Making Peace With My New Normal


My heart is fluttering. My heart is aching.

I am sitting on the Amtrak train heading to NY… Heading towards my next surgery (hubby and I check in at 8:30am tomorrow morning)… And heading away from my family, friends, and my darling Miss M. Sigh… I miss her already.

Miss M and I had a fabulous weekend in Massachusetts. Spending time with those we love… Playdates, sleepovers, nature walks, chit chat, lots of hugs & laughter, and some much needed time by the ocean…

Yesterday, she and I spent 2 hours at the beach just playing, running around, collecting sea glass & shells, and meditating on the ocean waves. I shed a few tears thinking about my mom. Feeling her presence around me. And I also felt a profound intuitive knowing that everything was going to be ok. The surgery. The recovery. The aftermath. The years ahead. It was the same knowing I felt on the beaches of Long Island in the weeks after my initial diagnosis back in 2011. Feeling the Universe’s support. A profound sense of peace and reassurance. An understanding and acceptance of the fight ahead and the ongoing struggle… But at the same time, a level of trust that the path will bring more good than bad. More beauty than pain.

I am learning to live with this disease. Learning to accept my new normal. Getting better at navigating the ups & downs. Better at finding the balance between the two worlds I live in – The “normal” world & the metastatic cancer world.

When people ask if I plan on maintaining my new complicated way of living (the diet, exercise regime, supplements, alternative therapies) for the rest of my life, the answer is always YES. It is my new normal. My medicine. And I’d much rather live this new complicated life than be forever popping pills and IV’ing pharmaceuticals with nasty side effects.

And it’s usually only when I travel, that I realize how complicated or different my new normal is compared to how everyone else lives. Especially when it comes to my diet. As my cousin puts it, “Your bad days are my good days.” This coming after I lamented the bloat & sluggishness i felt from indulging in multigrain tortilla chips and a glass of red wine.

This is the balancing act I face for the rest of my life. One foot in the normal world and one foot out. Going through my days like anyone else, yet forever hearing the reminder, deep inside me that I have a terminal illness lurking, stalking, ready to pounce, ready to take over at a moment’s notice. Forever carrying containers of supplements everywhere I go. Forever struggling to find restaurants where I can eat. Forever wondering if each ache & pain is something more serious. Forever anticipating the results of scans and blood work. Forever knowing that I must remain vigilant in my fight.

Yet, all that being said, i truly feel that cancer has brought me to a better place. I like the new person I am becoming. I feel more at peace, more grateful, more in love with life than I have in a long time. While I still would never call cancer a gift, I can see the gifts that cancer has brought me.

And it’s funny how when you’re able to see the gifts and lessons contained in life’s toughest moments, the world suddenly expands and your place in it becomes rich with possibility.

So here’s to life’s possibilities, uncovering gifts, and finding balance in an uncertain world.

I’ll try to write again as soon as I can after the surgery to let ya’ll know how it went.

Cheers. -T