Monday, September 14, 2009

just keep swimming

I've been away from posting for too long, but it's because I've been busy not having cancer. The end of August brought the usual transitions: frantic summer crowds to the mellower fall folks, day camp to school. And for me this year it brought the end of the chemotherapy cycles and the biweekly reminder that all is not quite right in my world. It did also bring the beginning of hormone therapy, in the form of a pill that I will take daily for five years, but this is a much kinder, gentler treatment, and now it's just another pill I take with my daily vitamins and supplements. Of course I still have my bald head to remind me of what has transpired over the past few months, but for the most part I am moving forward. With some important changes in my life, but at the moment I'd like to write about something other than cancer. 

Lisa, my generous and talented boss, took the Lisa Hall Jewelry crew to XYZ Restaurant in Manset last Saturday. The food is rustic Mexican, the margaritas are tasty and the atmosphere is always lively and sparkly. 

We had such fun, as we always do together. I feel so lucky to be able to work with Lisa, Julie and Carrie. I love the work, and I love each of them.

I'm working on getting my jewelry into a shop or two before the holidays. I don't know exactly what I'm doing, but luckily I have a friend from high school who has very graciously agreed to take some of my pieces in her gorgeous shop, MiCA, in Cincinnati. Thanks, Carolyn. In order to introduce myself and my jewelry to retailers I don't know, I've been putting together some photos and information about my work. I'm told that I need a bio, too. You might find this hard to believe, knowing me as you do, but I find it somewhat difficult to write about myself. Oh, sure, I can tell you all about the minutiae of being treated for breast cancer, every gory detail, but this is very different. I don't know if it is the self-promotional aspect, or if it's just hard to know what to focus on and what to drop. For example, does it matter to my work as a metalsmith that I have had breast cancer? Should I mention my formal education, which has little to do with my work now? My kids? What stays and what goes in a brief description of my life? What would you include in your short bio?  

I'll let you know how that goes, and I do have more to say about life with(out) cancer. In the meantime, I've been inspired to go write a real letter.  

Saturday, September 5, 2009

sunny side of the street

It's been a good couple of weeks. That last post came on the heels of Hurricane Bill and the havoc it wreaked on our island. I can't blame my foul mood completely on the weather, but the pressure was palpable. Surely it didn't help.

Since then I had the last of my biweekly appointments in Boston, and made the last of the major treatment decisions. Doing so brought me a greater feeling of relief than I realized it would, and I feel like I am entering a new chapter. On the plane ride down to Boston, I started reading Anticancer, by David Servan-Schreiber and that, too, has helped me to feel optimistic and more in control than I have since I was diagnosed.

I've read quite a few books about cancer, and many of them have had helpful points. I've used all of them for one thing or another, from recommendations about treatment to ideas about relaxation techniques. But always there was something I didn't agree with or understand. This is the first book about cancer that has resonated with me completely. Or at least so far, 3/4 of the way through it. It has given me is a sense of my own involvement in the cancer and a belief that what I do can change the course of my recovery. So many of these books have insisted that I am not to blame, that it is not my fault that I got cancer. And I have been happy to hear it, and I certainly haven't thought of it as my fault, exactly. But denying that my choices or experiences had anything to do with it also left me feeling helpless. If nothing I had done or felt had caused the cancer, then what was there for me to do but follow the recommendations of the medical establishment and hope for the best? This was not very reassuring to me. Don't get me wrong. I am so very grateful for all of my excellent doctors, and I know that I have been in very good hands. But I wouldn't want all my eggs in that basket.

There is so much that I can write about the book and the changes I will make in my life because of it. Avoiding sugar and antiperspirant has been interesting (as well as stinky, figuratively and literally). But another reason that the past couple of weeks have been so pleasant is because I've had the chance to really enjoy the last of summer with my kids, and we're coming to a crescendo, with Jacob's 10th birthday on Labor Day. So I have cake to make, presents to wrap, and that letter to write.