I have not written this last week because I was
SICK! Like real sick, not cancer sick! Had a nasty cold & cough
and spent 4 days slithering from the bed to one couch or another back to bed.
Felt good to be SICK!! And now, I’m better and good to go. Paul accompanied me
to see the plastic surgeon today and I got to pick out my new boobs!
Now there’s a sentence I never would have imagined
A dear friend asked me what I need most right now
and I said what’s working for me is lots of short little emails where I know
you are thinking about me & sending me +++thoughts, but such
that I do not necessarily need to reply! Least interested in talking by phone.
Of course, I love an old fashioned note or card (AND I know a lot of you have
received hand made cards from me over the years but don’t worry—I
have ZERO expectation that this illness- even in me- is going to get you to
pull out the construction paper, or make a collage or to all of a sudden find
your box of colored pencils!) And while I'm saying what I love, I also
want to say how amazing Paul is, steady, smart, funny and unflappable as usual,
keep him right in your prayers too!
Surgery is slated for 2/4/14. I am feeling happy,
clear, strong, calm and ready to roll. I will be in the hospital for two days
and then home recuperating for some weeks. Still requesting this prayer: May
Amy have negative nodes & smooth sailing.
I am a very impressionable person gal and take
words to heart, so I have asked the anesthesiologist nurse to say this to me
each hour during the (four hour) operation. Amy! You’re doing
beautifully & you will have an uneventful and full recovery. Apparently
they believe in this stuff now- at long last!
Thank you for all your love & sweet thoughts
& blessings, I am being carried right along.
Bittersweet was hanging at
rakish angles all over the paths I walked today. It’s the perfect word for
something in my world at the moment. Bitter because, really, who wants, as my
kids used to say, stoooopid cancer!
Sweet because having cancer
has given me the opportunity to be in touch from so many people I love. And now
among the quotes, songs, cards, gifts, the words & hugs of encouragement
and support, well, I find so many different kinds of sweet. The other thing
about bittersweet is that it adds color to the drabby winter landscape and
reminds me that the colors of spring are not too far off!
I love your recommended book
titles (skip the mysteries & sci fi!) & funny movies or TV series on
your must see list (I should warn you, in my small-minded way, favorite
genres are a baseball movie or a romantic comedy—in other words, nothing heavy,
sad, scary, fast moving, action-filled, violent, loud or explicit- oh &
also not a fan of animation……what’s left you might ask?!)Keep ‘em coming; apparently I am going
to have some time on my hands. ‘Til then (surgery date: 2/4/14), I am doing
life & enjoying it as I usually do: working some, hanging out with Paul,
chatting with the kids, writing, noodling around my art room, seeing friends, going
to board meetings, dancing….
And lastly, sometimes I worry
that you are worried about me, which makes me feel badly. I believe strongly
that when I send love, healing thoughts or prayers --a longstanding habit of
mine-- that all that positivity first moves through me. So I trust the same is
true for you and that you are benefiting in all kinds of ways. I am also
linking all the waves of goodness together with a clear intention that it is
amplified or magnified on some cosmic channel & coming your way. So, stay
On my walk yesterday through the fields and
meadows across from my house, I was mesmerized by the way the long grasses were
matted down in swirling patterns on the soft damp ground. Birds were going
bananas in the warm January sunshine. When I got back to the road, my favorite
garbage truck was passing by. The trash collector, a ruddy, robust woman at
that job for decades, I had not seen in several years. I remember bringing my brand
new babies to the end of the driveway on trash day, holding them up... 3 kids/
4 years, it was like a perennial harvest on Middle Street. Today she slowed
down to wave; and when she drove away...call me nuts, but here's what I thought: Wow, that nice lady is taking away all the negativity
associated with this cancer.
I am feeling all your love and prayers, trying to
stay open to it all.
I was taking out the compost this morning and coming back
in off the deck, when I found this perfectly sculpted moss-integrated bird's
nest right by the door. I cannot say it was there on my way out.
100% clear where it came from, i.e., there are no obvious trees nearby, though
perhaps the gutter area? Having spent the better part of the morning making
soup, putting up yogurt, stirring homemade applesauce. I realized this
little omen was my overt permission to fully embrace & relish some nesting
time as I await treatment. I might well have a loose screw here, but am
re-framing this whole cancer thing into an opportunity to do a whole bunch of
stuff I love to do, much of which is domestic & creative and well, truth be told, I find
quite satisfying. I always thought I'd make a superior housewife in an old
fashioned kind of way. Apron on!
