I guess you could say my absence from posting has been because I’ve been busy with other non-cancer related life things. Which is funny, because nearly 18 months later, and my CJ is never far from my mind. While I’m not afraid to admit that I did indeed watch this last season of Real Housewives of New Jersey, my biggest fear is that my constant CJ musings would be compared to that of Amber Marchese who like me, had “the cancer” (as she repeatedly refers to it – even five years later) and reminds everyone she comes across every chance she gets. I don’t want to be that girl.

However, I can honestly say, I’m not exactly “over it” either. While my scars are healing, and my reconstruction is (almost) done, and the tumor is gone, the journey of the last 16 months and its aftermath still prevails. It’s like much of last year was me focused on getting better, recovering, juggling everything…and now much of what I’m focused on is digesting what went down. Wow. Just wow.

I’d like to state for the record, that I know I’m lucky. I didn’t have it as hard as others have had and I’m grateful. But the fact remains is that this journey has changed me – not just my cup size – and its impact has been far reaching.

  1. My memory: I used to have a crazy-good memory, the kind of memory that I’d have to apologize for, as in, “No I’m not a freaky stalker, it’s just that I remember you were wearing this on that” One of my proudest skills is knowing all the lyrics to Bon Dylan’s Tangled up in Blue. Now everything’s a blur and I kept repeatedly calling the guys’ CYO coach about the basketball schedule despite the fact that we’ve had this conversation before. The kids are noticing that I’m forgetting things. Anyone else? Or did I just ask you that?
  2. My good eating plan: Last year at this time I weighed 30 lbs lighter than I do right now. For reals. I’ve self medicated through junk food and it isn’t pretty.
  3. My interest in fitness: I used to walk the dog daily and get to the gym to workout, plus had tennis once a week. With 8 surgeries under my belt, I’ve been on the DL so much these last 14 months it’s been hard to maintain any kind of consistent fitness plan. I’m out of shape and just tied, still.
  4. My tennis game: I know, I know. First world problems. In the spirit of being ridiculously honest, I will share that I recently saw a picture of the girls I played tennis with at my old tennis club with a few years ago. We all were 2.5’s together! Um, now they’re 4.0’s! Wait, what? While I was dealing with my CJ, they’ve been playing tennis 3x a week and my backhand and I feel like losers.
  5. My social game: I used to be up for anything. Put on jeans and cute top and I’m there. Bam! But now, I find I’d rather binge on back to back episodes of House of Cards than have to leave the house and put on pants.

Months ago, I had written about my new normal and how the reality of my life post breast cancer is that there is no “Ta Da” parade “You’re Cured” celebration with balloons. Recurrence is very much on my radar and the doctors who treat me.  There are no guarantees. So I try to push those deep dark ugly thoughts in the back of my head and take my Tamoxifen daily like a good girl and live my life. With or without pants or leaving the house.




3 Responses

  1. I am going to have to buy you some pants so we can get moving! Once you start, you won’t be able to stop….it’s kind of like eating chocolate, only the outcome is so much sweeter…and ultimately we don’t feel as guilty about eating the chocolate. I know a certain “intern” that would love to walk with you. Get up, get out, see the world. Moving slowly is just fine. Just move! It’s time. Any questions? P.S. I love you!

  2. Jennifer,
    Yes, life is very different from before the big “C”( I cannot say the word), read about it, see it on tv, etc)and life now . finished with treatment and trying to get back that life you had before. Everything you say in this email is the exact same for me, and my initial discovery and surgeries and chemo were 12 years ago. Yes, I do worry and think about it, blah, blah blah and nobody who hasn’t gone through this REALLY can deep down understand the thoughts and fears we’ve had. However, you ARE in recovery, and have been the most AMAZING, gifted , hilarious, serious, descriptive, sensitive writer for all of us. When I read your emails I laugh, cry and nod my head- yes, you know what it has been.
    So, do what my loving family and friends say to me: “Get your a– up and get out!” Some days I just want to stay home and cozy up on the sofa with tv, books, especially magazines and my dog and enjoy being by myself. However, if I take a shower, get dressed and make my lists(over and over) I do enjoy getting out. It is hard but you and I have amazing family and friends for support. I hope you realize how incredible your mom is , not just to you and your family but to everyone she knows. You are on that road, so giddy-up!

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