On Turning 40

I’ve been dreading this day for as long as I can remember. Three years ago, when Mary brought up the fact that I was closing in on the big 4-0, I turned on my heel and walked out of the room, indignant that she would say such a hateful thing. But, after two years of arm wrestling with breast cancer, I can honestly say I’m thrilled to be turning 40. Cancer changed me, whether for better or worse is still to be seen. But it struck me recently when I heard someone say that aging is a privilege not a right. Today, I feel extremely privileged.

Spoke too soon

Oy, I finished radiation and immediately got walking pneumonia. I know…I’m the luckiest girl you know, right? Apparently radiation to the chest wall makes one more vulnerable to the lung crud. So I hacked myself silly for two weeks, during which time I barely crawled out of bed and had to bug out of some assignments. But, thank goodness, a round of antibiotics did the trick and I’m feeling MUCH better. My immune system needs some serious TLC, but I recovered just in time to go on a hiking trip with Mary and my family over Thanksgiving, so I’m grateful for small favors, as my grandmother used to say, “bigger ones solicited.”

A Day for Pancakes

Please forgive the silence on my blog these past few weeks. Sometimes the best way to get through cancer treatment is just to shut up and put up. So, that’s what I did. I’m happy to report that I just completed six weeks of radiation (28 treatments in all). This morning Mary took me out for cornmeal blueberry pancakes to celebrate. My energy is excellent. I’m back to writing and teaching yoga. And my hair is almost, well, hair (not fluff). Thanks for being patient with my process and for continuing to hold me in your thoughts.

Day 1: Round 4

Well, I’ve had a crappy couple of weeks. Chemo is nasty stuff and the inevitable list of nagging side effects (unshakable fatigue, fog, hives, etc…) are getting me down. My body is rebelling and my spirits are flagging. The good news is that today is my last chemo round!!! Mary and I are headed to Indy shortly. Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and I’m able to cross another treatment milestone off my list.

Day 8: Round 3

Wow. I’m feeling SO MUCH better than I’d anticipated. Thank you for your emails, positive thoughts, and mashed potatoes! Chemo makes you weepy, reflective, and uber-cheesy. On that note, an article I stumbled upon last week articulated my feelings about being on the receiving end of so much love. Here’s the snippit that grabbed me:

Our society provides no curriculum or schooling on how to notice love or recognize the many people who love us. Most of  us haven’t been taught that to receive love deeply and transmit it wholeheartedly is a real human possibility, that it can be learned, and that to do so is the key to our deepest well-being. As adults, we need to become newly aware of the love that has infused our lives all along.

From “Love is All Around” by John Makransky, published in Tricycle

But how does one learn to give and receive love? I will NEVER EVER say cancer is a gift. (As one wry friend put it, “if cancer is a gift, you’re not invited to my birthday party.”) But I am open to recognizing how it’s changed me. And, without a doubt, the most profound shift I’ve experienced is my ability to see the love that has infused my life all along.