Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not Judging

I've been spending a lot of time recently, actively working on not judging, on, instead, coming into situations with an open mind and heart, and really seeing and feeling what is going on in me, and around me—whether or not it is easy, comfortable, funny, or, as sometimes is the case, excruciatingly painful. I am not a bandaid-on-my-problem sort of person. I do not want an anti-anxiety pill if accepting, loving, and welcoming anxiety will allow me to really look at it, and really see where it's coming from. At this moment, I'm feeling pretty content and comfortable, sitting here in my warm living room with my two dogs sound asleep on the floor, all the rain and chill outside. Claiming to want to welcome anxiety makes me feel a little masochistic right now, because I have had some recent poignant and distressing experiences with letting strong, difficult emotions into the forefront. But I've survived them, and grown from them. And the thing is, we humans have a rich palette of emotions that we are able to experience, that we can use to color and tint our day-to-day lives. It's an amazing gift that we have, this ability to feel, and I wish to take full advantage of it. I wish to be aware of my life—all of my life.

All of this preamble is to say that my tumor markers were down again last week, from 29 to 24. Now, 24 is significantly lower than 37, and even Ian the statistician, not just Ian my husband, would agree.

Which is to say that, after my breast-cancer containing ovaries were removed, my markers dropped. Does this mean that my ovaries contained the last live breast cancer in my body? Or were they simply another part of my body containing cancer, and there are more still in there, but losing the ovaries is what dropped the blood count? I am happy that my tumor markers went down again, but the truth is that I have no idea why—therefore, I am accepting this information, but trying my best not to pin hopes to it. It is information that makes me happy, but it is only one small piece of information.

One of my colleagues—my colleague in that she, too, is spending much of her life at the moment in breast cancer treatment and "colleague" was the first word I thought of to describe our relationship—did several months of surgery and systemic (chemotherapy) treatment and radiation, was pronounced clear, her tumor markers were low like mine, and then she started having headaches and they found 10 or 12 lesions in her brain, metastasized breast cancer that hadn't put in an appearance in any other way.

And so. Information: my tumor markers are down. I had a fantastic first ride yesterday after my surgery, and jumped, and I feel gloriously stiff today. Hoover still barks at dogs on the street. Spackle is holding his own. Ian is dorking out with colleagues (the work kind) this week.

Life is as it should be.

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