Life of Joy

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Reflecting on the Past Year and Now

First off, as I re-read my second post on my blog about getting "the call" I realize how upset I sounded with the Dr.'s office who would not respond to my many phone calls as to what my first tests actually showed. When I finally had my appointment with Dr. Kahn on that following Tuesday, she shared with me that a mass had indeed been seen and it could be ovarian cancer. Given my age and being postmenopausal, it was planned that my ovaries would be removed regardless of the cancer staging so the next order of business was to find a Dr. get a surgery date. Dr. Kahn apologized for my unreturned phone calls and basically gave me some instructions for how to get through directly to her, especially as I go through these next few weeks. She also stated that she never gives this kind of news to her patients over the phone. As hard as it was for me to wait through the week end, I respect her policy and have laid to rest my upset feelings over trying to get someone to talk to me.

Secondly, I am now 1 year, 2 days past the anniversary of my operation which removed my ovaries, fallopian tubes, omemtum, lynphnodes, cervix, and maybe a few other things I don't remember (what else is there?). My cancer marker blood tests have stayed very low for about 9 months and 6 months since chemo ended. I thought I was so looking forward to putting this cancer chapter behind me and allowing my life to get back to normal. Although I very much enjoy any experience that feels "normal" to me, I am starting to come to terms with "normal" having a little different slant since my diagnosis last summer. I believe firmly that I need to embrace all the good days that I have, that I need to count my blessings, friends, family, ability to work and contribute to a better world. At the same time, to say that I do not worry about a recurrence ever, would not be honest. Thankfully, I did some reading in "Coping with Cancer" last evening and it really did help me be more honest about accepting my feelings and at times, my fears, while still trying to be focused in a positive way. I found a quote that I will use for my mantra "Optimism is a form of courage." I choose to be optimistic about my future, but I am not blind to the possibilities. When anxiety gets the better of me, I hope to use yoga and meditation to get myself more centered.

Well, I said that this blog was going to be about the small things in life that give me pleasure, and this entry does not sound like I am going in that direction. There were some thoughts that I felt needed articulating and now I have done that. Cancer does not define me, but living with its aftermath, is my life and there is no denying that. That said, Life is Good, and I look forward to many more years of adventures!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I had to take some pictures of some of the prettiest lilies I have ever grown. It probably does not sound very humble of me to say that I think they are extraordinary. Then again, I've had an extra ordinary year so maybe it really all fits. All I know is that the colors in my flowers seem brighter, I'm actually enjoying the dirge of watering for 45 minutes each day; I'm reminded that it is a tremendous blessing that I am healthy and able to do this. As I approach the one year anniversary of my operation, this becomes even more poignant to me. Can't you almost smell that lily "perfume"? Love that scent.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going Forward

Wow! What a year. Last year on July 9 I learned that I had a mass on my ovaries that could well be cancer. Shortly thereafter I had surgery and the diagnosis of OvCa was confirmed. My life became consumed with treating my cancer. Now, as I gain some distance on my last chemo, my life feels what I remember about my life before cancer. I do have to say, that there were quite a number of positives that I gained from my ordeal. I truly learned how blessed I am. I never would have imagined all the support, prayers, well wishes that would have been bestowed on my by many, many people in my world. I really did feel like I was wrapped in a cocoon of love and I will be forever grateful for every gift that came my way during this time. Going through chemo also made me really appreciate the good days, when everything was OK and the food tasted great. I will forever be grateful to all of the love and support that my friends, family, co-workers etc. gave me during this time.

From the start I decided that I was not going to waste any of the time when I'm feeling good by feeling bad about what might happen or being overcome with worry. Fortunately I have a very demanding job and there is little time to think of me while I'm working and I think that is a good thing and definitely helped me get through the chemo with very few days off.

I'm now returning to focus on the little things in my life that give me pleasure. As I type this I envision my beautiful, gorgeous lilies some of which have blooms 8 inches across. I'll be sharing these blooms with the world on my blog in the near future.

I leave for Montana this Saturday and won't be returning for a week. I'm combining some work with a visit with my sister. We are going to take a bike ride on the Hiawatha Trail. I am trying to document 58 things that I want to complete before my 58th birthday. This bike ride will have to be on the list. On a recent trip to my dear friend Jane's MN lake cabin, I tried tubing and jet skiing. I don't think I would be the poster child for NO FEAR but I did these things nevertheless.