Those pictures are from my first year of Stage IV breast cancer. Year 48 of my life and my 16th year here in Bellevue, WA. The activities and joy in them don’t even approach 1% of what I was able to do last year. Through really comfortable treatment options and a lot of support from my coworkers and friends, I spent about 12 weeks travelling the world (Whistler, Disneyland, New York, Philadelphia, Hawaii, France…) and every day smiling, grateful for the love and relationships I’ve been given.
I am still working about 2/3 time as an English Instructor. I am mom to two amazing kids who are now 11 and 15. My partner of 25 years, Francois, becomes a closer friend to me each step of this journey. I hang out with my medical peeps at Swedish Cancer Institute in Issaquah, WA on a weekly basis and lean heavily on my therapist, Hemlata Mistry, to keep growing and learning about how through allowing tears can we fully experience the joys in life.
Swimming is my place of balance. When I’m swimming, I’m prioritizing my health and taking care of myself. Sometimes, I get a little unbalanced though, and I can spend quite a few weeks in a row binge watching dumb shows on Netflix and munching on potato chips.
I have a new puppy, a chocolate lab name Fudge. He is my excuse for not getting back in the pool. I would like to say it’s because he’s too much work. But really, it’s because I just love that comfortable escape place of sitting at home, in front of Netflix, with a bowl of potato chips and a warm puppy on my feet. My therapist calls this acting out. When I add the hard cider or wine, I agree with her!
I started this blog to keep my friends and family informed of my progress when I was first diagnosed in August of 2008. But I’ve discovered this stage IV hike has some really stunning landscapes if I choose to explore mindfully and carefully. So this blog has become the place where I work to find those paths to beauty. It’s my map of my own growth as I learn how to walk towards death.
I’m honored you’ve stopped by to read me and would welcome hearing from you –