“And may you roam where roads are free
And rest where nights are fair.
Then wait a little while for me
Till I shall join you there.” JCH
This has been one of the hardest blogs I’ve done. This blog has taken me longer than any before. This blog isn’t about travel or a beautiful trip I’ve just been on. It’s about a photo project I’ve been working on. It’s about miracles and heaven and breast cancer culture and history. It’s about Beauty and the Dark.
As I sit here typing I’m listening to the pandora classical station and one of my favorite pieces by Paul Carrell comes on. It’s called Life and Death. In 1973 when Paul was born he suffered from a congenital heart defect and was given only days to live as a baby. He lived. I believe some coincidences are more signs than anything else. To me, there are signs everywhere. I’m so thankful I can see them.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” KG
It’s fall here in New Hampshire and the cooler air has arrived. It’s late afternoon and the light against the pond has darkened already and the earlier warmth from the sun has disappeared. I look down at my hands as I write and I see the remnants of the Hawaiian sun still on my skin. How I wish it wouldn’t leave me. My heart squeezes up when I think of this special place.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” A.R.
I have no cancer anywhere in my body, except my brain! My bone scan, CT scans of my chest, abdomen and pelvis were clear. Let’s just start with that!
Before I get on with this entry though which is about the super fun topic of travel and not sometimes sad cancer, I’ll fill in the rest of the lame medical stuff. So no cancer anywhere else, yay! I have two liver tumors which we are monitoring already, a nodule in my lung which they’re not worried about and a fractured rib that I totally didn’t know about and that for some reason isn’t healing. I wonder if the radiation caused that? I feel like I should know if I have a fractured rib.
“In my everyday life, I am often consumed by my effort to stay alive.”
Today I’m sitting in my Grandmother’s cottage on the Ocean City, NJ beach. It is cloudy and there was rain last night. A perfect morning to wake up, write and have some coffee. This will be my last time here at my Grandmother’s house, a place that some people chuckle about when they hear ‘the jersey shore’. This is a entirely different area of Jersey than the infamous ‘Jersey Shore’. This place was an incredibly important piece of my youth, this house, this beach. I grew up on this beach, in these waves, on that boardwalk. I’m recovering from more brain radiation that I had earlier this week and I can’t think of a better place to try and bounce back.
“It’s no heavier than the weight you give to it…”
I’m behind with my writing. there are no rules that i follow for my posts in terms of timing but this one i wanted to get done awhile ago. it seems like everything takes me a bit longer than i expect it to these days. as i sit writing this i am in spain, on the beautiful mediterranean coast and i can hear the water and the boats below. it feels a bit strange to be writing about iceland when I’m in spain but there are no rules here.
Iceland. a land unlike any other i have ever seen. the landscape gives off a feeling of being on another planet. the country is covered in lava and moss and people refer to it as the lava desert. at the time of our week there it was still quite cold. my mom and i arrive and rent a car and drive up the west coast towards the home we will be renting for a week. it still surprises me that i had brain surgery and radiation just a matter of weeks ago. we had been planning this trip for some time and are incredibly relieved when i get the clearance to fly.
“Please believe that one single positive dream is more important than a thousand negative realities.”
My last blog was in November. So much has changed since then. I have barely written in several months. Ahh to be back in the sun of sweet New Mexico or on the endless roads of South Dakota. There is an incredible difference in the views that I have in my life currently versus then.
i started writing this blog a couple weeks ago sitting in a hotel room in boston, looking out over mass general hospital. I could see the room i stayed in less than two months ago, after having a double craniotomy to remove two brain tumors. This surgery happened less than 12 hours after I found out my breast cancer had most likely metastasized.
“imagine the deepest place where mystery and intricate gardens of life are always evolving. where love and passion are the strengths behind survival. imagine…the soul of a woman.”
9,000 miles, 56 days and 23 states. i am home. my cancercation is on pause for now. home is family, friends, favorite restaurants, familiarity. it is bitter sweet but more sweet right now. i look outside the window and it’s raining and i can see the grass and fallen autumn leaves. i see the birds in the bush, fluffing with dampness, the squirrels running around with their tasty treats. the smells of home are the same. there is comfort for me in all of this.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
i never met my great-grandfather, “Hep”. my Mom was pregnant when he passed. but i knew my great-grandmother until she was 96 or 97 years old. i smile when i think of her. She was such a hot ticket, so he had to have been. i know my mom adored him. turns out, his passions in life were a lot like my own. he was a writer, gardener, a lover of horses and the outdoors. he was a dentist. we differ there. i wish i could have known him but his writing makes me know him.
“the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
the last 7 days were full of nostalgia and rain, in Dolores, Colorado. Nostalgia is defined as a wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. What a wonderful thing…nostalgia.
“i am homesick for a place that I am not sure even exists. a place where my heart is full, my body loved, and my soul understood.”
it is breast cancer awareness month. you know what that means…this is gonna be a long one! breast cancer is why i am taking this trip. i must acknowledge that and talk about what having breast cancer means to me, hence the title of this blog entry…she flies by her own wings. i don’t want to talk about the culture, the cure, the pink, the blessings etc. i just want to write about what it means to me today, good and not so good.