2011–a roller coaster ride

So much happened this year.  A year ago, I was definitely not in a good place–I was facing surgery for breast cancer, with all the dread that comes with not knowing the extent of a life threatening disease.   We were also  in the middle of a move to New Hampshire, now complicated by the course of my treatment and the decisions I would have to make about not only what treatment I would undergo, but where.   I decided to have the surgery in Michigan, and the followup care at Norris Cotton Cancer Center.   I had complete confidence in my surgeon in Michigan, but cancer treatment has many moving parts, and I wasn’t at all impressed with the rest of the system there or the dismaying lack of coordination among the players.    On the other hand, the moment I walked into Norris Cotton, I knew I was in the right place.  So while the timing of our move was difficult, it was ultimately for the best.  And we love, love, love being in New Hampshire and the Northeast.  It is truly home, even though we miss friends and family back in Michigan.

Any life threatening illness forces you to change, internally as well as externally.  For me, always a very healthy person, cancer was a shock.  I felt fine–how could I be sick?  Yet, clearly, it had happened.  I decided to take it as a wake-up call to change my habits, and have switched to a heavily organic and non-processed food diet and become serious about regular exercise.   When I started to walk to and from my radiation appointments  2 miles away, I got the idea to do the Komen 60 mile walk, which I then trained for and completed.  (And thanks again to all of you who supported me in this).  And while I was working on that,  I also started to run, and completed several races in between as well as a half marathon in September.  I think that I felt a little like Forrest Gump, who ran to the end of the fencepost, and the end of the town, and then the end of the state, and then on a cross country journey that lasted three years.  One step does lead to another, once you get started on a healthy lifestyle.  My goal for 2012 is to run 1000 miles, which works out to about 20 miles a week.  I almost got there this year, so I know it’s doable if I stay focused.

There were other changes–  I started looking for a job in mid-summer as well, and landed one relatively quickly–while I wasn’t sure I wanted to work full time, I’m now really enjoying it.  And, we got a kitten–a companion for our older cat; their combined antics bring so much joy.  It is amazing how much pleasure we can take from pets.  

The end of the year, however, was also absorbed with illness, not mine this time but my  sister-in-law, who lives in New York City. My husband and I have made half a dozen trips there in the last two months.  She is now on the mend, but with a long recovery projected.  So the year has been bracketed with health issues.  I didn’t think that I took good health for granted before, but now, growing older, I realize that it is truly a gift, and I’m determined to do everything possible to take care of myself so the odds are on my side.  Exercise, good eating, avoiding stress, and appreciating and enjoying life’s little pleasures as well as the love of family and friends–these are my simple goals for 2012 and beyond.