Thank you 8

Thanks for birthday number 48. The proximity of 50 is a little scary, but not the scariest thing in the world, as I’ve learned in the last six months.

Thanks to Mikiko for coming along for infusion number 5.

Thanks to the manufacturers of anti-nausea drugs who make it possible for us to enjoy Vietnamese pho noodles from My Father’s Kitchen while they drip icky drugs into my veins.

Thanks to Liz, Fawn and Mikiko, who have brought by dinners in the last few weeks. The further along the chemo gets, the less I feel like cooking. You know it’s serious when I don’t want to cook!

Thanks to Letitia, my mother’s caregiver, who has been doing our dishes when I’m simply too tired. This is not her job; Mom is her job. “It’s just a little thing,” she always says with her Filipina lilt. It is not a little thing. Letitia, you rock.

Thanks to Pete and Erin who have been patient with my substandard execution of the usual family services like laundry, grocery shopping, extracurricular and playdate scheduling, cooking, and miscellaneous housework.

Thanks to my brother Hal, I guess, for mistakenly throwing out THREE-QUARTERS of my pots and gardening stuff. After my initial freak-out, I will admit that this allows me to have a more realistic gardening plan once chemo is over. Our Brooklyn garden was mostly containers. We’ve got dirt, or sand rather, here.

Thanks to the La Niña weather pattern, which is making this a sunny, pleasant January in California. Even when I feel, as my Dad used to say, lower than whale shit, the sun and mild temperatures make it easier to keep up the fight.

Thanks to my dog Kit for not whining too much on the days when we don’t do our hike because I don’t feel well. Thanks to Erin for making it a point to play more with Kit on those days.

Thanks to everyone who emails, calls, comments on Facebook, or on this blog. Isolation is the worst, and you help keep me connected.


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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3 Responses to Thank you 8

  1. Catherine says:

    Lol, love your dad’s saying! And what a blessing to be in warm, sunny weather. I hope you’re starting to feel a little better. I’m so sorry about your shoulder. Thoughts are with you. xo C

  2. Mark Fuerst says:

    Hey Heather – Glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor! Greetings from Brooklyn, which is still covered in snow. They finally picked up the garbage last night – bags were piled as high as the snow mounds. From someone who’s now more than 6 year’s past chemo, just keep on truckin’ one day at a time. There’s lots more stories waiting for you to write them! Regards, Mark

    • leftbreast says:

      Mark, Thanks. Last chemo is this Thursday. Honestly, I can’t wait. I just want to be DONE. Glad you’ve got garbage pickup again in NYC. Pete’s in Manhattan right now, for business, but managed to see a few Brooklyn pals this weekend. Hope all is well with you guys.

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