Fall is upon us, dear friends. My favorite month has arrived. I don’t know exactly why, but for some reason, October has always been the most divine month. You’re never quite sure what the weather will be like, but you know that it’s usually crisp, but not cold. Everything is flavored either pumpkin or cinnamon, pencils are freshly sharpened, the gorgeous New England leaves make the sky look even more vibrantly blue, and we have a Monday off in the middle of the month (that is generally the mark of a good month, whether or not there will be some bonus time off of work!).
Tomorrow SHL and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. It’s brought up a lot of emotions for me this year, maybe even more so than last year, as I’m slowly coming to realize that I have been in a state of shock for the past 13 months. Now, coming out of that shock and into the “real world,” there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to go back to that hazy state of disbelief. For in that trance, I could pretend like nothing has really changed. In reality, my whole world has changed over this last year, and I’m now faced with how to move forward finally understanding that cancer does that– changes things (although as I’ll describe in a minute, some things feel more intensely beautiful because of the gratitude at being alive). Kris Carr says that cancer has been her teacher. I generally think of teaching and learning in the positive, and although there is nothing positive about having cancer, I have come to realize that over the last year my experiences have been, dare I say it, more fulfilling than ever. There’s not just a cozy night at home with SHL, a dinner with a friend, or a vacation. These things have taken on new meaning– like everything, even a bite of chocolate, is more delicious. That cozy night at home, those laughs with my friends, that amazing vacation spent exploring and trying new things, it’s all so nourishing. Except when you feel sad. Then, it is as if everything has a film over it, and the things that you once relished, are now deemed “fine.” I’m working on this, eager to get back that place where everything feels, smells, and tastes rich. But even through my sadness, my fear, I can still feel the love. The blessings. The good.
It’s been a tough month. I’ve been anxious, and yet continuing to take care of myself the best that I can. There is the one Sam who is walking along her own path (perhaps on the beach), and then the other Sam, who is right next to her, lugging what feels like a huge boulder.
The first Sam is empowered. She’s enjoying feeling the warm waves lapping at her feet, the sun on her face (with sunscreen on, of course, even in her daydreams!), the sand caught in between her toes. She’s eating right, exercising, meditating, listening to positive affirmations on the way to and from work, making plans with family and seeing friends, cooking SHL dinner, and making appointments at Dana-Farber to try and make sure that she’s taking care of the whole picture.
Then there’s the “other” Sam. The one carrying (more like dragging) that huge boulder. She’s sunburned, tired, and confused. She’s exhausted, but more than that, she’s afraid. Where did this boulder come from? Will she ever be able to let it go? And if she has to hang on to it, what will happen to all of the hard work that she’s been doing? Will it be for nothing? This scares her even more.
And I wonder: How can cancer not feel like a giant boulder upon somebody’s shoulders? Does it get easier, as Kris Carr promised when I met her last year? I have to believe that it does. I have to believe that when somebody is diagnosed with an “incurable” (I hate that word, can we never say it again? It takes away all hope, and I refuse to live in that world) cancer, they have moments of doubt, fear, and anger. What I’m learning is how to cope with those feelings, how to process them, say them out loud, cry, hibernate, write, cook, stargaze, journal, wonder why, speak to g-d, and then? … Well then, keep going. Keep walking along that beautiful beach. Understand that for now, the boulder is there, and I am learning to live with it, but knowing that someday, the boulder will feel lighter.
I work on trying to figure out ways to feel more in control of a life that feels like it could go off of the rails at any moment. Cancer does that—it takes away your feeling of power. But I won’t let it. I will speak to it, explain that we must, g-d willing, find a way to live sympatico.
So I take it one day at a time. Not going to say that feeling like you’re living your life that way is easy, but for the time being, it’s helping me to manage my fear. (I’ve also been trying to tease out the differences between fear and negativity; sometimes they feel the same, despite the definition in the dictionary. But I think that I’ve finally got it. Am I afraid? Yes. Am I negative? No). The other day I jumped in feet first to make my first vegan carrot cake from Kris Carr’s website. I was so excited; I got my carrots, apple, ginger, cinnamon, dates… I don’t exactly understand why so many vegan recipes ask you to soak nuts for hours on end, but I did it, pecans and cashews in water, for 6 + hours. The cake part seemed to come out OK, it had that nice orangey-carrot-cake-shade, and smelled like cinnamon and ginger (though it was a little damp, maybe I didn’t dry the nuts well enough before blending?), but the “cream cheese frosting,” really should have just been called the “disgusting, trying to be like cream cheese, but really resembling some mashed up chickpea frosting, even though there were no chickpeas in the recipe.” Ugh! In the garbage can it went! How can you make a frosting with cashews? I asked, soothing myself with a raw brownie instead.
I’ll be heading this week for a trip to an integrative doctor, really excited to be expanding my health and wellness and making sure that I’m looking at the big picture, and tapping into all of my resources. I saw another new doctor the other day and at the end of the appointment informed him that he’s now an important part of what I like to call “Team Lozier.” He chuckled and asked, “What, are there t-shirts or something?” To which I said with a straight face, “As a matter of fact, there are. My friends had them made.” (I just love that). Team Lozier is budding with amazing doctors, practitioners, spiritual guides, and guru’s. And over the weekend, SHL (I got to marry my best friend, how great is that?) and I will be celebrating 4 amazing years as husband and wife. No marriage is perfect, and it would be silly for me to try and paint that picture. Nonetheless, there is nobody else in the world that feels like they could be as right for me as he is. There is nobody else that I would rather be walking down this path with (he sure makes that boulder feel lighter), and nobody else that I could love more.