Birthdays, Breast Cancer, & This Time of the Year

As October winds down, I am feeling relief. Relief that this month is done.

Every year since I had breast cancer (I was diagnosed February 2010), this month has been a bit hard for me. I don’t like pink, never have and never will. I feel kind support for those who walk for breast cancer, who shout about being a survivor, however I am not one of those people. I have found nothing to be grateful for, for having been through the experience of a breast cancer diagnosis. Mostly I find I have residual anger, residual PTSD, and residual everything surrounding this diagnosis. I am grateful to be alive and I would like to see this event take its place in the far reaches of my memory. As you might tell, I am still working on it.

Each year at this time I worry a little bit. Is my mammogram going to be normal? Will my surgeon and oncologist find anything? Is that weird pain in my hip cancer? Ay Yi Yi Yi.

Jim

Jim, my husband, died from cancer 6 years ago on October 17. Shall I mention that this is the day after my birthday? He went into the hospital the day before his 60th birthday (October 10) and died the day after mine. Well there is something to get through. I have not enjoyed celebrating my birthday in big bang up way. I like to be quiet now and contemplative.

I describe those three and half years between my diagnosis and his death, like a deck of cards. They were thrown up in the air the day of my diagnosis. Just as I was beginning to pick up the cards, boom, the next event happened and the cards flew into the air again. I have been slowly picking up the cards ever since. I still can’t find some of them, ergo, I remain living in my RV and drive to the next destination hoping to find another card. This has been an adventure, a painful process, a lonely one too, times of great fun and exploration and everything in between.

Here is what I am appreciative today.

  • My kind and wonderful friends from all over the world who call, email, text and contact me through social media. When I need someone to talk to, out of the blue one of these friends will call. They have saved my day, my life, my moment more often than I acknowledge.
  • I am financially comfortable. I could buy a cute and fancy RV and move in. I can afford the repairs (they don’t come often), the gas and everything that supports this nomadic lifestyle.
  • I am alive and able to go on grand adventures, both small and large.
  • Elsie the cat-what would I do without her? She is one of the most adaptable and loving companions I could have. We are into our fourth year of adventures together. She remains a delight.
  • I am glad to be able to see the sunrises and sunsets. Each day I wake, is another day to be grateful for everything.
  • The doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturist, massage therapist, myofascial release practitioner, and all those other health care workers on the broad holistic spectrum that keep me tuned up and moving.
  • My friends and acquaintances that offer me a bed in their home, whether it is a visit or house sitting. Sometimes I need a respite from my little living space.
  • I appreciate everyone waiting and giving me room to figure out what is next? No-one else is judging me. I need to stop judging and being hard on myself. You know that saying, “It is all about the journey, not the destination”-I still need to learn this.

    Jim & I flying to Baja for a week on a deserted beach.

There are three days left in this month. I don’t count them down anymore. I feel I have made progress in acknowledging this month and not feeling quite as sad or out of sorts. One of my friends asked me this month, how I felt about the “whole Jim thing”. Well there is a loaded question. Each moment of the day the answer could be different. I believe I have come to a softer acceptance of this month, of the events that transpired six years ago and I still miss by dearest and best friend. Jim saw things in me that no one else has ever seen and I will always miss this about his love for me and mine for him.

I bid farewell to October, thankfully doing a bit more than just getting through the month. I embrace and welcome November. I embrace and welcome each day I wake up in the morning and am able to figure out what small adventure I will take myself on that day.

Today I am grateful for all of my friends, acquaintances and all of the followers of my blog,  who send me messages of support and encouragement. Today I am grateful for people.

Change-Big Change is Coming

Search-Colorado-Springs-MLS-Homes-for-SaleThis past Monday, my realtor and I went “live”. My home is up for sale. I have been working on the house since February getting it ready for this moment. My broken ankle slowed the process down for a few months. Now that I am walking and doing better each day, it is time.

Today, Tuesday, two interested parties came to view the house. When I received the first call, I was nervous and excited and a bit anxious and scared all at the same time. There are so many mixed feelings with this move.

cardinstallation_02@2xEver since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I feel as if my life has been tossed up in the air, like a deck of cards. While I was picking up the cards from this incident, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Up went the cards again. Eight months later he was diagnosed with a metastasis from the original cancer, up the cards went once again. With his death all those cards have been taking their time coming down. I have been slowly picking them up, one at a time. Picking up each one has certainly been taking time. No set schedule here.

I thought I would sell our home  3 months after Jim died. I now understand that was way to soon. Grief needs time and I needed somewhere comfortable and secure and safe to manage the initial stages of grief and loss. There was nowhere better than the home where Jim’s and my relationship flourished.

Janet driving in the alley in Chicago(3)

Me & the Trek

I have been trying to figure out what is next in my life since Jim’s  death. I have been waiting for a grand moment of awareness. It has not arrived. I am going looking for it. Miss Elsie the Cat and I are going to make my sweet little Roadtrek into our home for the next year. It may be longer than a year or it may be shorter but I have decided to go traveling. I love to travel. I enjoy learning and meeting new people and exploring this grand country I live in. And to create some expansiveness, I am including Canada in my travels, as well.

Link to Listing

I don’t plan to set out until the house sells, unless it is on the market for a while. If that happens then I will be heading out before it sells. Maybe I will figure out where I want to live. If not it will be one grand adventure. I look forward to seeing friends, friends who I have known forever and newer ones as well.

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The nervousness and anxiety comes from the unknown. It is a little overwhelming to put my trust out there in the universe that all will be OK. I have moved several times in my adult life. Each time has been just a wee bit harder than the last one. I am not sure why that happens, but I do think it has to do with age. Maybe as I have gotten more mature I have found myself more settled with each move. I do have friends in so many places and I hope to meet up with as many as I can. It is time to catch up.

I am getting ready to roll. What should I take? What should I leave? Where am I going? Is this crazy?

Then there is the house. It takes a bit of effort to dismantle a house. I have been in the process of doing this for the past few weeks. I still have a ways to go, yet even this is manageable as long as I don’t get too stressed.

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Miss Elsie

And then there are the memories. Sigh. Even this is OK. It can even be therapeutic. And the bottom line here, is I need move ahead with my life. I want to create adventure and exciting, happy challenges. I am ready. Miss Elsie, well who knows but she is coming along for the ride.

Getting ready, change is in there air.