Jamie's Blog

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Eight Years Today

Eight years ago today I had my breasts removed and replaced with newer, better models. They looked perfectly round, pert, young, and ready to rock and roll. So what if they were numb; no more boring bras, mom jeans, or swimskirts for us! 

It wasn't all vanity and play: with pen and telephone we encouraged the sick and scared, and battled the pink beast.

We had a pretty good run, me and my noobies. At the five year mark my blog featured a woman poised on a mountain top,  basking in her conquest, with higher peaks beckoning. Not satisfied to rest on my NED laurels,  I declared that I would keep on fighting until the world is cancer free. And I meant it.
I was naive.
Zealous, sincere, but naive.

From that lofty vantage point, I could not see my future, that my path would lead back down the mountain to where I began.  Something was wrong with me: my balance faltered, I got dizzy and fell several times a week. I fell off my bike twice, into traffic. And my memory sucked more than ever.

Of course my first thought was that cancer had spread to my brain. That was the first thing we tested for, and ruled out.

A battery of tests revealed all was normal except for nerve loss in my feet and sleep apnea, both of which are curable. My world became very small as I focused on increasing strength and reducing stress. A few weeks of a walking regime improved my energy and balance--I have not fallen in months. I am in Phase 2 of vanquishing sleep apnea. After failing abysmally with two CPAP masks I am optimistic that an oral appliance will do the trick. 

Most significant of all the cures is what I have stopped doing. Last year I gave up social media for lent and realized I had no desire to pick it up. I missed connecting with friends, but did not miss deadlines and Google stats.  Finally, last summer I surprised myself and decided to close my counseling practice. I closed the doors in September.  

Retirement takes getting used to--slowing down takes practice, but is well worth the effort. I have not abandoned all of my breast cancer work, but now confine my efforts to our local non-profit in my small, under-served county. 

I might have more hills than mountains in my future, but my race is not over, and the fight will never end--just lower and slower.

After all, it's been eight years and I am still here.


  1. Jamie, it's so validating to read this. I can so very much relate to discovering how much I've needed to slow down. It does take practice, and sometimes, it's hard work to figure out what needs to go and what needs to stay. But that last few years have revolved so much for me around 'lightening up,' winnowing out possessions, emptying parts of the house, picking my battles, making life simpler. Feels good. Just glad to still be dancing with NED.

    Good luck with the darn sleep apnea. A tough one for many of my patients. I know I don't have to remind you to enjoy your gorgeous grand-twins. xoxo, Kathi

    1. Dancing with NED, that's priceless! He is on all of our dance cards!
      As for winnowing, there is nothing like illness to bring things into focus. Not much else matters but the pain and finding relief. I am glad we both can keep dancing with NED!

  2. I've been wondering why you've been so quiet lately. Now I know. I'm happy that you are doing what feels right for you. But I do miss you!

    1. I'm glad you missed me! I miss you, too. It's the only bad part of this change, losing touch with good people like you. I have been very boring on Facebook, posting pix of my darling new grandbabies. That's where my head is these days!