My birthday was bittersweet.

It was my first (and hopefully only) birthday as a cancer patient.  I was looking forward to forty.  I viewed it as a chance to kick off another phase of my life.  After all, I was healthier than I’d ever been.  I was ready to train for a marathon or take up kickboxing.  I was scared of turning forty last year, but as the new year approached, I started to embrace it.  I’d become philosophical.

The day before my birthday, I read a statistic.  A third of us who are diagnosed with breast cancer will die from it.  That made me sad.  And scared.  Days later, that thought wakes me up at night.  I spent so much time in July, going insane, obsessing about everything but me, that I sort of forgot how uncertain the future is.  Cancer doesn’t spare moms; it doesn’t spare the young.

Things are getting better, though.  I have much more energy than I did a month ago.  I think I’m almost ready to tackle my old walking route.  Even better, I’m reading again.  I read a whole book in four days and I finished another book that had fallen by the wayside.  I was so convinced that I was suffering from chemo-induced mental fogginess, but now I’m not sure.  Maybe I got off easy.  I still search for words now and then, more often than I’d like, for sure.  I feel sharp again.  I’m almost ready for a sudoku book.

I’d like to think the big island trip helped me.  Ryan and I met there, so it’s special to our family, but I always believed the island was full of ancient healing power.  I got on the plane right after chemo and didn’t anticipate that we’d do much on Friday, but we drove across the island and made quite a few stops and walked quite a bit.  We visited the city of refuge, which I hadn’t seen for almost twenty years, and the painted church, which I had never visited.  The energy on the big island has always been energizing for me.  I dream of the day we can live there.


I have chemo down to a science.  There are only four treatments left, but just in time, I’ve made a playlist for maximum relaxation and I listen to it as I succumb to the haze from the benadryl I get to ward off any allergic reactions to the Taxol.  I manage to sleep through almost the whole thing.

The staff at Kaiser has been so wonderful.  I’ve made some friends.  I’m going to miss them.


3 thoughts on “August

  1. It’s really good to see you writing again. I don’t comment really, but I always enjoy reading.

    Just thoughts on what you wrote. I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder around sixteen and it’s been a life struggle for me, because that’s what it is — it’s for life. And sometimes are better than other but even when it’s been managed for a long time it always sort of hangs over me, the threat of a relapse, for lack of a better word. It’s the sort of thing that makes you not want to make big decisions, because you don’t know how your mental state is going to be at that time. At least for me. But the thing is, the sometimes difficult thing, is that you can’t live waiting for the bad thing to happen. Even knowing it could come back, that statistic, you can’t just sit waiting. I don’t know, I think this was supposed to be a pep talk or something. It can be so hard to live knowing the bad things are right there, hovering over you. But you have to live. You have to do your best. I guess. I’m lacking eloquence at 3am.

    Much love. I hope 40 is a good year.

  2. Yay! You’re in the home stretch. So happy for you. Stay focused on what one of your friends wrote in an early comment about your type of cancer being one of the easier ones to treat. Continued hugs and prayers for you, Jen.

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