Saturday, December 28, 2013


Yesterday, December 27th, was my third cancerversary.  It marked 3 years since the end of my treatment (chemo and radiation).  The most spectacular thing about reaching this milestone is that I forgot entirely about it until I was falling asleep last night.

This is to say to all of those people right now struggling to get to recovery, it is possible to get to a place where you are not only NOT thinking about cancer every day, but you can even forget about it completely.

Granted, I suffer from a poor memory (is that a side effect of chemo? or getting older?), and we happen to be on vacation at the moment and I am happily immersed in feeling as far away from my normal self as I can.  We have no routine, simply reading, eating everything in sight, and playing in the sun.  It is, shall we say, not bad.

I am grateful today for the brain's ability to heal in a way I did not think it could.

vitamin D

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Well Wishes

December again.  Time moves on, I suppose quite predictably, and my life continues to travel away from cancer.  Score 1 for me.  In less than 2 weeks, it will be precisely 3 years since I finished first line treatment for my Non-Hodgkins.  Quite hard to believe.

This past year has been a year of new normal (ick I hate that term).  Getting into another full year of my teacher coaching, new friends, a first grader in the house, adding to our family this past Spring with the arrival of Alex the goldfish, Dan and I continuing to march on in our quest to have another kid, and so on.

I've been cleaning and clearing out unnecessaries, now that winter is practically here.  A few days ago, I came across this box full of most of the cards I received when I was sick.

Friday afternoon, in my traditional end-of-week cleanup, I began to go through the cards.  I'm thinking it's time to ditch the box and just hang on to a few reminders of the love that was sent to me and Dan during our little crisis.

I was seriously in tears (not that anyone's surprised) reading each one.  Since then, I had definitely pushed these memories to the farthest, tucked away corner, refusing to recall the need for such words of support.  But this was a treat - feeling so loved all over again.  I am in awe that people knew me so well; some of the cards were created with me in mind.

I began to make piles of the cards:  Keep (in a smaller, cigar box), Use for art projects/making Get Well Soon cards for others, and Recycle.  It was not easy to make such decisions, decisions I obviously didn't want to make 3 years ago, either.  And as I looked at each one, I was amazed at how my Hancock family (the school where I used to teach) sent me so so many tokens of love (Roe - I finally destroyed the evidence!).  My friends (and Dan's coworkers and my parents' friends!) sent spirit lifters, cookies, soup, dinners, wigs, fun stuff from my wish list, paper hugs and plenty of them - personalized and handpicked.  Students and their parents sent encouraging words.  And of course, letters from my family underscored how supported I was from every corner of the world.

Remember the white M&M Kung-Fu fighting?
Maybe you can never know what sending a card can do for someone who is sick.  Unless of course, you've been there.  And maybe these cards meant more to me than to others in similar circumstances.  But I am here to say they helped.  They made me feel surrounded, lifted even.  

BLITSTEIN:  The Musical (by Will M., former student)
And of course I have more wishes for the future.  The superstitious piece of me feels like spitting (tfu-tfu) after writing that, but it is true.  Hopes and dreams.  And so much gratitude for those who helped me survive and walked with me into recovery.

the bulldog is fuzzy