What a year 2015 was for us! This turn of the calendar pages held great joy, travels and good health. The boys had a great year in school, success of the ball field and learned many new things as we watch them daily grow into wonderful boys. Jay’s job allowed him a more flexible schedule and we all loved having him around during the week. 2016 brings a new role for Jay at Marmon so we are all gearing up for the return of Daddy’s travel away from us during the week. But, we are proud of him to take on a new challenge! My on-going treatments allowed me to remain No Evidence of Disease (NED) through all of 2015. My treatments are non-toxic and although not without side effects – allow me to live my life to the fullest with minimal side effects. (wa-hoo!) We were lucky to travel around the world together – skiing in Big Sky with friends, Bahamas with family, a get away for Jay and I to Europe. Summer in Michigan, family trip to Alabama, girls weekend in Sedona to celebrate a 30+ year friendship, surprise birthday trip to New York City and many more… Each held spontaneous laughter, moments of carefree bliss and tears of joy. The little things in life and the opportunity to make memories together never lost on me!
As the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve. I hugged our children and nieces and nephew with bittersweet tears. I kissed my husband as we have for 18 years and wondered how long will this last? It was hard to let go of 2015. This year was great! The coming year is unknown… How long will we laugh and seek adventures before the claw of cancer takes hold and steals me from this happiness?
For me, this is the cruelest thing about Metastatic Breast Cancer. The absence of comfort that the disease is behind you. In so many other health challenges you face the illness or disease and you move toward wellness. But, here I sit, flourishing in wellness with the reality that this will shatter at some point. How deeply I crave safety. The feeling of being rescued from this sinking ship, knowing I am safe. Instead of riding the waves with a crack in the hull… The ride is fun right now, but you know the crack can break you at any time… A storm can blow in at any time… My monthly treatments and never ending doctor appointments a stark reminder of this.
One of the most significant things I have learned this past year is that my thoughts can make me sick. If I get lost in the perceived future the anxiety consumes me. When I get anxious I become weak. Worry can overtake me… I don’t want this happy, healthy time to be stolen from us. So, I work really hard at living in the moment and letting go of the fears of tomorrow. I try to be fully present in the moment before me. And we plan things to look forward to… travel, time with friends, new experiences for our family. I have spent many hours looking at the facebook pages of friends who have died of metastatic breast cancer. You can look through their pictures and see the trajectory – happiness, treatment, wellness, treatment, more treatment, more treatment. Smaller slivers of wellness… until the time comes to say good-bye. Mothers, sisters, daughters. Women who have so much to share with the world… gone before they can.
So, here I am. Here. Healthy! Nervous to let go of 2015, but tentatively ready to take on 2016. Excited to see Hope Scarves grow and share our mission with more people facing cancer. The potential for our little organization is huge. I turn 40 this year! Adventures in the works include a National Park RV trip, Belize with my parents and brother, horseback riding and yoga in Montana, a 40th trip with college buddies… I know my ship is charted for great adventures. I will do all I can to keep the hull strong – exercise, healthy eating, positive energy… but it is ultimately out of my control. I can’t be rescued so I will ride the waves, enjoy the view and soak up the beauty of this life, regardless.
Fair winds and following seas!