI in a couple of weeks and I am a bit panicky. The second surgery caused tons of scar tissue and so my breast hurts when I hug people or if I palpate it. WHich freaks me out. I know there is no cancer there, but it still freaks me out.
It is Winter. I am relishing in the solitude of the season. Loving my mornings of drinking tea, and spacing out. I am taking care of myself and loving myself, at the same time being the tazmanian devil.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Which one is worse?

I don't know what would be worse, if I got my cancer back, or the news I just found out. For a woman like me, all she's dreamt about is having children of her own, One Day. To watch their faces lite up when they first learn how to ride a bike, the pain in their eyes when they get stung by a bee, the whole thing. I"ll back track.

Chemo puts girls/woman my age into a Chemopause like state. My Onc told me I had a 50/50 chance of getting my period back. I went through the fertility steps of harvesting eggs. I got 6. I ruined 3 with my X, because in the fertilized state they are hardier and have more of chance of being a viable pregnancy. So now, I just have 3. Chances of that working are 30% maybe a little lower.

I went to see my Onc a few days ago. My tumor markers are low, Yay...at 12. I told him through tears in my eyes, "It would just be nice to know if I am going to get my moon back." He said that usually it comes back within in a year, I am a year and two months out. It should've come back by now, he said. So, he went on to explain that we should do a hormone level on my blood draw as well. If the number is high then my chances are good that I'll get it back. If they are medium, chances pretty low. If they come in low, exteremely doubtful.

Well, I just got his call, and they are a 6. VERY, VERY low. WOman my age that are pre-menopausal are between 15-26. He said that at my next check-up if it hasn't come back, that we need to talk about Osteoporosis, ect....I'm so sad.

He said that it still could come back. And we all know how incredible bodies are. But, I need to be pragmatic, I need to move on, and forward. The limbo state is very, very hard.

At least I know. Now I can begin my process of mourning. I have three eggs. If that doesn't work I can use my sisters, and fertilize it, then I can carry a baby. I still can do that. If that fails, then I can adopt, and I have two incredible soul friends that have been examples of this love. So sad.

I will probably never ever bleed again. I guess, I can embrace all the night sweat/hot flash herbs now. I am going to make a ritual for this. I have to. It is a rites of passage. One that I am sad to be embracing. But embrace it I will.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My last 3 month check-up?

I haven't written from Swedish Cancer Institute in a while, or maybe ever. Chemo took the memory of the past. Driving into the garage, a calm came over me. Pushing the blinking garage ticket button, the arm raised, and I drove in. As I circled my way into the garage, I parked at the same time as another person. A man, and his child. I got out of my car, and looked in his direction. Hoping to catch an eye, an eye of understanding. A Tribal understanding. Walking into the elevator, pushing 1, and going up. Walking through and into the Institue I felt a sense of home. Of a welcoming. Tears started down, and I felt the sadness.
The girls at the front desk remember my name, and handed me my slip with the directions for the blood folks..the infamous tumor marker blood draw..CA 27-? Can't remember. Who cares. Its the test for Breast Cancer, my tumor markers. The test that I will call tomorrow and find out my numbers. I'll mark them down in my little journal, so that I can graph them. Watch them. Live by them, as a cobweb lives in a window sills corner.
As I waited for my blood to be drawn, I look around the room that is full of every kind of person and walk of life. I am nervous now. I was able to keep those feelings at bay until now. I tried calling a few friends before todays appointment, but didn't get in touch with them all. I just wanted to tell everyone that I think today will be my last 3 month appointment. Its February now. In three months, it will be a full year that I was done with my treatment. A full year later, and I will be running a marathon in Big Sur. Big Sur to Carmel. I cannot wait to tell Dr. K this news. I can't wait to hug him, and tell him that I am ready to start being available to young woman who get diagnosed. I came armed with my blog business cards to give him. I am ready to start being a beakon of hope for these girls/woman. To tell them with a determined look, as I was gifted by a Survivor, that they will get through this. They will.
I am going to go now. I want to smile at the folks around me. I want to open myself up to this experience. Feel it. I can't wait to get on the scale.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10 Miler

