Thank you 10

Thanks to Laura, Lori, Judith, Judi, Esther, Aubyn, Julie, Blanca, Sally, Linda and their families for sending dinners home with Erin every few weekdays during radiation. By 5 p.m. these days, I’m so tired that the last thing on earth I want to do is prepare a meal. If I’ve forgotten anyone, a million apologies.

Thanks to Mikiko, who has ferried me to radiation several times. Each time, it’s a nice break, a chance to catch up over breakfast, and a day that I certainly won’t cause a bike accident!

Thanks, also, to the various law enforcement officers who did NOT give me a well-deserved ticket after the aforementioned bike accident.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Liz for being crazy enough to run the Bay to Breakers with me. Thanks, also, to childhood friend Cliff who also ran the Bay to Breakers but whom we never managed to find in the teeming, half-naked crowd.

Thanks to medical assistant Crystal in the infusion center for always greeting me with a smile, for never failing to remember my name, for always asking about my daughter, and for always saying something encouraging when I groan about getting on the scale.

Thanks to Dr. Shelley Hwang, who is leaving UCSF for Duke University. Dr. Hwang made the days just after diagnosis just a little less scary and she’s been a compassionate, wonderful surgeon. Her move is San Francisco’s loss and Durham, North Carolina’s gain.

Thanks to Carren at Grace Cathedral who made it that much easier for our family to attend this year’s Memorial Day Family Retreat at Bishop’s Ranch in Sonoma County. We all had a blast. Can it really have been possible to squeeze a campfire, swimming in the rain, a hike before church, a Sunday service largely pulled off by kids, field games, more swimming (in sun this time), a Western barbecue, variety show and family dance party into one weekend?

Tug of war anyone? Hopefully, next year I'll feel well enough to participate!

Thanks to plate tectonics for making Healdsburg such a beautiful spot.

Thanks to Liz, for a million things, but especially for being a doctor and for being in the next bedroom on Sunday night when Erin rolled out of the top bunk, fell four and a half feet, knocked herself unconscious and emptied her bladder on the cabin floor.

Thanks to everyone who was sleeping in the Bishop’s Ranch ranch house who were so kind when I raced up the lawn, shoeless and bra-less, calling for help in full freak-out mode.

It was dark then, and the lawn was wet with dew.

Thanks to Vittoria, who threw on a robe and shepherded me, weeping, back down the lawn to our cabin. We’ll have to meet again soon, when we’re not in various states of undress!

Thanks to Carren and to Sister Lynne who also came down to our cabin and helped us keep it together until the ambulance and the fire truck came.

Thanks to the EMT crew who let me ride in the back of the ambulance with Erin, which isn’t exactly following regulations.

Thanks to Pete, for always being calm in a crisis and for following the ambulance in our aged station wagon.

Thanks to the ER doc and the nurses at Healdsburg District Hospital, who were kind and efficient and had just cleared all the ER rooms when we arrived. Erin got a head CT scan and a shoulder x-ray in record time, especially considering how busy ERs usually get on holiday weekends.

Thanks, thanks, thanks to God: Erin only sustained a concussion and a separated shoulder. She now wears a glamorous sling and has a plausible excuse not to write, practice piano or do PE for a month.


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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