*Cheeks have a ruddy glow and I feel an all-powerful energy from steroids.
*No time wasted plucking extraneous hairs from inconvenient body locations.
*Offerings to me of poems, quotes, inspirational stories.
*Extra time in the middle of the night to get my correspondence in/return emails--insomnia.
*Real heart felt I love yous and eye contact--from family, friends, acquaintances, and historically stoic/standoffish men.
*No need to pay for regular hair coloring (but I'll miss my Sassy Lu Salon fix--for awhile....my only high maintenance vice in a natural world).
*Sense of smell and taste has returned. (I lost it almost 2 years ago after a lengthy sinus infection).
*Friends sharing memories, hopes and humor.
*Taking nothing for granted.
*Seeing beauty and blessings everywhere.
*Renewed sense of being alive and wanting to stay that way.
*Finding meaning in the most mundane household tasks/mothering duties.
*Friends making homemade gourmet organic meals for us.
*Friends stopping to help me clean--kitchen, bathrooms, closets, storage room. Serious work.
*Offers for massages and gift certificates.
*Reason to go to restorative/candlelight yoga.
*Russian style family walks after dinner.
*Family chore chart and mandatory help from kiddos.
*Experiencing, first hand, the gifts of and true meaning of living in community.
*Appreciating my co-workers/circle of HealthEast Midwives--so generous in support, picking up my shifts and donations of vacation hours so I won't loose my health care benefits.
*So many people sending prayers/positive thoughts/ lighting candles for me--feel so held, lifted.
*Renewed spiritually--tuned in, open, profoundness in giving and receiving.
*Being blown away and opened by seeing the power of prayer and mindfulness--absolute confidence that a loving God exists--Love and compassion to overcome pain and fear. Spiritual signs and answers come through self, others, dreams, etc. Gifts of blessing, beauty and synchronicity.
*Learning lessons in humbleness, vulnerability and flexibility.
*Learning to say yes to people offering me help and comfort--(trying to accept graciously).
*Kids getting offers for cool outings to keep them busy.
*Good date nights with my husband.
*Reasons to go through junk and purge unnecessary shit (not to be morbid, but I don't want anyone else to have to do this for me).
*Handyman Tim doing projects or organizing someone else to fix things around the house.
*Receiving surprise gifts and snail mail cards.
*Filling out an expanding repertoire of scarves and hats--learning how to tie/wear them, anticipating when the day arrives to cut off my braid and shave my head.
*No guilt about buying a decked out minivan for my family so I know we will have reliable transportation for a long time (that can fit all of us in at once, with room for friends).
*New found bravery--facing needle phobia, mortality, the unknown, letting go of control, surgery. Getting really good at envisioning and transporting myself to my "happy place"--sometimes Holmes beach or Kasperson beach in Florida, sometimes a Crane Island daisy field, sometimes Phalen Lake.
*Empathy and a heart for others who have gone through this or who will go through this in the future.
*Surprising uptick in libido and appreciation for breasts that I/we must enjoy now, while I still have them.
*Time for watching movies I've been meaning to catch up on--Room With a View, Silver Lining's Playbook, The King's Speech, Call the Midwife, My Neighbor Totoro, etc. (soliciting suggestions).
*Watching myself as an experiment in western/eastern medicine guinea pig. Trying all different modalities. Experiencing strange sensations and being curious--for example, when getting my Taxol (chemo) infusion, why do my thighs feel like they are being smeared with thin mint Girl Scout cookie paste?(very weird).
*Time to knit.
*Husband put the sheets in the wash--once.
*No night call for now. A little less work and a lot more family time.
*Good reason for "no guilt naps" in the middle of the day.
*Shedding a few extra unnecessary pounds of chub--feeling good in clothes that fit well, rather than cramming into jeans or popping buttons on blouses.
*Contemplating my first tattoo--nipple and areola reconstruction after mastectomy. I'm considering being a future client of Little Vinnie (the Michelangelo of nipple tattoos).
*Joining the club of those dealing with breast cancer now or survivors/thrivers--camaraderie and support.
*Conflicting advice--finding humor and gems in all of the advice given on diet and lifestyle--raw/vegan/ no protein/ high protein/ no carb/ gluten free/ no oxalate/rich antioxidant/no antioxidant/ mega vitamins/ no mega vitamins/ juicing/ no wheatgrass/ cooling hands and feet during treatments/ no cooling anything/ extreme heat therapy, etc. The only certain thing is that hydration with pure water is a good thing. I guess I'll stick with whole, real, balanced organic home cooked food.
*New reliance on self and intuition to make informed choices.
*Steep learning curve, crash course in cancer 101.
*Allowing self gifts and occasional comfort food.
*to be continued....