Eat, Pray & Lots of Love
"My confession is I fall in love with so many places. I'm always half broken-hearted by goodbyes. And I don't believe in non-attachment. There's no passion inside of that. I believe in burning. And I believe we leave tiny pieces of ourselves in every place we've loved."-Victoria Erickson
It's probably of no surprise to many of you who know me and regularly read my posts, that I am often in search of more. More meaning, more (positive) experiences and most importantly, more time. I'm rather quickly approaching the five year mark of the confusing day that I first found the peculiar lump in my left breast. Abruptly, like a firestorm, this discovery would wreak havoc on a life that I was pretty content with. In a blink of an eye I would quickly experience 2 breast biopsies, 16 rounds/5 months of IV chemo, a double mastectomy/reconstructive surgery, sepsis, multiple organ failure and ICU survival, 8 weeks of radiation to my left breast/chest wall and lymph node area, a 2 year clinical trial, another reconstruction, followed by staph infection and unilateral mastectomy, lattisimus flap reconstruction, a biopsy to my L5 vertebrae, Stage 4 oligometastatic diagnosis (recurrence) to my spine, 5 high dose spine radiation sessions, ongoing oral chemo (8 months now and still going), monthly infusions to suppress my ovaries and hormone production, 7 total surgeries and many, many, many scans....here I am, finally feeling like I can take a damn breath. I don't share all of these "stats" if you will, to make others feel sorry for me. I share them because when I say it out loud, it helps me understand why I am this version of myself that I am today and why I continue to long for something more. I've found September to be this rather magical month! It's been a much needed opportunity for me to take a break, breathe and feel a little more connected to life. If you've seen the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" with Julia Roberts, it's been that kind of awakening for me....minus the extended overseas stay, the loads of pasta and the vow of silence...,haha! What resonates from the comparison of the movie to my life is this:
"It's about finding something to believe in and be passionate about—and that includes your own life. A little inspirational advice from the pages of "Eat Pray Love: Happiness is the consequence of personal effort." -2014 EPL Review.
Day by day I'm feeling healthier and more grounded. Feeling grounded when the world has consistently been knocking you off your feet is something pretty spectacular! I've had 2 rounds of clear scans since last January when everything went to hell. I will have more scans next month, but the emotions I have about that is more of peace than panic. I'm thinking what this is, might be finally feeling hope deep down to my very core. Darkness is often followed by light. And let me tell you, these rays I'm feeling are warm, soul soothing and I do believe warranted. Some things unfold in a way we just can't plan or even predict. I had no idea when I embarked on a solo trip out West for a family wedding, that I'd experience the right combination of experiences that would calm a racing mind and heal a bleeding heart. Let's dig in...
Leaving home for any type of getaway is an undertaking. Work has been crazy, three active kids' schedules are taxing and finding the courage to leave everything that I'm always the one in charge of behind, gave me just a little bit of stress. But I also knew, it was the right time for me to spend some time alone, clear my mind and see some distant family that I love. It's been so long since I've traveled anywhere far away by myself that I honestly can't even remember it. The second I stepped off one plane in Seattle, walked outside to board another to Boise, I had this instant, overwhelming reaction that led to memories of my last trip to Seattle, I was young, looking at graduate school and accompanied by my parents. I fell in love with the Northwest on that trip. Just like the quote I shared earlier, I had left a piece of my heart there 20 years ago and I was reacquainted with it now. That may sound silly, but the mountains, trees, water, air....it gave pieces of myself back to me that I had forgotten about. This gift fueled me and was probably an indication of what more was to come. Boise was unforgettable. In this hard to explain way, it was like I carried mom with me as I reunited with her brother, his wife and this beautiful family that they have created. I had so many heartfelt conversations, I saw nature in it's most beautiful form and I laughed. Oh, how I laughed! I witnessed a beautiful wedding and a family coming together. I also watched another family announce that theirs is expanding! My first gender reveal party! So much love, experiences and heartfelt connections were had. What more could one ask for. Many times in previous posts I've talked about my cousin, Cathy, who has blessed me by bringing Reiki and Theta Healing into my life. Experiencing this in person and not just via Zoom was, well....magic. I'm so grateful, honored and blessed to have spent time with all of you. I will be back, Idaho! You have a piece of my heart....always.
Feeling whole after feeling so broken, is a gift that I never saw coming. My hope is that it just keeps getting better and I keep finding my way not back, but forward to a version of myself that feels like home. Peace and contentment for me, come after feeling the complete opposite and knowing what happens at rockbottom. The lessons I'm taking with me into the trials and tribulations of "Pinktober" (trigger warning), is that 1) I have so much life left in me to live, 2) you can't always plan for the epiphany....sometimes I need to let go and just see what unfolds and 3) I deserve not only happiness and joy, but the opportunity to walk away from the have to's and many daily obligations from time to time and do some adventuring. I'm continuing my quest for more and grateful for those who are willing to meet me, join me or encourage me on this path of discovery.
Keep On Killing it, my angels...much love, PEACE and hope-M
Try it...no matter where you live! Life changing and Life Saving. Tell Cathy I sent you. ;)
"I hope you find the courage to change your life. In the small ways, in the big ways, in every way that matters. I hope you do not end this story with a heart full of regrets. I hope you do not spend your years just waiting for your life to begin. I hope you realize that this is not the practice run, this is not the preview. This is it. There is nothing to do but leap. There is nothing to do but allow yourself to exist as boldly and honestly as you can. You will think you have forever, but you do not. It all happens and it happens quickly. You are not waiting on another person, or the right timing, or for everything to fall into place. You are waiting to feel ready enough to exist within the questions, to not need every answer, and to know that this life does not come to us to be perfectly understood, but to be fully experienced, in every direction we can possibly reach."-Brianna Wiest