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Monday, June 14, 2010

..... the one year mark

..... the 19th of June will be the 1st anniversary of my diagnosis and the call comes in from a friend asking if I will be doing the cancer walk on the overnight of the 18th of June....

.... my answer was no... not this year.  I did the walk in Belle River two years ago with the gals from the Windsor station and found it to be a very emotional event, one that I am not ready for just yet.  Sarah has dropped off a bag for my children to decorate in honor of my journey and to acknowledge the journey that we all have been on.  Lydia will be turning 8 on the 18th and we will spend the evening celebrating the amazing life that Max and I have created.

I am starting to regain some of my energy, well at least that's what it feels like after struggling to roll out of bed on feet that quickly ignite in pain should I forget to slip on my cushy flip flops..... and even then, I shuffle like an 80 year old before the arthritis meds kick in.  I am relieved, as I pass in front of my dresser mirror slowly, that my hair is beginning to turn shades of black and brown with what looks like frosted tips.  I pass my hand through the thickening mass and smile - almost there.  I have a drawer in that dresser that is dedicated to my head gear and other implements of my journey, including the spare edema sleeve.  The scarves I will likely never wear again but will eventually move them to a corner of my closet to make room for new clothes.  I have gained some weight but have been told that that too will come off as I become more active.  I will garden today or at least put in a good show as I pull myself along on my rear pulling each weed out.  I am determined to accomplish as many tasks as possible but find that I exhaust easily - I rest and attempt to get back out there.  It is the nights that will exact the final punishments as I try to turn every aching muscle into a more comfortable position..... I am usually too tired to care and slip into a slumber that will be hard to stir until the night sweats come.  It is getting better with each waking day and I know that I will get there sooner than later - part of the stubborn streak that has served me well.

Tonight, i cannot sleep and find myself writing out email responses and one with a quiet resignation to my VP and secretary on our recreational committee I have served on for a decade and have become president of over the past three years.  So much has changed with me and what I consider to be important and what needs my attention.  I love my quiet time and the peacefulness that it brings into my life.  I am reading voraciously these days... mostly mysteries - one where the heroin is strong willed, intelligent, motivated and driven by all-important truth and justice. I sometimes find myself looking back at my life and wondering about the choices I made... had they been different, would I still be here?  If I had to do a do-over, what would I do differently?   I know that I always withdraw when I need to gather strength - these past few weeks have me feeling detached and alone while quietly reflecting on what has been and what might possibly be in my future.  I am caught in no-man's land.  I am used to a regimented life filled with decisions that are mostly made with other schedules or agendas in mind.  My only agenda these days is what tasks I choose to do at home and what they will consist of.....most repeat themselves ad-nauseam like dishes and laundry.  The things I choose to do that I enjoy are definitely more a part of my schedule than ever before.  I don't watch TV much anymore but I do sewing projects, reading, gardening and of course writing.  I get to see the people I want to see and miss those whose lives are busier than mine is at the moment.  It is amazing how quickly the time passes at home.  I am beginning the arduous task of spring cleaning - not all of it has to do with the house.

Late last month I was interviewed on a UWO radio talk show with Patricia Kennedy and around the same time as the new edition of City Woman Magazine's interview with me about F.A.C.E.I.T, complete with the picture of me before my journey began last July.  I have been told that the picture is one of strength... at least the eyes show that.   I have autographed a few of these articles for friends but feel really weird about it.  I prefer to be behind the scenes despite my outgoing appearance and cringe when I hear my name spoken out loud these days.  I like my ordinary existence which likely explains the desire to withdraw from the world these days.  I have found the quiet within.... haven't had that peace and quiet since I was a child.  I love the quiet and the solitary moments while I sew or create new projects or do research online for the advocacy I am involved in.  I love the moments that bring friends around for quiet afternoon lunches or for toe-dipping in the pool as the summer progresses.  I love the beautiful plants that are springing to life that I pulled from the depths of our storage room from last fall.  The spring is alive and well at my house and I take pride in the beauty that surrounds the house and envelopes our senses.

Amazing what can happen in a year and like I told Patricia Kennedy... I got what I deserved..... I needed to slow my pace and spend some time living my life and yes, I have learned to live my life to the fullest.  It's not like I don't give my mortality a great deal of thought more than I give myself more opportunities to do the things I want to do above and beyond the mundane chores of our daily lives.  Perhaps I will write that mystery novel I have been meaning to get to or spend a lazy afternoon in the hammock with my soul mate.  We are only here for such a microscopic tick on the timeline of our world and I will try to make every moment count.  I see my husband outside puttering in the garden and my heart bursts as he turns to look at me and our eyes lock.  We are so much in love after all these years and I am deeply grateful for every day we are together.  Who knows what will come... for now, I will take the very best of the last year and head out to sit with my husband.... xox

14 June 2010
Today I spent an amazing afternoon with a woman whom inspires me with her strength of character and her celebration of life.  She accepts who she is and knows where she is going.  Her yard was amazing and her house was filled with high energy - my kind of gal!!  Thank you so much for opening your home to me.

I came home to find an email in my inbox from Cottage Dreams!!  We have been granted a cottage for my family and I to go to in the Muskokas (my choice) to make up for the summer last year that wasn't!!  We are all so excited to be able to celebrate by the water at the end of a dock in a cottage donated for the week to a family who have been through the cancer journey.  I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened along the way.

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