Completed in an Hour and thirty-nine minutes! Just a quick, kick butt update! 10 minutes faster and one mile longer than last week!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Time to start living

Survivors ahead of me on the road to recovery said over and over to me, "There will come a day when you do not think of cancer." That was hard to believe. Hard to imagine. I can happily say, with tears streaming down my face, that that day has almost come. So much to say. I moved, and have been overwhelmed with busy life things to get internet at my place. And processing at my office is not the thing to do.
where to start. I'm going to go back a few weeks to my counseling session. I must again state here, how important seeing a cancer specialist therapist has been to my recovery.
I was in there telling her how overwhelmed I was. Telling her all my "USED" to be stuff. I used to be a good multi-tasker. An unbelievable one. I still do more than the most person in a day, but in doing that I have huge anxiety, huge sense of non-well-being, and just not coping well. She said to me, as light bulb went off in my head, "Heather, when you got diagnosed everything became structured around doctors appointments, and chemo, and radiation, ect." Suddenly, the dam broke and I just started to cry.
That was it. I had, with a goddamit HAD to stop everything. I had to say goodbye to my life and stop living it...so that I could get a chance to LIVE again. Wow. It is time to start living again. To stop going through the steps, but actually living. Making plans. I have been making plans. But those plans were sprawled across my mind, and had no connection to my heart. I realized with great JOY, as I grabbed her notebook and pen out of her hands, I NEEDED TO START MAKING MY SCHEDULE!!
I realized that I was safe to do so. I can ease into life. I can wake up, drink my tea, day dream about anything (which is NOT cancer related anymore), get dressed, go work out, go into my office, go do massages, go back to my office, take a walk, eat nourishing food, and go to sleep.
I spent the summer just being a crazed extrovert with no direction at all. This winter, I am sinking into my life again. Actually, just the past couple of weeks. And you know what? The anxiety is gone. I am much more relaxed. Realizing at the sametime, that I still have a ways to go with feeling safe and mentally sound.
That was huge.
The other huge thing, is that I have commited and have started training the last couple of months for the Big Sur Marathon, April 25th. I had decided I wanted to run one, and then I ran into my friend Bridget. She had run this one, and loved it. I looked it up, and smiled instantly when I saw the date. Exactly a year after I compeleted my treatment, I will be kicking cancer in the ass with a marathon. In one of my top three favorite places in the world.
As I train, I visualize crossing the finish line, and breaking my hand made pink ribbon that my sister and one of my best friends Gen will be holding. I started out thinking the ribbon will read, "Fuck Cancer." But then, that is not really me, and have been thinking more on the lines of, "I beat breast cancer". That is not it, still thinking. You all may suggest a one liner for this ribbon for me!! At the end of the day, its going to be a total reclammation of my body, and saying to myself, If I can get through cancer treatment, I can finish a marathon, and I will do it. I am on week 5 of Hal Higgdon's novice plan, and am absolutely loving feeling my body getting stronger and stronger every week. Last Saturday was my big run of 9 miles, and I finished. Slow but I finished, in an hour and 49 mintues. This Saturday is a 10 miler. I am training twice a week with a personal trainer, and feeling very strong. This is helping to decrease my anxiety as well. And very happy to say, my hot flashes, have all but vanished. Except last night, I woke to wet blankets, a major night sweat.

I am doing well. I am healing still. I am learning how to simply live, so that I can integrate all my new learned lessons of self. I am being gentle with myself, and only surrounding myself with positive people. I was in such need during my treatment, that I took help from anyone, now its time to move back to pure joy and light again.

I am becoming whole. I made my next three month appointment during yesterdays couseling session. I kept putting it off, and needed my hand held during the phone call. Its for February 3rd. I will let the scared feelings wait for that day and the next, until I get my tumor markers told to me over the phone. That news and bad feelings can wait for those days. Today, is a day of light and joy, and kicking ass!