Enjoy It The Best You Can

Living with metastatic breast cancer is such an odd reality…  (As I imagine living with any chronic or life threatening disease is)…  You’re caught in a place between life and death.  Aware the days may be numbered.

Facing your own mortality changes you.

I am now supremely aware of the passing of time.  I don’t want to waste precious moments in the day.  If I didn’t have to sleep, I wouldn’t.  I just want to make the best use of each moment…  Sometimes that means sitting back and relaxing or being indulgent…  Other times it means I am productive & getting stuff done…  Often, it involves staring with wonder and pure love at my darling Miss M in all her soon-to-be 4 splendor…

I see the gift of life and I plan to enjoy it as best as I can.

Right now, 6 weeks post surgery, I am marveling at the fantastic job my surgeons did.  I always assumed at the end of all this I wouldn’t like my breasts.  I wasn’t expecting much.  I just wanted my body to look in proportion   For people not to stare.

But in the end, I am startled to discover that I actually like my new breasts.  They look pretty damn fantastic.  (I promise to take a picture soon & post it so everyone can see :-)).  And I am so grateful to my amazing surgeons.  From the beginning I could feel how important it was to them that my breasts look as natural as possible.  They see their work, crafting beautiful shapes, as art.  They take great pride in what they do.  And I am eternally grateful to my good friend SW (a fellow breast cancer warrior) in NY who recommended her team.  Thanks girl!

I’m headed back in NY in 2 weeks for my final follow up appointment.  What a trip just writing that.  After 10 months of biweekly visits back & forth to NY my surgery appointments will finally be done…  Plus, my oncologist Dr. K says he doesn’t need to see me until sometime this summer, after my next set of scans.  My blood no longer needs to be checked on the regular.  I am a free woman!!!

Mind you, I am a free woman who is also fully aware that this freedom may not last forever.  So again, I plan to enjoy it the best I can.  Make my memories now.

I see a summer full of travel and visits to be with all my favorite people…  Hubby & I just decided to take another family vacation – this time to Florida…  We have a wedding on Cape Cod in June…  Plans to go camping with our neighbours…  Another wedding in NY in July…  Trips to Toronto, Vancouver, and Nashville in the works…   And it all starts a week from today when we head back to Massachusetts & NYC to visit the family.  I guess this is one of the ways I’ve survived living in Ohio for 2 years – I get out of town a lot ;-).

How blessed am I to have so many amazing people to visit??  To have the support and love that I do?  To have the privilege of spending time and creating memories with such a great group of fabulous friends and family?

The night before Mother’s Day I had a dream where my mom came to me.  It was my mom during one of the happiest periods of her life…  Young, healthy, at the height of her dance career…  She opened her arms wide and I just went in and hugged her and hugged her.  It was so comforting & beautiful & full of pure love.  It was the best Mother’s Day present ever.

Days later, my therapist and I were discussing the dream and she asked me to retell it, but this time as my mother.  Almost instantly, I am in tears.  As my mom, I tell myself that i am surrounded by love.  Not just from her but from so many others – all my family and friends that have passed on and all those that are still here.  And I feel it.  I feel the love.  And it is beautiful.  And I know it well help carry me through.  I know it is the love and blessings that have helped to get me here, to this point.  Helped me heal.  Helped me cope.  Helped me reclaim my life.  And reclaim myself.

Thank you everyone!

I am in the midst of reading Lissa Rankin’s new book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  For the last few months her name continued to pop up in front of me so I ordered her book and I’m loving it.  Her message of addressing physical illness through a holistic, multifaceted lens that considers mind, body, soul, and environment is exactly how I’ve been tackling my cancer diagnosis.  It’s not only about eating the right foods, or getting enough exercise or sleep.  You cannot discount the importance of mental wellness, faith, support, and love in the healing journey.

My first appointment last night with my new functional nutritionist team was also amazing…  A 45 minute intake session that explored everything from my mom’s pregnancy and the circumstances surrounding my inception, to how I handle stress, and of course my medical history.  They’re also gonna review my blood work, supplements, and current eating habits to create a customized food plan that will optimize my health, boost my immune system, balance my hormones, detox my body, and keep the cancer at bay.  How fabulous!

I know living this way isn’t for everyone.  It takes a lot of time and energy.  A lot of diligence.  A big commitment.  But I have to say it’s worth it.  I’ve never felt better.

I am committed to living my best life possible and enjoying it the best I can!

Peace.  – T

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12 Responses

  1. I adore the fact that you combine western medicine with alternative medicine.Far too many people-most of them perfectly healthy-espouse an either/or approach,and often insist that everyone else do as they do.And yes…it CAN take a lot of time and energy,but dammit,it’s important!The arthritis that I have could easily shorten my life if I let it get out of hand,so nutrition is important to me as well…as is time itself.I suppose we both ask ourselves if we will have the time to do what we want with our lives.If there is a gift in any of this(for myself,anyways)it is that I have given up on waiting for the perfect moment to come my way,and learned to grab what’s left with both hands.There is such richness there…:)

    • I adore that last sentiment… Don’t wait for the perfect moment to come – just grab what you can & live it fully! And you’re right, our health is important! And that’s why we must do everything possible to hold onto our health, so we can keep enjoying life’s precious moments! Wishing you much luck and strength in your own journey. Hugs, – T

  2. Deepest love and gratitude- for your happiness, joy d’vivre, and for your presence in my life…
    My heart and soul are so filled with love <3
    See you soon!!!
    Love, Auntie L

    • Love the link. Thanks! I subscribe to their newsletters and always learn great info. Of course I love the idea that I can drink red wine (my drink of choice) because the health benefits of the red grapes neutralize the negative effects of the alcohol. Sounds good to me!

  3. I am so thrilled you are now in your happy, satisfied, peaceful place. Always look forward, for this “cancer” is now your past! Everything you are doing is for the beautiful future you will have to watch Ms M dance, graduate, get married and so on…always wishing you the best! Love Cindy

  4. SO happy to see you being happy and in a good place!

    Boobs looking good in pic w/ hubby — glad you like ’em! Hairs are looking good too — was actually the first thing I thought, was “hey, she has hair, far out!”

    Living whatever way doesn’t have to be for everyone. It has to be what’s right for you. And given how good it’s looking on you, I take it you’re on the right path for you!! Keep on keeping on … you’re doing great.

  5. Hey Lovely Lady,  I loved your post today, and the picture of you and Heron is so beautiful. I’m so excited for you and all the travels.  Just sitting here at Artisan after a weekend of pure reckless happiness.  Can’t wait to see you here,  Vic

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  6. We’ve had some very bad news. My 40- year-old SIL’s lymphoma has returned and it’s very aggressive. It’s in all her lymph nodes, stomach and spine. She’s in pain, has lost 20 pounds in the last month and has no appetite. We don’t know if it’s going to be treatable as she has been through many treatments already in the last seven years and this is the first time it’s been this aggressive. Four months ago there was no cancer. My niece and nephew are 13 and 14 years old. My brother is beside himself.

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