What is NOT cancer 8

Realizing that the incision in your underarm has healed enough that you can play piano without wincing.

Beginning to plan your daughter’s Cleopatra Halloween costume.

Going to a lovely reception for the parents of your daughter’s upper elementary class, and being psyched to find a Dad who’s organizing a weekly boogie-boarding group out at Stinson Beach. Finding out about a surf store that sells cheap wetsuits for kids. Being grateful that there is an upside to not having had the time to get your daughter’s extra-curriculars organized.

Going to a presentation by a college friend of a college friend who’s building schools for girls in Afghanistan. Realizing that my little breast cancer problems are not the worst problems in the world. Imagine a 9-year-old girl who has to risk her life to learn to read. What do women in Afghanistan do when they get breast cancer? I would guess that they die.

Descending into a vortex of decision making and Home Depot/Internet/Pottery Barn browsing as work on our minor renovations begins for real.

Going to the “Summer Party” organized every year by my husband’s company and actually talking to his colleagues. The version in New York (we double-dipped this year) is so large (5,000 guests, about 2,500 staff) that it’s difficult to find people you know. The San Francisco office is smaller, actual community building is a little more possible.

Taking the animals to the annual “St. Francis Blessing of the Animals” at Grace Cathedral. They were actually well-behaved. Will miracles never cease.


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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1 Response to What is NOT cancer 8

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