What is NOT Cancer 16

Starting to feel like myself again after nearly 9 months of medical drama. It’s not over yet, but it’s definitely, infinitely better.

Ignoring this blog for the better part of two weeks.

Reconnecting with a long-lost, and much beloved, aunt and cousin after decades of being out of touch.

Eating homemade jam and salsa and spaghetti sauce just retrieved from my aunt’s root cellar. Nice to know that somebody still does these things. Homemade, and home-canned food is awesome.

Realizing that that there’s a reason they call this part of California the “Trinity Alps”

The valley floor is flat enough for pasture and orchards, then rises precipitously to snowcapped peaks.

Marveling that for three days, my child can be amused doing nothing but feeding the chickens, making trips to the root cellar and playing with a litter of seven, 6-week-old German Shepherd puppies.

Throwing caution to the wind once we realize she’s completely fallen in love with the runt of this puppy litter.

Making arrangements to come pick him up in June, when my radiation is over and he’s a bit older. Even our 12-year-old Australian shepherd seems to get along with the puppy.

Meet the newest member of the family, to be picked up in June. Erin has decided to name him Jake, after a character in the Star Trek show, Deep Space Nine.

Being unashamed to admit to the world that our family are hopeless Star Trek junkies.

Spending the rest of husband Pete’s vacation time puttering around the house, doing some things that have needed to be done ever since we moved in five months ago.

Hiding eggs for the hunt after the Grace Cathedral Family Vigil, which mercifully, takes place Saturday evening. When a kid has just had chocolate eggs and jelly beans for breakfast, it’s murder to keep said kid from bouncing out of the pew on Easter Sunday.

Driving to Easter lunch at yet another aunt’s house, and enjoying an egg hunt, ham buffet and homemade ice cream Easter eggs. Dogs almost outnumber people at this gathering. We are an animal-besotted lot, I’m afraid.

Returning home Easter evening to realize that the cat has been sprayed in the face by a skunk.

Watermelon, one of life's great, and guilt-free, pleasures

Realizing that tomato juice does not remove skunk scent, but a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and soap does.

Bathing cat TWICE. Comforting cat as he gets over this undignified experience.

Enjoying watermelon at a school picnic.

Getting up at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning to get daughter Erin to the airport. She and her class are in Colorado now, studying Pueblo, Navajo and Anasazi culture and archaeology.

All packed and ready to go at o'dark-thirty. 35 or so students, parents and teachers about to leave for Crow Canyon, CO.

Wishing I could go to school again. Not really, but kind of. If it was Erin’s school, I might be tempted to time travel and endure adolescence again…

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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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