(Life) cha-cha-changes.

First, I was invited to participate in Cervivor’s Stirrup Stories: A Narrative Beyond the Speculum. Tamika Felder is the heart of Cervivor, a non-profit who’s mission is to educate, advocate and bring cervivor sisters together for support and love.

It can be difficult to open yourself up to the world, share intimate details of your life with complete strangers. Clearly, I’m okay with it because I write this blog. But it is still scary. People can be hurtful and unkind. But at the Stirrup Stories event in D.C., all fears subsided the moment I heard the first of thirteen other women share her story. That night, I was moved to tears and laughter, and love. Each story was a woman showing us that we are not alone – that taking control of our bodies is important. The world feels less scary and hope feels obtainable when you surround yourself with love and compassion. That night, I had the added benefit of my BFF sharing this moment with me. How wonderful was that?!

I am deeply grateful to Tamika and all the beautiful Cervivor sisters I had met. They are forever in my heart.13248496_640762232740773_1188351187142129509_o

Secondly, this month I learned a new phrase: “salvage chemotherapy“. Kinda clinical and harsh sounding I know.

My oncologist and I, who I have had a close relationship with for the past five years, decided we should ‘remove our rose-colored glasses’ (as I put it). Due to the progression of my tumors while on the Opdivo trial, treatment with that drug ended. I have started back on Taxol and Carboplatin — which we hope will shrink the tumors that may be causing intestinal blockage. There is no curative treatment at this time. The salvage chemo option *is* my option.

I have been living on and occasionally off my cancer for five years. And yes, I call it my battle. But the key word is ‘living’. I live my life my way; my ‘bucket list’ is simple: spend as much time as I can with my family/village and embrace the little things that make me smile.

I think my Great-Aunt Anna used the ‘more sunny days’ saying as a way to avoid telling her age, but it has become my daily mantra. I no longer count my years but only count my sunny days. In my case, a sunny day doesn’t have to be void of clouds or rain, just void of keeping me down forever.

“It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.”

“I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

5 thoughts on “(Life) cha-cha-changes.

  1. When I met you I thought you might be living with cancer! this how my wife use to put it as well…When I met you I thought how pretty you looked…You reminded me of my wife Beth! she was very Ill but always had a smile…Just as you!!!

    I would love to get to know you…and to have some meaningful talks if you were up for it!!

    Tony Slimick from Tonys 60th birthday party…

  2. Thank youCarol for reminding me to live in the moment with joy and peace. You are an inspiration to many. I’m forwarding your message to one of my friends. She too will appreciate your challenging and uplifting words! Continue on dear cancer avenger with trust and courage. Love and prayers for you and yours, Sr. Margaret Rose

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