Monday, September 26, 2011

Moving on

Doctor appointment tomorrow - plastic surgeon.  It's just a regular check up, but I'm hoping we can start talking about planning for the next surgery.  It will be a relief to get the permanent implants in place.

What am I relieving?  I don't really know.  The doctor can't tell me they'll feel any better than the ones I have now, but I'm hoping that's the case.  Hoping they'll feel a little more natural, softer.  That's the physical aspect of it.  Maybe the relief I seek is to close this chapter and move on. 

Moving on, what is that?  Do I forget about what's happened to me over the past 10 months?  10 months - that seems like such a short amount of time.  It's not even a year yet!  It's hard to explain how it feels - in some ways things are still so fresh, but in others it feels like a distant memory. 

No, I'll never forget.  The memory will soften as the time grows longer but it will never go away.  I don't want it to.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second Life

Here it is... September.

One year ago, I had no idea the turn my life would take.  Just 9 months ago, 2 weeks after my recital last year, I found out I had breast cancer.  From that moment, my life flipped upside down.  While I tried to take each day at a time and deal with what came my way, nothing ever seemed really 'normal'. 

Time marched on and so did all my treatments and doctors appointments.  Previously, I was always so healthy and energetic, but this wouldn't always be the case now. I spent my birthday, anniversary and countless holidays and weekends making the best of it all.  It wasn't always easy, but you do what you have to and can do.

How different yet the same everything seems now.  I feel good.  I am working, dancing, running just as I did last year. Well, almost as I did last year - just a little lazy in the 'training' department.  The difference is that I'm thankful for each day I get to do it all over again.

So, this weekend I spent a few hours at the nail salon.  As bad as my nails were just a few months ago, these people were miracle workers. This one woman in particular (her name happens to be Mary!!) at this salon made them look just as they did before. 

But this time, I had someone else.  She had a heavy spanish accent and we didn't talk at first.  I don't even know her name because I could barely understand her.  She worked on my feet, which still have a heavy ridge at the top of the toe nail as a result of the chemo side effects.  When we moved to the chair to do my finger nails we were able to decipher our languages a little better.  I was marveling at how great my nails look naked!  She thought I was looking at the imperfections in her work!  When I was able to explain why I was so happy, she instantly smiled.  She too had breast cancer 9 years ago and had suffered the nail discoloration, pain, markings, etc. that I did.  Her's still show signs of that.  She was amazed at how good my nails looked.  We talked about breast size and hair and feeling bad.  All the memories that are so hard to erase.

Finally, she ended her time with me by talking about getting a second life.  Congratulating me for getting here and wishing me the best for my future.  I wished her the same.  We were instant friends - kindred spirits of sorts.

It's September.  I get to celebrate my kids birthdays - Sarah will be 23 and Alex 25.  Bob's is next and then mine.  In between is work, work, work, my dance recital and all the preparations that lead up to that, a run or two and plenty of other day to day activities.  It's a very busy time of year and I'm entirely grateful that I'm here to be able to deal with it all and enjoy all the craziness.  And then it's Thanksgiving... it will mark the year anniversary of the dreaded news.   But this year Thanksgiving is met head on as a celebration of life and hope.  I am truly thankful for my second life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Success is one of those things that can be a moving target. What is considered to be the meaning of success today can change as our lives change.  Success comes in all different shapes and forms and can show up at different times.

All our lives we are taught to set goals and when we reach those goals, we are supposed to feel successful.  Some measure their self-worth based on these lofty goals.  But I think success can happen long before the final goal is reached.  And who's to say that if you don't reach that goal, that you should feel proud of your accomplishments. The milestones along the way can be just as successful and fulfilling. 

Life is full of ups and downs, hills and valleys.  We fall down and get up and try again.  Where do we find the drive to keep going when you get defeated so often?  Human beings have an indomitable spirit and ability to adapt to new circumstances. 

Never give up... I saw the best example of that phrase in action this past week.  I know a guy.  This guy recently reached a goal that took a long time to achieve.  When there was a dead end, he found another road.  Success.  As each step along the way was climbed, a new one was added to the ladder.  Challenge after challenge wore him down but he persevered.  More successes.  Finally, 6 years of hard work finished with a diploma and yet another roller coaster ride began.  You'd think after all this, your ego would be hurt, your drive diminished.  Just over 2 months after and hundreds of resumes later, the job offer came in the mail.  The perfect offer from the ideal company.  The result of hard work and many many goals and successes.

Is success found in the ultimate goal? No, I don't believe so.  Success is living your life everyday the way YOU believe is best.  Finding happiness in what you do and making the best of every situation is success.

I couldn't be prouder of this guy  - if you haven't figured it out, it's my Alex.  He'll be very angry with me for writing this about him.  He's very humble and not boastful and really doesn't like it when we make a big deal about things.  But this is a big deal to me and Bob and we just can't hold in our excitement for him.  Sorry Bud - couldn't help myself!!  Love you.

Success is found all along the way... with many more to come!