Wednesday, October 21, 2009

uncharted terrain

Settling into life after cancer, it is impossible not to think about cancer. A lot. At least that is the way it is for me these days. I have had a few episodes of feeling nauseous and just wrong in my abdominal area, and each one has prompted me to wonder if the cancer has returned. Only recently it dawned on me that these instances might be linked to the Tamoxifen. I had been informed of the most likely potential side effects. I looked up the full list recently, and was stunned by the length and breadth of it. This drug is messing with my hormones, and the results are predictably unpredictable. It's like throwing a tablespoon of oregano into your Szechuan-style stirfry; that relatively minor ingredient is going to make the whole thing different. Simply not quite right.

At least that's what I hope it is. I've been trying to make changes to head off any more cancer cells gone awry. The book I mentioned a while back, Anticancer, has been very important in the way I have come to view the disease and my response to it. Servan-Schreiber writes about making your body inhospitable to cancer cells in terms of caring for your "terrain," an image which jibes nicely with my visualization process, the one with the wooded hillside and bubbling brook. For Servan-Schreiber, maintaining a healthy terrain is achieved through a holistic approach, comprising diet, exercise, meditation and self-reflection, amongst other things. Some of the things he recommends I've been seeing for years. Eat less sugar, less refined flour, more vegetables. But I hadn't ever understood exactly why, and learning about how consuming sugar, refined flour, and grain-fed meat and dairy products makes cancer cells happy has made it much easier for me to avoid them. Not that doing so has been a piece of cake (quite the contrary), or that I've even been all that successful. But I like to believe I'm headed in the right direction.

Speaking of terrain, I spend a fair amount of time in some that is pretty mucky and wet. So here in the Material Girl section of my blog, I must tell you about my new wellies. I hesitated to spend the money on them, but I've had the same pair of wellies for 10 years or so now, and dread having to put them on, because they are so uncomfortable. I ordered these half thinking I'd be sending them right back, but they arrived and I was instantly taken. The purple is deep and subtle, the rubber is soft and squishy, and they are just so pretty. AND practical. What more could a girl ask for? I took them on a test run down to the creek in back of our house to look for cranberries. Here they are in action.

Also in the Material Girl section, here is a photo of a ring that I made for myself using 18 karat gold and a diamond that belonged to my friend Kristen.

It was a solo diamond earring from her jewelry box; in its new life it sits on my finger and reminds me of how much I loved her. And how much she loved me. That makes me happy, and that is one important way to take care of my terrain.