As Paul is fond of saying whenever we have an issue or
problem or challenge, or even just a big project for work or around the house,
borrowing here from our scuba diving adventures, we need to plan the dive & dive the plan.
Love this motto, because I’m a do-er and as long as I have a plan, I am good to
go. All this to say, I now have an excellent plan in place for treatment and
blasting this cancer to smithereens.
warning here: this rest of this email might best be filed under TMI.
If in the next three weeks we happen to meet, say goodbye to
After consultations with the big brains at MGH yesterday, I have opted for an
“Angelia Jolie.” Sadly, my family history is so riddled with CA and having had
it once puts me at even more risk for another installment. I say- Give me some peace of mind!--which is
what removing the breasts will do. I do not need this extensive surgery because
this is an aggressive cancer, it is not; I am choosing this because I can.
I will most likely use chemo—and unless the tissue taken
shows something unexpectedly bad, I can forego radiation. Amazing how a bit kernel of some good news wrapped
up inside a whole boatload of bad news lifts the spirit!
I am going to have immediate reconstruction, which has come
a very long way, i.e. no chest expanders, underlying muscles left in good shape
and no added risk of anything related to cancer down the road.
Read: symmetrical, firm boobs that defy gravity!
They will be smaller, as Paul like to say, for an athletic build. May help the
ballroom dancing, no more “boobing” people, especially if I am leading. Jonah, our son who works for the Chicago Bulls & the WNBA Chicago Sky, upon hearing this, did not miss a beat, promised me a
WNBA Chicago Sky (i.e. state of the art, engineered) sports bra. Boy the
goodies going along with this diagnosis are plentiful!
Bottom line is, my self image & self esteem are, as you
know, top of the line,and not at
all wrapped up in my chest area.I
am lucky that way.
This dive will start 3 weeks from today or maybe sooner if
my charming personality and gift-bearing nature rubbed off on the scheduler at
MGH! As crazy as this sounds especially with my family history & even
profession, I love a hospital, I love meeting new people, love the opportunity
to find out about people’s lives and what makes them tick. So, all kinds of
chances to interface with people I would otherwise never have met.
I am feeling all your love & all your prayers. They matter and they work.
Keep it coming, And if you want a very specific prayer to put out to whatever
god or energy you’re working with du jour
it can be:
“Let Amy have all negative nodes & smooth sailing"
Paul & I are off to Boston today for our visit at Mass General Hospital. Before we
left I packed all kinds of gifts--a set of orgami boxes covering a strings of lights that I made, special
chocolates, my (soon to be) famous dried pears, thank you notes, for all the
people who have already helped us at Mass General. Paul says I look like I'm
heading to a holiday party.
I am finding a pinch of denial and a spot of humor
Sometimes Paul looks at me like I am really from
another planet. That said, I am pretty sure that's what he liked about me in
the first place. :)
Should have a
plan of action in the coming days. Love & light, Amy
Today I had breakfast with a robin. Winterberry
branches are in my flower boxes right outside the kitchen table and there sat a
fat robin, puffed up in the chest for warmth against the frosty morning,
leaning down and yanking these hard crimson balls, which by the way, I never
knew were edible, and seemingly swallowing wholesale. And this just feet away
from the premium bird seed, hanging in a feeder. Let's hear it for eating
"local & in-season! HA!! Even though I know robins have been staying around
these past winters, unlike years past, I find it heartening, a sign of spring
and good things to come. I swear it was winking at me through the window pane.
Information gathered yesterday with docs all
pretty good about receptor status, cell types etc. awaiting a few more test
results. Off to Boston Thursday for a 2nd opinion at MGH through dear friends
there who were able to get me in to the head of BR oncology- and will likely
leave that visit with a game plan, which will be very good. LET'S get this
party started! Love & light, Amy
The outpouring if love and
support is truly lifting me in so many ways. I had about two minutes where I
thought, mmm, mb I won't tell a soul, just get through it, but of course this
is much better in every way conceivable.
The day has just made its
ascent over mt. pollux and is pouring into my kitchen like a big bowl of
sunshine. As I sit with doctors and surgeons and the rest of the helper squad
today & in the coming times, I will carry your love & this sunshine
with me. Love & light, Amy
On New Year’s Day, I found a lump in my
breast, hard and large and not right. I have a strong family history in this
department. I had all the diagnostic work done in the past few days, had to
wait interminable amounts of time. Got the call today telling me that I
have breast cancer. Looks like some months of the whole rigamarole now. I am
upbeat and getting my ducks in a row, calling in all the troops for help &
support. Will get through it with God's help. Still smiling, though must say,
the wind a bit out of the sails. Love & light, AMY