The beautiful journey

The beautiful journey

I’m a self-employed consultant and mom of three kids who found out in August 2010 at age 47 I had an invasive ductal carcinoma: breast cancer. This blog captures my reflections along the path of a journey I didn’t expect; it’s a way to process, and perhaps hear from others. Perhaps it might be useful to people who are supporting someone going through this – it might provide an insight into what your friend or loved one is feeling, underneath the surface.

Since this is the kind of journey that probably makes more sense read chronologically, I’ve organized such an index here. If you’re on this journey yourself, or you’re supporting someone who is, I think it’s easier to understand when read from start to finish. (If it’s ever easy to understand!) I hope what I’ve shared here might help, in some small way, anyone else who has to face cancer. It certainly has helped me to write about it.

2010
August 26         The long slow road to diagnosis
August 31          Denial #1
September 28   Surgery day: gratitude, despite it all
September 30   Little thank-yous
October 6          Mental cocoon
October 7          The anonymous patient
October 8          What the heck do you say?
October 9          Living it up
October 12        Thanksgiving, age 47
October 13        Strollers, chillies, and side effects
October 14        A little voice of fear
October 14        Denial #2
October 15        Resentment!
October 18        Wingspan
October 20        Relief
October 21         Top of the roller coaster
October 22        Bits and pieces
October 24        Settling? in
October 26        Smack in the face, again
October 28        Wistful
October 28        Cupcakes and matcha
October 29        Things that delighted me today
November 1      Firecrackers
November 1      Pinto beans (or, the power of bean-counting)
November 1      Some kind of adventure
November 3      Functioning, and not
November 3      On Japanese TV and goo
November 4      Thank you, Virginia!
November 9      “Integrative health” or “Surviving being a survivor”
November 10    My “double life”
November 12    Brittle
November 17    Cancer, Psycho, and those damn violins
November 19    Brr… decision made!
November 22    A not so funny competition
November 24    Nearly done with waiting… ?
November 24    No chemo
November 29    Back from the goo, again
December 1       Knitting up fear
December 1       Like a little pencil lead
December 3      The first zap
December 6      The thump of the hockey gate
December 6      Zap #2
December 10    Getting older faster
December 10    My “double life” #2
December 12    No news is… no news
December 15    The inner animal returns
December 15    All the beauty and sadness
December 16    Short and sweet
December 17    Loving friends who lie
December 22    Solitude
December 23    Turning the corner

2011
January 4         A new take on the stats
January 4         The boost
January 4         Shall we chat?
January 6         The last zap
January 13       Perspective
January 13       Sunburn
January 17       The smile
January 19       Tamoxifen
January 25       The blurring of time
February 2        Friday night at emergency
February 7        Losing it 
February 11      Coffee and a workout
February 16      Back to cancer central
February 24      Oww!
February 26      Anniversary 
March 5             Two and a half
March 7             Next phase, suddenly
April 4                Life is sweet

And what’s been up since then? Life has been pretty good. Since my last post, I’ve celebrated the twins’ third birthday, my own 48th, the one year mark since my diagnosis, and eight months since ending radiation. I think about cancer often, but I don’t live in fear. I have adapted my diet and a few lifestyle elements (I try to sleep more), but for me, there was no epiphany about suddenly changing everything or creating more meaning in my life. I long ago decided to embrace each day as precious; we never know what will come next, no matter how many or few challenges we currently face. I’ll write here again; just haven’t had much time for it, given life’s return to normalcy. Which is okay. I hope anyone reading this can reach this point too.