Monday, October 31, 2011

Blast From the Past

The latest vlog, and below that, a bonus - this was me pre-blog, pre-miscarriage, pre-marriage, and of course, pre-cancer. Even though I was 34, I look at this now and think, wow was I young.

A bike ride, a co-op order, a cute poodle, a

From art school, 2004. More of my videos here.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Quick and easy: steamed kale, cannelini and black beans, dulse flakes, toasted walnut oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Soup for breakfast: buckwheat soba (gluten-free!), red onion, carrot, spinach, pinto beans, ginger, dandelion-leek miso.

Now that cancer treatment is behind me, I feel like I'm famished - not for food (though I couldn't title a blog post this way and not show you some good food), but for life. There is so much I want to do, so much on my mind that eating and sleeping feel like chores, though I do both daily, in a sort of fever. By no schedule except the insistence of my stomach, I prepare the simplest, healthy foods I can throw together, clean my plate, then back at it. I put myself to bed only when my eyes are heavy with the need for oblivion, and I'm awake early, mind racing in the dark.

I am pigging out on LIFE, working, running with the dog, swimming with my mermaid buddies, dreaming and scheming and feeling excitement for each day like possibly never before, thanks to new found courage, focus, and clarity. To what do I credit this surge of zestfulness? Fear of death, of course!

I am scared that one of these days my scans (ultrasound in six months, and then another, plus mammogram, six months later) or blood tests (four weeks from now and every three months after) will derail me. My only defense is to LIVE like this moment MATTERS. Because it does.


Celebrating the end of cancer treatment. More of my videos here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Suspense is Killing Me

More of my videos here.

Here's the email I sent out to supporters yesterday:

Hello everyone,

In ten minutes I need to be out the door to go for my first mammogram and ultrasound followed by a visit with my breast specialist/surgeon since I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. The appointment was scheduled a long time ago for next week, postponed until November because of scheduling conflicts by the doctor, then moved up to today as I’ve been noticing some thickening/swelling near my surgical scar. It might be scar tissue, it might be recurrence, and of course I’m scared out of my mind. Hopefully this is just the first out of what is sure to be many scares. Hopefully it is the first out of many that turns out to be nothing.

I’m writing to you all so that I can imagine you all crowded into the room with me as Jim and I get whatever news there is to get. It helps to think of you there.

Also, for those that don’t know, I ran the Hartford half marathon for my first time last year, just days before my diagnosis. I ran it again this past weekend after a year of cancer treatment which you all helped me get through. Somehow I managed to run it the second time almost twelve minutes faster than the first.

Whatever happens next, hopefully I’ll be back at it next year, improving my time yet again.

Whoever talks to me first tonight will post the update from today’s appointment, probably my Mom. More updates on the blog...

Thanks to everyone who saw me through this crazy horrible year. To all who said it was probably nothing, just the normal changes post-radiation, you were right! And my remaining breast checks out fine too. Hallelujah! Now, back to living...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Can Wild Mushrooms Cure Cancer?

I hope so!
More of my videos here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Very Nervous

Somehow I skipped sharing this one: Millie's Birthday, among other things. More of my videos here.

I'm worried. Not so much for the half-marathon this weekend. Whatever happens with that, I know I'll be fine.

Mostly I'm nervous because just like last year, I will be getting checked for breast cancer a few days later. In this case, I'm much less certain that I will be fine.

In the last week I've noticed a thickening under the skin near my mastectomy scar. Not a lump exactly, and hopefully nothing of real concern. I showed it to Jim and he concurs. "Definitely puffier," he said, but he's also hopeful that it's nothing serious.

I called my doctor just in case and she moved my one-year-later follow-up appointment forward by two weeks.

I go in on Tuesday, October 18th.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Go For It

Today I'm changing my blog's profile picture to reflect my new attitude.

The most valuable lesson cancer taught me is that life is short and it is now. If you want to live with excitement and zest you just can't aim for comfortable, you have to aim well outside the limits you've always set for yourself in the past. For me that means being my authentic self, flaws and all, vibrantly and ridiculously and without apology. It means making mistakes and celebrating the glory of well-intentioned failure. It means going after people I admire and inviting them into my life. And going after the people who are already in my life and inviting them closer. It means giving all my gifts, planting all my seeds.

I want to live large during the day, sleep deep at night.

And vice versa, on occasion.

I want to wake up brimming with feeling for the day to come.

I want collaborations galore.

What do you want?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


The evidence of the transition from feeling good to not so good is a little bit evident in this one.
Plus lots of Millie cuteness. More of my videos here.

Last year I celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month by running my first half-marathon, all the while thinking about the lump in my breast and bracing myself for a biopsy scheduled for the following week.

For the next ten months I continued to brace myself as I moved through each new phase of treatment. Somewhere along the line I started wondering if I might feel well enough in time to run the Hartford Half again this year, scheduled for October 15th. I resisted thinking about it for a long time, didn't want to make a commitment, didn't want to push myself too hard or feel disappointed if I fell short of a goal.

As time passed and I began to feel better, running the half this year has begun to look like a golden redemption, a chance to prove to myself that I am fine, that cancer is behind me, that there will be no lasting side effects from the chemical and surgical assault of the past year.

That race is now less than two weeks away and I am registered. Two weekends ago I ran eleven miles. I've been feeling great. But a strange thing has begun to happen.

I don't feel quite so great as I once thought. My feet hurt. My calves are knotted. I've had some neuropathy in my fingers again. I've woken some mornings lately feeling hungover and hobbled. In fact, the other day I found myself feeling so miserable five miles into a planned twelve-miler that I stopped in my tracks and burst into tears. And since that day, every time I exert myself, in the pool or on the road, the same groundswell of emotion rises in me.

I'm realizing that I can't push my way through everything that feels hard. I can't outrun the toll cancer has taken on my life. Sometimes I'm simply going to have to slow down, to feel things, to nurture and nourish myself, and to breathe.

I'm still planning on turning up at the starting line on October 15th. I am no longer going to look for a finishing time to beat last year's. I'm done with trying to prove the impossible. I'll run when it feels good, I'll walk if I want to. And life, hallelujah from the bottom of my heart, will go on.