Friday, January 28, 2011


I had my mammogram today.  I always tell my friends that they should never neglect that simple test, because that simple test is what detected my breast cancer and what helped to get rid of it.  And what, ultimately, saved my life.

Almost five years ago, a routine mammogram discovered an irregular spot in my breast so far back, almost touching my breast bone, that a routine self exam would not have detected it.  A surgical biopsy later (which was actually a lumpectomy) revealed that "spot" was actually Stage I Invasive Breast Cancer.  However, since it was caught early and small and had not yet spread to any lymph nodes, my treatment was radiation therapy for seven weeks, five years of check-ups, twice-a-year mammograms, and a daily dose of drug therapy (Arimidex).

Last month, I saw my surgical oncologist for the last time, today my mammogram marks my last one in the 5-year-out timeline that defines "cure," and these three bottles are my last round of the prophylactic pill I take daily.  I am blessed to live in an age that can "cure" this once-deadly cancer, at least for many women. My doctor told me that because of its location, had I waited to detect this cancer by self-exam, it would have been too late.

I don't think often of being a cancer survivor;  however, I am reminded keenly of the fact that I am one when I prepare to go to appointments like today or like last month.  I no longer notice the little blue dots that tatoo my skin to signal the radiation coordinates.  I mindlessly pop my little white pill daily along with my multivitmin, lutein, fish oil, B-complex, etc. etc., never noting that this pill is designed to prevent the estrogen buildup that fueled my cancer growth.  And I can barely see the surgical scars that crisscross the skin of my left breast.  But I am a cancer survivor and I admit to crying as I  walk the survivor lap at the Relay for Life I participate in each year.  I am grateful to be alive and grateful that reserachers devote their time and energy and passion and doctors do their jobs well and pharamaceutical companies develop new drugs and women allow themselves to participate in drug trials and families and friends walk to raise money....year after year after year....after year...

Monday, January 24, 2011

My New Knitting Place

In October we began several home improvement projects--repainting the kitchen and replacing the cabinet knobs, redoing the whole powder room, and enclosing a screen porch to turn it into a television room.  Finally, it is all complete--totally done.  We are enjoying our new room, our new furniture, and the added living space we now have on our lower lever.  For me, the best part is I now have much appreciated room to stretch out my legs while I knit and room to put my yarn, patterns, and all the tools of my craft right alongside me and Lily, my feline knitting friend.

The first thing I finished knitting in the new room is this sweet little baby kimono for a baby shower I am hosting here on Wednesday.  The pattern is from the wonderful Mason Dixon Knitting.

I even set up my sewing machine in the new room, on the table by the window.   Last weekend, I stitched up two more bedtime bags for baby Bodie's sister Lucy who is coming with her Mama to the shower and Lucy's friend Emerson who is tagging along with her mother.  Wednesday is Emerson's birthday so I thought she deserved a treat too.  I am giving them both Elmer, one of Alex's (and my) favorite books from his younger days. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

In honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We cooked--all thirteen of us, teachers and students at State High donned aprons, chopped onions, sweated off the mirepoix while we first-hand experienced the meaning of mis en place.  We created over 150 meals for 8 group homes of people with cognitive disabilities (and their devoted staff) who live among us in our community.  It was rather amazing....really...truly.

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

by William Carlos Williams