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.