Happiness Is…

Taking Bold Steps.

More than once, I walked home crying.
But I made it through my first ever dance class.

And I’m absolutely thrilled that I did.

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Baby Steps

Yesterday was the end of term dance recital at our local community centre. What a fabulous show.

Hundreds of talented young people filled with energy, confidence, excitement and joy.

Even my belly dancing class troupe performed.
Did I join them? No.
Did I drop out of the class? Yes.

And yet watching that 90 minutes of dance just thrilled me.
My timid tip-toeing into dance has opened life up.

My burlesque is bashful. My belly dancing, a flop.
But I’m trying. And, although what I hoped would be an introductory class turned out to be a seasoned troupe, I’m undeterred.

I’ve signed up for five new dance classes.

I may never make it into a recital. But, you know, I’m really hoping I do.
And that’s definitely a whole new me.

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Talk for Walking

I’m always pleased to hear that my blog has reached people. Especially those on their own versions of this journey.

Today, I heard from Alex in London, England. She asked if I had any advice for post-treatment life. I thought I’d share my response here…

Hi Alex,

Congratulations on completion of your treatment and thanks for your very kind message.

Hmmm. Advice for life after treatment? I guess my advice would be: lower your standards, enjoy each day, face your fears, exude gratitude and try not to stress about prevention.

It seems easy to find tonnes of advice on how to try to prevent recurrence and I made a tonne of lifestyle, food, habit changes during my treatment. But the best advice I have for myself (or you) is probably to be good to myself: and that can mean to remember to be moderate about the anti-cancer stuff. Not to beat myself up because I go weeks or months without eating brazil nuts or almonds or ginger or green tea or flax meal. To accept that I drink coffee and red wine etc. That I have the occasional run of late nights.

Oh, and unsubscribe from all cancer blogs! (I do check in on my cancer-friends from time to time, and catch up on their stories, but getting a steady stream of daily cancer-news was not having healthy results for the post-treatment me)

And here‘s a great bunch of advice.

Wishing you many years of great health and happiness.
Andrea

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Ease

I don’t dream of flying, fulfillment or fame.

Even my life-long boat, plane and elevator disaster dreams are almost always preempted, these last few years, by the horrid-family-problem theme.

But last night I had an absolutely, extremely, wonderfully atypical dream.

I dreamed the path I was walking was littered with bills. So many bills, here and there, that I began to leave most of them, stooping only to snag the curled and crumpled red fifties.

I didn’t feel greedy. Or guilty. Or even thrilled.

I felt lucky.
Tickled.

And I awoke feeling good.

It was so out of character, I just had to ask google:

A dream of finding money suggests that the dreamer is becoming aware of their intrinsic value to themselves and others, from a spiritual, rather than a material perspective. It can also indicate a recent success or imminent achievement in their waking life in which their self worth is visibly manifested. Often this dream indicates that the dreamer possesses special artistic or creative abilities that they are in the process of becoming aware of…

Dream Message
You are worth more than you think you are, and should not feel reticent about taking the chance to prove your value to yourself and others. As you become more aware of your own self worth, you will become more confident at exploring opportunities in your waking life that are to your advantage.

(Ian Wallace, Finding Money)

I’m glad I checked.

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Ooooh! Look at all these Parts!

When Mark lost his job last month, a friend grinned,
“When one door closes, another opens…
Sometimes, 17 others open.”

And it’s been true.
Possibilities have been popping up ever since.

Possible new paths for Mark.
And, surprisingly, hints of possible new paths for me.

Just hints, at this point. Vague invitations that may mean crossroads ahead.

But, several of them.

Open doors (even hints of open doors) are deliciously scary.

Up From The Ashes

On Christmas evening, 2009, as I lay recovering from my first round of chemo, our vacationing neighbours lost their home to fire.

In the fourteen months since then, we’ve watched…

As their cute little house stood vacant and charred.
Then was swapped for a gaping hole.

As a new foundation was poured. New walls were framed. Drywall and gorgeous new windows were installed.

And, this week, as cozy nighttime lighting announced that their new house is becoming a home.

All the while, the young fivesome trudged contentedly through typical family routines.

Never guessing how their resilience was rippling.
Or how an unknown neighbour was rebuilding right along.

March Forth

I’ve been in a weird place, lately.

Somewhere where I don’t know where I am.

I’ve fallen off my anti-cancer wagons. And then beaten myself up, accordingly.

I’ve slipped into my pre-c self-loathing. And then beaten myself up, accordingly.

I’ve tried and succeeded. I’ve tried and failed.
I’ve floundered.

But we’re alive, healthy and happy. March break is just around the corner. Mark’s employment story looks bright.

And the canal is still open — and perfect. March fourth.

March forth.

It never hurts to double-check.

Back in December, I got pretty freaked out about a line of lumps along my right arm.

I fretted. I frenzied.

And celebrated big when I got the good news.

Two weeks ago, I had the long-awaited ultrasound and left to the words “I wouldn’t worry if I were you”.

And I didn’t.

Yesterday my oncologist gave me a cheery call. She’s ordered another look at a reactive lymph node.

Lucky me. More practice at trusting my body. More practice at not worrying.

Pretty soon, I’ll be a pro.