Still Active

I celebrated my 7th anniversary of my cancer surgery recently, and I’m humbled to say that I’m still healthy after all this time. Time: It’s such a gift.

I celebrated this year by buying a charm bracelet with a charm for each year that I have enjoyed since cancer surgery in 2007. Luckily, Danforth pewter is a Vermont business and I was able to make my bracelet at a Danforth store, choosing meaningful charms such as clover leaf, for the luck of the surgery going well, and a heart for the next year, where I married my boyfriend while still having hair-style challenges from the chemo. Other charms commemorated life events, and the joy that goes with being a long-term survivor.

Then, I celebrated the 4th anniversary of my book’s publication by meeting with two very special people at the Stowe Weekend of Hope. One is a local reader of my book, whom I’ve met and been in touch with. She’s an active cancer patient who humbles me with her compliments for the book and how it helps her now. And the other new friend is a personal trainer who is certified to work with cancer patients, and who is able to use the book’s approach with her clients. Doubly humbling. She’s including a copy of my book in the take-home package for a workshop on recovery.

We three wandered around the fields and trails in Stowe last Friday, and the weather was “interesting”. It drizzled, it poured, the sun shone, the wind picked up, and then it rained again: all this change in not a very large amount of time. Of course, that weather reminded me of life: as John Prine wrote in a song: “You’re up one day, the next you’re down; it’s a half an inch of water and you think you’re going to drown.”

John Prine is a cancer survivor, too. And so was the woman behind the counter at the Danforth jewelry shop who made my bracelet with me. Cancer survivors are not hard to find. They’re everywhere. We’re everywhere. We have been given the gift of more time.

We walk in the rain and smile. We have chemo and we go out to feed the horses even though we’re tired. We teach others how to exercise with meaning and joy. We show up at our doctors’ offices and wish for something to make all the little indignities or chronic pain go away. We wait for spring, we listen for birds, and we keep moving, still humble, still remembering the day we came to consciousness post-surgery and they said, “it was cancer”, and we replied, “what do I do next? how can I heal?”

Peace and strength to all,

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