In September of 2015, I was a forty-something first-time bride marrying the love of my life. In June 2016, almost nine months to the day after celebrating my wedding, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a year my primary identity went from newlywed to cancer patient. Instead of shopping for bridal gowns and writing wedding vows, I was making medical appointments and searching out scarves to warm up my now-bald head.
The rest of life goes on, of course. A nerd by trade, I teach and direct the writing center at a small liberal arts college in southwest Virginia, where I write non-fiction and keep house in an almost-century-old brick beauty with my wonderful new husband, Steve, three bossy cats, and one long-suffering dog. I enjoy organizing and putting our house together (yes, we’re still unpacking a year after move-in…), puttering in my craft room, searching antique stores for vintage treasures. I remain a voracious reader and love a great folk-rock band, or a night at the theatre. I can spend hours absorbing the beauty of woods and rivers, walking along a beach searching for shells, or simply sitting on the front porch with my honey, resting in the rolling green of the park across the street.
These days I also spend some of my time sitting in a chemo treatment chair, shopping for the aforementioned scarves, and wondering whether I should choose a single or double mastectomy when that time comes. It’s a whole new world, this tripping over my own mortality on a daily basis. It tends to make one pay close attention.
Some days it seems like the whole “cancer patient” thing isn’t quite real; some days it feels only too much so. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am lucky to have amazing friends and family who are supporting me every step. I am hopeful, and I am both a lover and a fighter. And if the story of my journey–scary, strange, funny, joyful–can bring even one other person comfort, understanding, or hope, then it’s worth sharing.
Thanks for stopping by. ♥