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April 09, 2007

Anniversaries and Moving On

Julieorfirer272x721 Julie - This has been a season of one-year anniversaries.  Feb 10 – ultrasound, “I’m looking at my cancer”; Feb 15 – the call, “It’s cancer;” March 2 – lumpectomy and axillary dissection, “There’s cancer in the sentinel node;” March 9 – post op visit and first oncology visit, “You need chemo and mastectomy;” March 17 – first chemo; March 18 – “Hey, mashed potatoes taste good!,” April Fools day – hair falling out.

At first I was disturbed by these constant thoughts.  It felt like some sort of strange obsession.  But I knew I couldn’t stop them and figured I’d just ride along with them.  Then I started to realize the pattern of my thoughts.  Each time one went by it was like another milestone.  I recognized that one, it was true, I had had breast cancer and I went through all of that; I was starting to see it a little from the outside.  Two, I saw that it was in the past – a year ago – and that I am living a different life this year.  And three, that I really did get through it: the diagnosis and the treatment and the depression and the aftermath.  And I got through it with a bit of a new attitude on life, though not totally changed for sure.

And I’m moving on.  One of the things I did last year was to lie on the couch wondering what I would do if I could ever get up again.  The idea that hung around my mind was going back to school for my PhD in Nursing.  So in January, in the midst of not believing in the future, I pulled an application together.  And now I’ve gotten an unofficial (don’t have the letter yet and haven’t taken the dreaded GREs) acceptance!

Of course during the months between then and now I asked myself a lot of questions. Do I want to go to school?  Do I want a better job with more hours and (gasp!) benefits?   Do I want to pick up and move to Brazil?  So, with my life motto of putting one foot in front of the other, I applied for a couple of jobs.  And now I will have to make choices or blend compromises.  Or something!

So it’s time to take what I may have learned last year and see if I can apply it now.  Wait for reality before making decisions.  Spend some time thinking about how I’d feel if I made one decision or another. Follow the path that feels right when I say it.  Move toward the path of living fully.  Give myself over to the decisions I do make.  Put one foot in front of the other.

April 9, 2007 in Julie | Permalink


Julie, I can't find another email for you so I"m writing here. This sounds like an amazing journey. I would love to connect once again -- vickikirsch@hotmail.com

Posted by: Vicki | May 10, 2007 4:00:39 PM

It's great to have options!
After my breast cancer I made decisions that no longer included school, and instead were about exploring other interests. I bought a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle and took scuba lessons. I found a whole new world on the country roads near home, and in the Great Lakes and oceans. Cheap European vacations are also high on my list of favorites. I never did get that masters degree - I don't have time!
Best wishes as you find what makes you happy in this next phase of your life. there is something liberating about knowing that our time here is limited, and our choices are not.

Posted by: katherine | Apr 13, 2007 3:31:49 PM

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