Thank you 2

The list of folks I need to thank, and thank again, continues to grow:

Thanks to Clair who spent half a day helping us to muck out the lower floor of my childhood home so that we can transform it into the livable space it once was. Thanks again to Clair for dragging me to Home Depot to face all the endless choices that are part of any home improvement.

Thanks to my brother Hal for rounding up members of his contracting crew to haul all the mucked out stuff to the dump.

Thanks to two couples, friends from college, who move their dinner invitation from their place in Palo Alto to our place in San Francisco when I tell them I’m too sore to schlep around the Bay Area. Thanks also for bringing two batches of frozen chili, in addition to the amazing Ethiopian take out. You guys get us through half a dozen meals last week.

Thanks to the women of Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS), a social/support/information group for pre-menopausal women who have breast cancer. I can’t make their monthly support meeting next weekend because of a wedding. They’re organizing a small “get to know you” lunch for me tomorrow. I can’t tell you how much this touches me. It almost makes me cry when I realize they are doing it.

Thanks to the other, newish BAYS member who reaches out to me and who tells me she likes the idea of my applying henna designs to my scalp if I have to have chemo. During her first week of chemo, she is brave enough to send me pictures of herself with hair, newly shaved, and with a wig. She makes the prospect of losing my hair oddly less horrifying, and she understands that I want to get a haircut before next weekend’s wedding. She’s generous enough to refer me to her hairdresser.

Thanks to the rector from our old parish in Brooklyn, who emails to check in on me last week. This is a priest who already has to deal with the life crises of more than 400 parishioners in Brooklyn. He is kind enough to keep me part of his portfolio. Thanks Steve.

Thanks to Paula, a friend from LA and a breast cancer survivor. Even though she’s in town for a law school reunion, she takes me to brunch over the weekend to talk about breast cancer, and also to NOT talk about breast cancer. Survivors are so generous.

Thanks to my husband Pete who is brave enough to admit that he might benefit from a husband/significant other support group. Normally a why-ask-for-directions, what-do-you-mean-I’m-upset kind of male, he makes the call. He’s going next week.

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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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