Pebbles, Thoughts

One year ago this week I learned that I had cancer. This is the week my life changed, and I became a new Jane, with the old Jane by her side, but new nonetheless. Because I’m pretty good-natured in general I think I’ve been able to think positively for most of this year. I haven’t been depressed. I’ve been afraid — I still am, a little — and I’ve been worn out, but I haven’t fallen too far into the black pit, never so far that I couldn’t haul myself out.

I could make lists of what I’ve been through, and what I’ve learned. I could go over every awful event and milestone, one by one. But when I look back at the whole year, I see my strength and power, along with the open mind and heart it took to temper all the hard things. That’s what I’ve learned — that my openness and willingness, and my choice to see the experience as powerful, have really made a difference in my recovery. I took on some very big things, and here I am writing about it.

So I guess cancer is my friend, my very dark friend. It’s given me many gifts, even as it has taken so much from me. Though I don’t want it in my life, I’ve come to depend on it, in a strange way. It’s been the reason for so many things, for this entire year of things. It’s caused me to have a new life, a new normal, a new reality. The new reality includes cancer. Whether it’s here or it’s gone — doesn’t matter. It’s part of me, and it changed everything.

A year ago, when I was diagnosed, and I was about to have surgery, I didn’t yet know what it meant to have cancer. It was big, but it didn’t have a shape yet. The fear that I felt made me do things like become efficient, set my house in order, and buy nightgowns. I was determined to be prepared for anything. Later, as time passed and I needed more treatment, cancer settled into my life to stay. I began to understand it, and then accept it. That’s when it became my dark friend, I suppose.

I’m not sure what the next year will bring. I hope it will bring more joy, and peace of mind, and less time spent worrying about cancer. I hope I’ll keep all the best things I found in myself safe and sound. I hope my bags won’t be burdensome, because until I really believe that I’m not in danger, I can’t put them down.

Yes, that’s right — this is knitting! I have been knitting again. It’s Anne Hanson’s Boxleaf Shawl in Sundara’s Fingering Silky Merino. It was the project I had to shake the dust off of. After that, how could I not pick it up and keep going?

The color is called “Beach Pebbles” and I think it looks a lot like the picture of pebbles in the bay that I took the other day. I’m content to poke along on this project — it’s fun and the rhythm of the repeats makes me happy — but I have begun to feel the familiar twinges that signal startitis. Should I treat them, or ignore them?

34 thoughts on “Pebbles, Thoughts

  1. thank you for sharing. 🙂 I love your blog..even though I don’t knit. Your perspective is awesome and I appreciate it greatly!

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  2. So pleased to read what you share. You are very inspirational.I like to knit… unfortuantely for me I only know how to knit scarves. Oh so many scarves. The homeless have loved them :-)I will keep knitting and when I next do so I will think of you with a smile.best wishesRibbon

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  3. Thanks for sharing your reflections on your past year and this journey you are on. I am struck, in particular, by the thought of you having to carry these bags and that you can’t put them down until you are sure you are safe. I hope you have that assurance very soon.

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  4. What a wonderful description of your last year & what you have been through. The shawl is beautiful – it looks like a wonderful return to the click of the needles!

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  5. Gorgeous knitting! That’s beautiful. Your talk of the dark friend reminds me of my experiences with grief over the death of my father. I felt the same way about it–things we go through really do end up a part of our lives. I enjoy your blog. God bless you.

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  6. Happy to see your pictures of flowers, the beach, and your knitting. Thank you for sharing about the last year. I am so glad you are here to reflect on it!

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  7. I had cancer 3.5 years ago and totally get what you are saying. You said what I think just about every day.Thanks for beening able to put it in words

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  8. Hi Jane – I’ve been thinking about you a lot the last few days, and am glad to see you are blogging, and knitting! I’m using the hedgerow toe on a pair of vanilla socks (yarn from Spirit Trail though, so that makes them special). Wishing you a warm and wonderful Spring. xox Tree

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  9. What a treat to drop in and see not only one new post, but two! It is so wonderful to see you blogging once again. This was beautifully written. You are so brave. I certainly hope you get to feeling that you can put your bags down again … they must be getting very heavy to carry. XXOO

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  10. Been there, done it nine years ago. Still have the bags from time to time but learning to be a survivor not a victim.You are an inspiration, Jane!

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  11. Beautiful shawl! And your positive attitude has obviously been a very big help in carrying your heavy burden. Hope your load becomes lighter day by day.

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  12. I look forward to everyone one of your blog postings. This one is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing your feelings with us. Pictures are beautiful and so is your scarf.

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  13. You have expressed your emotions so well and it helps me to understand how a friend in similar circumstances may be feeling. Thank you so much for this.

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  14. startitus is a good sign, one of looking ahead again. It's good to look ahead even a little bit, through committing to a knitting project. It's a healthy sign.

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  15. Your writing and reflections are as beautiful as you, dear one. thank you.looking ahead, and startitis is a good thing for you right now. I say, start them ALL 😉 and then rejoice in the fact that you'll be here to finish them.May the year ahead be full to the brim with ease and blessings

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  16. What a beautiful, amazing post. Jane you are incredible! I'm proud to be the sister you've never met in "real" life. I really really am.I know other folks who have evolved in amazing ways because of cancer. But it's a cruel teacher. I've never heard anyone call it a friend, even a "dark friend," but I get what you mean.Thank you again and again for this. I salute you, and send much love.

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  17. I wish you deep peace and many, many blessings. I love the color of the yarn. It does look like beach pebbles. Thanks for some inspiration on this day.

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  18. Hi Jane,After reading your post I have to say I'm delighted to meet you, and very pleased Reya suggested I stop in for a visit. I am much earlier on in my "dark friendship" with cancer, just about to begin my my first chemo and radiation treatments on Monday.I've already noticed some of the strange, but precious, gifts cancer brings. I think the price it charges is exorbitant, but it has changed my life for the better in many ways.Thank you for your post. It was both helpful and inspiring.

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