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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Me, One Year Later

This coming Monday will mark one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The anniversary has been on my mind. I’ve been thinking about the ways breast cancer isn’t really part of my life anymore and about the ways that it still is.

I’m wondering if I should cut back on my drinking (Thank you TJN), not that I drink all that much, maybe 3-5 times a week. But this new study came out that even that low amount has been shown to correspond to an increase in breast cancer. So, this week, when I have wanted to reach for a beer at the end of a busy or stressful day, I have some decaf coffee instead. (At this point I am still allowed to drink coffee.)

Not that I am complaining! I recognize all the time that I am SO lucky.  I am here. I regularly tell myself of that when my thoughts are racing and I am feeling stressed or upset. “I am here.” I say, both reminding myself that whether life is good or bad, exciting or stressful, the most important thing is that I am still here to live it and also, in a more concrete way, it is a call to myself to get out of my head and be HERE. I feel my breathing, see the dust motes dancing in the sunlight, hear the hum of the radiator. I bring myself into the moment and savor that feeling for as long as I can. Though it never feels long enough.

I live daily with the idea that I might not make it through the next five years. It makes it easier to say “yes” to the things I want in my life and “no” to the things that don’t add to me. It makes me want to hold my daughter, forgive my husband for the small trespasses that sometimes cause strife between spouses (dirty socks on the floor again?), and write my novel, so that I have something important that I created, to leave behind.

Sometimes that idea makes me want to travel, far and wide, so I get a chance to see more of the world’s beauty and wonder. Other times I think there is nothing more beautiful and wonderful than staying at home with my family.

Sometimes it makes me cry, because I really don’t want my life to be so short.

Brian tells me that that feeling will fade over time. He says one day I will realize that I haven’t thought of cancer in weeks. But, right now, it has only been a year, and just six months since I finished chemo.

In some ways my life is been indelibly altered. I’ll always have these scars, on my chest and in my heart. But I don’t hate my scars. They are just part of me. My scars mean a lot of things to me. Sometimes they are symbols of my strength. Sometimes they are a reminder that life and good health is fragile, for us all. Sometimes they are just one more way that I am different from the average girl. Sometimes they make me want to try harder to be beautiful, to compensate for what I have lost. Sometimes they are good luck charms, these scars mean I am still alive. But mostly they are just there, something altered, part of the new me.

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Whew! Crazy busy!

Oh my gosh! It has been a week since I last posted. That’s not good!

Of course I have an excellent excuse. In the last week I have written about fifteen thousand words on my NaNo novel. I also walked for four hours, drove Zoe, and sometimes her friends, to her piano lesson, her chamber trio audition, writing class, Hebrew school, rocket science class, homeschool playground, and Sunday School. I taught, or “facilitated” math, science, history, and homework in French, linguistics, piano and literature. I finished listening to Frankenstein. I had a meeting with my health coach, an appointment with my oncologist, and my mindfulness class. We took the train to Temple University to see Cirque du Soliel. I had dinner with some friends. And I saw three open houses.

It has been all good though! I LOVED Cirque du Soliel, Quidam. It was SO magical. I was so inspired to follow my bliss (writing) and also to get into good enough shape that I can take circus arts class myself.

I am really enjoying Philadelphia in November. The last week could hardly be more beautiful. The trees are gorgeous reds, yellows, and oranges. The temperature is cool but not too cold. The seasons are changing. I love this time of transformation. There is just something in the air that speaks to me.

I went on two hikes in the woods this week. Here are some pictures from that, and other things that kept me busy:

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NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun, right? Right??

We are all in the throes of self-induced competition stress. I’m having trouble sleeping through the night because every time I even slightly wake up I start thinking about my book. Yesterday I was miserably tired, so I drank like 4 cups of coffee and then I was miserably wired. Brian and I tried to be responsible and get to sleep at a reasonable hour last night, and it was a good thing we did since Brian ended up getting out of bed at FOUR in the morning and going into his office to write down/record a hook for the song he is writing this week. O_o

Right, while Zoe and I are trying to write a novel in a month, Brian is trying to write 4 songs in 4 weeks. He is taking the challenge from Spin Tunes. This first week he is supposed to write a happy song about death. And I get that that is the kind of thing that I keep you up at night. And, I really can’t throw stones, not only because I would likely break some of MY things if I tried throwing them in the dark at 4 a.m.,  but because I’ve totally done the same thing when I have been too too obsessed with something I am writing in MY book.

Obsessed is the right word. Zoe and I are obsessed with word count, and protecting the hours it takes to reach our daily goals. I find myself very resentful of anything that takes me away from my computer during my “free time” that I am now devoting to writing. Things like showering, laundry, dishes, wet spots on the counter top, and sleep attract my ire and make me want to smash things. (How do you smash sleep?)

And wasting 2 hours in the afternoon going to get new tires on the car but not getting new tires on the car because we can’t find the tire lock key is so unfair that I can’t even get upset.

Despite all the stoopid things, like showering and Terra Nova, that are stealing away from my important writing time, I am keeping up with my daily word goals. (Zoe is blasting her word count goal out of the water.) And, with enough coffee, I think I am going to pull this off.

p.s. This is only day 4

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