Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anniversary Party and Humility

Last night Wink hosted a dinner party celebrating my getting through a year of breast cancer drama. It was really nice.
Bobby and Avery. Michelle, Taylor, Madison and Jenna. Jim and Carol. Mike and Elsa. Jay, Shelly and Anna. Leslie, Eli and Paul. And me!

Bobby made cupcakes - enough pink ones to form a pink ribbon icon and a bunch that looked like boobies! Very entertaining. You can imagine the jokes that were going around as the last titty-cake was fought over.
I love the trophy Wink presented me! It's hysterical! A female body builder flexing her "guns".

Then Wink said, "Speech! Speech!" - Arg... I choked.

How do you make a speech for an occasion like that? What I really wanted to say was: "That it really was nothing. Anyone could have done it. It's not like I've done something great. And now it's time to get on with the rest of my life."

But I didn't. I gave that speech once before... At my high school graduation dinner:

"It really was nothing. Anyone could have done it. It's not like I've done something great. And now it's time to get on with the rest of my life." I was completely mortified by my own words when I looked around the table and realized that out of all the friends and family that had gathered to celebrate my achievement, no one else had graduated from high school. It hadn't occurred to me that not finishing school was an option or possibility. It hadn't occurred to me that it was a privilege or grand achievement.

I kind of feel the same way about this cancer thing. It was no big deal. I'm probably in denial about how serious the situation was, but in my mind the cancer that was in me was no more a threat than if the cancer had been outside of me. Like a mole gone arye, the doctors cut it out. Then I spent a few months under going treatments to prevent a recurrence.

Not doing the treatment was not an option. Surviving the treatment, though tough, was inevitable. Getting the treatment was a privilege but it doesn't feel like a grand achievement. It's hard to balance such a cavalier attitude with humility.

Wink has repeatedly told me that she's seen many cancer patients, but has never seen one go through what I did with such grace and positive attitude. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I never felt like a cancer patient. Someone who had a cancer, yes, but that was dealt with - problem solved.

What I do want to express is gratitude. Thank you everyone for all the words of support and loving thoughts.
This experience has really made it apparent to me how many lives I've touched. It makes me want to be a better person.

When I Was Ill

When I was ill I spent a lot of time laying on this couch staring at the walls and thinking, "If only I had the strength. Beige! I want my walls to be beige!" When your world gets turned upside down and there's not much you can do about it, you look or things you can control. One of those things that can be controlled is decor.

My main level was a mish-mash of colour. It had no cohesion. It felt as fractured as I did. The kitchen was dark hunter green, the living room was half asphalt gray behind the entertainment system and half canary yellow. The bathroom was blue, the entrance was pale peach and the office ivory.

I'm between jobs and finally have a block of free time where I feel great. I've been painting this week. After my last mural job I mixed together many many many miscellaneous cans of pinks, greens, yellows, blues, grays.... plus 1/2 a gallon of ocher and wound up with 2 1/2 gallons of milk chocolate. This I used to paint the front entrance, the wall behind the entertainment system and the back wall around the window. I added a couple quarts of very pale miss-tint to the mix to lighten up the brown for the rest of the living room.

Today I'm going to paint the kitchen. The back wall around the patio doors will be the original milk chocolate (yep, still have a 1/2 gallon or so reserved) and the rest will be a much lighter tan... at least 1/2 as much lighter as the lighter colour in the living room.

My living space is slowly becoming more cohesive. It makes me feel better. Happiness is a fresh gallon of paint!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Feeling Stuck

Ever feel paralyzed by all the stuff that comes your way? Too many projects, too many burdens, too little time... And I I can do is make a list and start checking things off. Well, at least that's one thing less to worry about.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walking of the Sofa Pounds

Time to quit saying and start doing. I ache a lot and it has nothing to do with the treatments I've endured over the past Spring / Summer. In fact I'm back to 100%. That's 100% if prior to chemo I was a couch potato with zero muscle mass and rusted joints.

I started walking again on Tuesday. No point in easing into it. 2.73 mile = 4.39 km (I google mapped it - is it just me, or is this tool rather annoying?) I knew that if I immediately sat down and started to work on the computer that it would be the end of me. Everything would just get locked into place. Much stretching was in order.

I was pretty stiff yesterday too.

This morning I woke, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, at 7:00 so I thought I'd tackle that walk again. Not as difficult. I don't think I stretched enough so tomorrow might be another stiff day. But I did come back with enough energy to make a quick trip to a new animal hospital that is under construction next door and drop off a mural brochure. Then I walked to the mail box and back. Then I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. Then I watered my plants outside... don't know why I've been bothering with container plants for the past couple years. I'm not around enough to properly care for or enjoy them.

Pretty good start to a day.