I made an appointment with my primary care physician about the lump. I saw her in July, but I didn’t get an x-ray, nor did I let her examine it. I’ve become very squeamish about letting people touch me, especially doctors. The appointment is in early January. I hope we don’t have bad weather so that I can make it there. It’s gotten to the point where I want to know if it’s a recurrence, not because I would get more standard treatment, don’t get me started about how horrific and ridiculous that is, because it would scare me into taking better care of myself. I’m having it looked at because it’s hurting me.
The fact that I haven’t been taking good care of myself the last few years is a testament to my ignorance, arrogance, and stubbornness. I just keep thinking I didn’t learn my lesson that’s why it could be back. And it would explain the fatigue and weight loss. I know what a tumor feels like and it feels like a tumor. It’s just in a weird location. It’s not on either breast. It’s in between two of my ribs, on my left side, down from my armpit, across from my breast. Exactly where the side seam of my shirt and bottom of my bra intersect. Well, I wear a tank cami, but there’s still the inner bra thing. I’ve had the pea-sized lump for about a year or two and it hasn’t gone away.
Enough about that, I don’t want to dwell on the negative. This week, I had two phone interviews for opportunities in Costa Rica. For some reason, that place is calling to me and I’m not sure why. Probably because, like Hawaii, it’s an inherently healing place. Even though I got accepted to both of them, neither are going to work out, and I went from being really excited to depressed again. The first one was a raw vegan yoga wellness retreat with Ellen Livingston at the Farm of Life. It was just one week which would’ve been doable. The problem is, there are four Husky dogs at the retreat. I’m allergic to dogs and I have a phobia of them. I know most dogs are friendly and it seems like the majority of people adore them. I guess I’m not in the majority.
The other opportunity was with A Fresh Chapter founded by Terri Wingham. It was a two week volunteer program in Costa Rica with a group of cancer survivors. Like the retreat, it was also in March 2017. I really felt a connection with Terri because we were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She was 30, I was 31, and we had similar treatment plans. This program really appealed to me because I want to do something meaningful like help others. I have become very self-absorbed but not in a good way. Nevertheless, I’m not in a good enough place to be of service to others. And two weeks, although exciting, would’ve been challenging for me. Don’t take your health for granted. I used to be able to do anything I wanted and now I’m limited. Maybe that’s my next step – to feel alive and empowered.
Terri asked me some really good questions, they made me think and were hard to answer. Cancer is a teacher. What is something positive to come from your experience? Oh my. I couldn’t think of anything. I paused and then answered, “The book, because it can help others and I discovered my love for writing.” The book is important because it represents something I worked hard on, gave of myself unselfishly, and completed the project. Later that night, I thought of something else positive to come from my experience – I met someone who I really liked, still like, but he doesn’t like me, so it doesn’t matter. It was just a passing experience. It was a good learning experience because in order to see him, I had to challenge my OCD and PTSD. And I did.
It’s a good thing that I’m wanting to face my fears and push myself out of my comfort zone, yet once again I’m trying to go from 0-90 instead of 0-25. Although, sometimes that’s what it takes to really experience a profound shift. I need to start doing more things in my own community rather than trying to go so far away. I’m still looking forward to the cancer survivor adventure camps which are happening in the spring/summer of 2017. They are one week long. I can connect with other survivors and have fun. These are Epic Experience, Athletes for Cancer, Send It, and First Descents. They range from surfing in Hawaii to kayaking in Colorado. They are free with the option to fund-raise for airfare. It’s funny that I’ve just now discovered them.
The other plus to seeing my primary care physician in January, she can sign off on the medical release forms required to attend the camps. I asked if this is okay and it is, since I haven’t seen my oncologist in two years and she can’t give a current physical assessment. And God knows, I don’t want to step foot into that place. My PCP has all of my medical history. So far, I only have forms from two of the programs. I don’t know how many I will end up attending. I think at least two of them would be super awesome! 🙂 And I know I’ll probably get scared and want to back out, but I won’t let myself. I need to experience a deeper sense of healing and find my purpose.
The other thing I found out, I got an email from the Bay Area Book Festival, the book fair I did last year, their early registration is open. The only problem, they have doubled their booth fee making it, in my opinion, ridiculously expensive and not affordable especially since I didn’t sell many books. So, I’ve decided not to go this year even though I had a good time. There’s a large book festival in Chicago, Printer’s Row Lit Fest, that is also in early June and might be a better idea. Hopefully, when they open up their registration it will be more reasonably priced. It will be nice to go to a different city and meet new people. I think book fairs are a very fun and worthwhile experience.
Have a great week, happy holidays, and happy new year! 🙂