What is NOT Cancer 6

Driving across the country for the third time, but the first time from east to west, and being conscious enough to realize how beautiful the rolling hills and farms of western Pennsylvania are.

Doing all the most touristy things in Chicago: water taxi, Fanny Mae candy store, Navy Pier.

Reconnecting with a college friend who lets the kids have ice cream for breakfast. She is famous in our family lore forever.

Watching your kid and one of her best pals discover what a big wheel really is at the John Deere “Pavilion,” in Rock Island, Illinois.

Erin meets a big wheel at John Deere Pavilion

Realizing that you can look at corn for 900 miles.

Discovering that Lincoln, Nebraska has a really great Thai restaurant and being actually thrilled for a friend who’s starting as the dean of the J-school there. Go Cornhuskers!

Being late for a trail ride in Cheyenne, Wyoming (we got lost) and ending up spending 90 minutes just communing with the horses and enjoying the wild west scenery.

Erin hangs with the horses at Bit O Wyo Ranch

Actually finding a good audiobook about kids on the Oregon Trail, and arriving at Fort Bridger, WY not long after the kids in the book do. Actually walking on the Oregon Trail.

We walked on it!

Realizing that you can look at scrub desert for 900 miles.

Finding out in Park City, UT that ski areas can still be fun in the summer. Swearing an inappropriate amount on the luge coaster while hugging my daughter.

Mountain Coaster at Park City. You don't steer, but you control your speed, and it ROCKS.

Trying to explain gambling, pawn shops and prostitution in a way that’s both understandable and appropriate for a fourth and a fifth grader.

Driving up over the Mt. Rose pass into the Lake Tahoe basin, breathing in the pine scent and the dryness, hearing stellar jays chattering and feeling HOME.

Being reunited with our cat in Sacramento.

Arriving in San Francisco, unpacking, setting up a reasonably functional household, grocery shopping endlessly, seeing friends and family, getting kid ready to start in a new school, seeing more friends and family, walking the dog, doing laundry, wondering how three weeks can pass this way.

Being glad, glad to be home. I don’t even complain about the fog, yet.

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About leftbreast

I have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 47, and am now 49. I have finished "active treatment," two surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibodies. These days, I only take a drug to suppress my uptake of estrogen, since my tumor was highly reactive to that hormone. I have been married to my husband Pete for 21 years. I have a stepdaughter, Maureen, 30, and a daughter, Erin, 10. I've been a freelance magazine journalist for 20-plus years, covering everything from Chinese foreign policy to Catholic nuns to endangered species. I have had a great life. I have lived in Asia and all over the United States. I have spent nights with tree-sitters in Oregon and with astronomers at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. I've been to a cocktail party on the poopdeck of a British destroyer docked in Shanghai. I've taken the bus to Tibet, and tramped through the cloud forests of Panama with biologists. A magazine sent me on a raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon; another sent me to cooking school for a week. I have spent time with celebrities, presidents and heroin dealers. I love my work. I have a loving, supportive family and more friends than I probably deserve. I have had the space and time to camp, ski, cycle, garden, cook and spoil my pets (an Australian shepherd, a German shepherd and a tabby cat). If it all ended tomorrow, I would have to say that it has been a really, really good ride. When I was in thick of treatment, I was simply fighting for more time. Now, I'm trying to connect the experience of cancer with the rest of my life, with the time that's been won. I hope the cancer never comes back, but if it does, I'll be ready. That's what this blog is about.
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