Thursday, February 14, 2013

my year with cancer

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember saying that I didn't want it to dominate my life. I didn't only want to write about cancer, I didn't want to wear pink, and I didn't want any part of a support group. You know.

I wanted cancer to play a bit part in my life. I expected to heal from the surgery in a week or so and pretty much go on with my pre-cancer normal life only with chemotherapy treatments.

It didn't work out that way.

There are so many constant reminders of cancer: my bald head, the scarf repertoire, the itchy skin and search for products to relieve that side effect, the humidifier, the dry eyes...the list goes on and on and on, each thing on the list is minor but a daily reminder.

Even though I feel preoccupied with cancer, I don't feel burdened by it. I'm not sad and I'm not afraid. I figure everybody has to deal with something and this happens to be my thing right now. I read. I bake. I knit. I have cancer.

So, off I go to the pharmacy to find different soap. I rub down with jojoba oil and organic lotion. I try to get used to chicken skin, mine, not the kind on the chicken.

Like most things in life, I guess, this is a process and it isn't always easy. Like a bear riding a bike.


My daily whoop ass today comes courtesy of the folks at my exercise class: a woman who had a double mastectomy and lost her mother, a 90-year old man with a great sense of humor and a flirtatious way, a man with an oxygen tank and an artificial larynx, and a man who taught his two dogs to walk on the treadmill so his exercise could be a "family" project. If they can soldier on, so can I.

1 comment:

tccomments2013 said...

dear teresa,

i love your writing - hearing about your life is a wonderful gift. did you know that i love your blog so much that i, ME, the most inept and bewildered of those trying to put another notch in their efforts to be 21st century citizens of the world - i opened a GOOGLE ACCOUNT so i could still comment on your blog (those shithead spammers; well, at least being shut out because of their nasty shenanigans made me just a teensy bit more savvy - ha!) anyway, i think your determination to live your life as richly and fully as possible while going through BC treatment is what we all wish we could aspire to. but i suspect that art, one of taking life as it comes, has been one you mastered long before cancer. please know that i look forward to reading about every little thing - about your thoughts, feelings, about your regis, your mom, and dear gus and all your family and friends, about food, and nature, the delicious rants and cuss words, the lazy days that allow for just napping, enjoying a nice cuppa, your unique opinions on your own fashion sense, things that are hilarious and things that are just "meh", your daily can of whoop ass (god, i love that term!), snow angels, much called for irreverence(oy, the job opening at the vatican - i could have done one hell of a comment on that but good sense prevailed and i stifled myself. and i am glad that your write so honestly about how cancer has affected your life.

i save your blog for the last read of the day; to savor, to smile, to connect with the grace and humor and sage wisdom you so aptly apply with your words. life during cancer is no picnic, and sometimes, when treatment is finished it's not what i (we - hugh and i) pictured either. we move forward with promise, then fall backwards still blinking through squinty eyes at the surrealness of our dual cancer lives.

but guess what? reading what you write, your fine and gracious perspective on life and it's good and happy chapters mixed right along with the crappy ones -i always zero in on the thread of gratitude that often carries the day - or the hour, or week for you. i am NOT grateful for cancer, but i remain grateful for all of life's gifts, the appreciation of the beauty of nature, the warmth of friendship, the juxtaposition of the ridiculous and divine, art, music, poems, reading and writing. so, teresa, i find great solace and warm comfort just being along on this crazy trip called life with a woman who i feel so comfortable with.

happy valentines' day to you and regis. keep writing and i hope you feel good in the telling with whatever you have to say.

love, XOXO,

karen, TC