Balancing RocksThe anniversary of my final cancer treatment has passed, but I’m still getting used to it. I want to be kind to myself, and honor where I am, so I’ve needed to be quiet these last couple of weeks. Most of the time I am like a little beach rock, cradled in my own hand – mostly smooth, a little rough in places, but reassuringly solid. At other times, I’m a bit delicate, like I need to be handled with care. No jostling, please.

When I saw Dr. Pearl, we congratulated each other. “We did it!” I said, and he nodded and smiled. We talked about what’s next (the same: monitor my CA125 levels and PAPs with the same vigilance as we have up to now), how often I’d like to see him (every six months, please), and how I’m doing (pretty well). We talked about statistics, and that they really do matter. And that yes, considering the advanced stage of my uterine cancer, there was a strong chance I’d experience a recurrence within these five years.

Some would say that I beat the odds, but I prefer to say that in my travels I left the percentages behind. I’m lucky – lucky that I’m in the artful care of Dr. Pearl, and lucky that I found the strength to do the work. And I do believe that my magic parking space helped.

While I was at the Cancer Center, I went down the hall to the Medical Oncology department, past the door to the chemotherapy rooms (I avoided looking at the door, and surprised myself). I found the office of the cancer patient advocate, and asked her if there is still a need for hats for patients at the Center – and there is. I explained that I’m on a hat-knitting bender, and that I’d love to knit hats throughout the summer until my next appointment in October. “Men’s hats, too?” I asked. “Most definitely!” she answered.hats 2014

So my sock yarn hats will have homes, and I get to keep going. They’ll be soft, just right for tender scalps. They’ll be warm and bright, because I know how cold and dark that journey and those chemotherapy rooms can be. They’ll make me happy, because I remember how much the hats I received meant to me back then.

And because I get to say things about my cancer travels like “I’m lucky” and “back then” and “I get to keep going,” I’ll leave these thoughts where they are. I’m going to keep being kind and tender to myself. I’ll keep being grateful, and I’ll stay on this road into the next five years.

4 thoughts on “Tender

  1. Thank you, Jane, for being such a good role model for a good perspective and taking tender care of yourself. Sending you gratefulness from me and warm hugs. xo


  2. I smile every time I read the words “five years” and my heart does a little dance of joy. I am so proud of you, your strength, your stick-to-it ness, your wonderful way of looking at things. Your blog posts keep me in perspective and calm me down. When an obstacle gets in my way I ask myself “what would Jane do? How would she tackle this?” and I figure out my answer. You have taught us all how to move forward one step at a time with grace and courage. You have been in my daily thoughts and prayers for the last five years and you will continue to be there. Jane, you and Dr. Pearl did good…..very, very good. And I thank you both.


  3. What a gorgeous piece of writing, Jane. Whatever happened that brought you through the five years, I am grateful!


  4. I’m so glad for so many things, Jane. Your five years. My five years. Finding you online. Soft, warm hats. Knowing what we know. Sharing. So glad, Jane. So very glad.


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