S L O W

Vacation.

Long overdue.

Very long overdue.

And it has me wondering:

Can I be slow?

So here’s the context. The kid is at wrestling camp in Tahoe. Camp is four days on, two days off and four days on.  Rather than run back and forth between SoCal and NorCal we’re spending the week up north. Enter Vacation Rental by Owner.

I really wanted to try something new for us: a slow, quiet, relaxing vacation. We found a fabulous property in Auburn, California.

And yet…I’m now craving Chinese. It’s 10:30. John smiles at me. I think it means I’m out of luck. OK, so 24/7 Chinese food isn’t universal. Nor is the Grilled Cheese Truck. Nor Jerry’s Deli. Must stop…I’m too hungry!

Can I be slow?

I woke up earlier than planned, managed a cup of coffee and read.

Then wrote.

Then read.

Eventually the house stirred.

We managed lunch.

Read some more.

Wrote some more.

By 2:00 it was time to take the dog for a walk.

Up the block is Bell’s Preschool. As we pass we watched kids readying to pick plums off a tree. They asked about Jefferson. One boy has a cockerpoo. Plums await.

Then we drove into town. Half a dozen antique shops, a week’s worth of breakfast joints and the very fun Wild Women in the Garden.

We stumble upon Carpe Vino, a perfect respite from the heat. With a menu that includes highlights from the Auburn Alehouse, we’re two for two. Cheese plate. Wine. Ale. Olive oil. Wine.

It was a perfect day.

The question is this: could I live this life? There is no doubt in my mind that it is a better way to live. The people around us savor life in a way we don’t have time for in “the city.” In a way I want to savor it. I envy them the slow pace, the leisure, the connection to the land around them….

Looking out at the vista, morning coffee in hand, I want this. I want the ease of this. I want to send my son off with a warning to return before dark. I want to know where our food comes from. I want to wake to the crowing roosters, singing birds and playing children.

And…

And I want access to the best and brightest of what cancer therapy can offer. I want yoga and tai chi and cutting-edge clinical trials.

It’s quite a choice. And since I’m not selling the house and making a beeline to the country, it is, perhaps, academic. Except it’s not. It doesn’t matter where I live, it matters how I live. As Abraham Lincoln said best, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years…”

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I’m Still a Mom

My 13-year-old son is away at summer camp in Wisconsin. 2000 miles away.

Six summers at camp has meant six summers of “I miss you” letters. However this summer they have taken on a different tone.

“This could be your last heathy summer and I want to be with you.”

Gulp. Double Gulp.

I’m not sure which is worse: knowing he is walking around with such a profound degree of worry and fear, or that I cannot, with integrity, assure him that he is wrong (although I’m quite certain he is wrong).

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When Mom Has Cancer

There is nothing easy about having cancer, from the time and energy devoted to treatment, to the near-limitless array of side effects, to life-long complications, and the ever-present wondering.

In truth, I have been remarkably lucky. Though the chemotherapy I underwent 10 years ago was wrought with many of the typical side effects, none have endured. Bilateral mastectomies and reconstruction were certainly not easy, especially in a post-chemo body, but that is long over and I’ve had no lasting complications, save the risk of lymphedema. I was spared radiation (saved for another day), and five years of tamoxifen was far easier on me than many other women I know. I certainly hoped that cancer was in my past, but that was not my fate. Treatment for metastatic disease has brought on the discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats, and I fear the day when they can’t access a vein in my arm and worry about future drug resistance. Each tumor marker and scan brings on anxiety over the possibility of further spread (but also the promise of NED). But all in all, I have no pain and my treatments do not limit my activities in any way. In fact, to look at me you would never guess I’m sick at all.

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