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. 

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