Sunday, September 15, 2013

N. E. D.

Mammogram and Doctor's visit this week - both turned out A-OK! I knew all would be well, but I didn't realize I was holding my breath until after the No-Evidence-of-Disease was declared. Whew! I see my radiation oncologist in 3 months, then see my chemo oncologist every 3 months for the next 2 years, getting mammograms every 6 months. I'll be dealing with the repercussions of chemo and radiation for awhile, but I can do that knowing my energy can be spent here (as long as I don't crash on my bike, stub a toe, crack a rib). My body knows how to heal, how to be healthy. Thank you, body.

It has been a good week. I love being back at school, in the classroom, teaching. I am past deliriously in love with teaching, and I hold this treasure, this gift, gently. I've had a couple of chemo-brain moments, but I was honest with my students the first day of class, and as long as I can continue in that honesty, being kind to myself, I know I can continue to have the respect of my students, and teach them not only how to write, but also how to live - life isn't always smooth, and professors aren't perfect.

I am reaching out - it feels good to be outside of myself. Heal yourself, help others heal. I've spent time the past weeks with a couple of friends who are having their own journeys. I'm glad they've invited me to ride along with them. It feels good to be in the back-seat again. I'm seeing the kinship that comes with similar travels. I am finding that what I have to offer are these 2 words - "I understand." There is peace in knowing we aren't alone.

I did something this week I haven't done in probably 8 years - can fruit - when the fruit was ready, rather then when I made time. This isn't a skill I thought I'd ever use once my children left home, but standing on my feet for hours, next to a hot stove, with glass bottles filled with "safely gathered in" bounty has brought me much joy. 60 1/2 pints of peach and peach/nectarine jam, 25 quarts of tomatoes, 16 half pints of raspberry jam - the beauty of jars lined up on my kitchen counter, the high-fiving myself for a job well-done, the sisterhood in this communal undertaking, something I cannot discount. Touching earth, handling creations, preserving - not only the fruit, but the moment.

“Canning is a whole world of a thing to do. It requires that you get out of your head. It's a Zen thing. You cannot be wondering about your inadequacies and how they drove Bob off and be making jelly. You'll wind up with big, cylindrical jujubes.”
― Debby Bull, Blue Jelly: Love Lost & the Lessons of Canning

Onward - reaching in, reaching out, learning to live in the today. Quite a simply extravagant and necessary process.

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