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..