Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 - a new year with breast cancer...

As I sit in our sunny living room this afternoon, still in my pyjamas, I ponder what I really want to write about. I have a long "to-do" list that just keeps getting longer but yesterday I decided to kind of take today off with the goal of posting on my blog and if that is the only thing I get done, so be it.

I was glad to see the end of 2012. Though Christmas did turn out to be fun, I was never really well. The last days of the year found me in dark places again, Low grade fevers persisted and I found myself again with too much time to think but not enough energy to even go to a yoga class or walk very far. I imagined worse case cancer scenarios and became increasingly impatient. My behaviour must have been almost intolerable for Dick as I vented my anger and frustration on the person closest to me.

I saw my oncologist on New Year's Eve and she started me on a new antibiotic. Either that and/or the sun that came out in the new year gave me a new perspective yet again as I started to feel better. I am learning that illness renders weakness that for me is hard to comprehend and live with and it takes wellness to understand that. I read back in my journals (sketchy as they are) from past years and found that I have struggled each winter since our return to Canada with what some people call SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. Even though I felt almost guilty then, that I could allow myself to wallow in despair, this year was compounded by breast cancer and illness caused by chemotherapy.

My recovery over the past 10 days has included another cycle of Taxol, my latest chemotherapy which could have laid me low. Instead I have felt almost "well," and have fleeting thoughts of what life might be like after chemo. I was able to snowshoe with friends on Tuesday and hike with my club yesterday.

When I checked in on Facebook today, there were many new posts. One of them was written by an old friend from our Vancouver school days and could not have been more timely ~~~ "lessons in practical optimism - those who have the strength can carry mountains." He wrote this while adding a link to this blog. For those of you reading this, you will know that the photo of me here has Mt. Everest in the background. In 2008 that was the hardest thing I had ever done. Breast cancer treatment is now the hardest thing I have ever done but with friends like Steve who wrote that post, I will conquer this and strive to "carry more mountains."

Maybe too I will learn that strength comes in different forms. What I have considered as weakness may not be that at all. Uncertainty is unsettling too but again, this is a new norm and something else that I can and need to learn from. Though the roller coaster ride continues, every positive step and thought is a step forward. I cannot always stop the negative thoughts but I can work to minimize them!

2013 was also the start of an amazing goal for our youngest child, Andy now age 20. He is raising money for "Right to Play." I am adding his link:

Andy has already completed 6 triathlons since his first on January 1. Twice so far he has asked me to walk part of the 10 k runs. Normally he actually runs them but I was so happy that we had those walks together this past week and I look forward to many more. Maybe I will even be able to manage 10 k one of these days.

The photo was taken on Tuesday on Cypress Mountain. It was pouring rain in town but snowing lightly on the mountain. I look forward to more!

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