What is NOT Cancer 19

Realizing that my daughter has been bitten by the horse bug. Wondering if we can afford to keep her in boots and riding tights and lessons.

Erin at the end of Miwok Stables horse camp. She has fallen hard for the ponies.

Driving 700 miles round-trip to deliver puppy to his birth home in the Trinity Alps. Four and a half months is too young to go to a kennel and he’s too much of a handful for my mother’s caregivers to handle while we’re away on a visit to New York.

Getting hooked on one of my daughter’s audiobooks during the long drive. The Hunger Games trilogy sucks you in, even if it’s dystopian and you’re not a “young adult” or even a “young-ish adult.”

Landing at JFK and deciding in a fit of frugality to take the A train into town.

Waiting for more than an hour for the A train to arrive, in 105 degree heat and humidity. Feeling sweat dripping down the backs of my knees. Remembering that this is one thing I don’t miss about New York City. Being thankful my husband does not chide me for said fit of frugality.

Erin and Margaret's tent is the "honor tent" for being cleaned up first. Do we know these kids?

Picking up daughter Erin and her best friend Margaret at sleep-away camp in Connecticut. Marveling that Erin has brushed her hair during the preceding two weeks. (She didn’t last year.) Alas, she claims that this year she did not brush her teeth for two weeks. Hoping that this is just bravado.

Going to our old church, Grace Church Brooklyn Heights, and seeing folks who are willing to brave the heat. Feeling for the clergy. A heat wave is no time to be wearing vestments.

Seeing as many New York friends as we can. Reveling in the ferment and energy of the people who live in this city. Remember that it’s the people in New York that we miss the most.

Fighting our way through traffic on the FDR. Would it kill these drivers to let us merge? Remembering that we don’t miss ALL the people who live in this city.

Oogling the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.

I think this picture of a dress made of razor clams was illegal. I snapped it before I realized that. Exhibit was awesome. If you are in NYC, go see the Alexander McQueen show at the Met!

Dragging the kids to the Cloisters. Actually getting them interested in medieval mille fleur tapestries and creepy reliquaries. (They are especially grossed out/fascinated by a reliquary in the shape of a saint’s foot.)

Half an hour messing about with boats makes one forget the heat.

Watching daughter navigate the boat pond in Central Park.

Times Square on the run, Margaret, Erin and Pete. Hopefully we were not too annoying to the locals.

Walking through Times Square like a tourist. Aack. We have become the people who used to annoy us when we lived here.

Being thankful that we’ve seen most all of the city’s major attractions, so we don’t have to race about NYC like maniacs trying to see everything. Daughter Erin says she doesn’t remember going on the Ferris wheel at Toys R US Times Square. But she has. Twice.

Being sad to say goodbye to East Coast friends, but happy to feel the cool air when we step out of the buildings at SFO.

Jake is not even 5 months old. What's to become of us?!

Driving another 700 miles to retrieve the puppy from my Aunt Nancy’s in the Trinity Alps.
Watching said puppy and his four remaining sibs make quick work of a ground squirrel Aunt Nancy has just shot with a rifle. (Ground squirrels make holes that break the legs of cattle and are the bane of ranchers everywhere.) Boy, the West sure is different from the East!

More messing about with boats, real this time, at the reservoir. This is after the kids lost the towel

Swimming at Aunt Nancy’s reservoir. Diving off pier in shorts and t-shirt to look for towel that kids lost over edge of pier and are too chicken to retrieve. Failing to find towel. Hoping towel won’t be sucked into reservoir intake pipe that feeds the hay fields. The West is indeed different from the East.

Taking kids — Erin’s best friend Margaret is with us for most of August — boogie boarding at Stinson Beach.

Pondering how to get dog and cat hair off of the kids’ wetsuits.

Realizing that the New York vacation has re-booted my brain and my psyche. I feel ready to face work and career again after a year of being sick. Watch out world, here I come!


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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