July 19. Blog launch day. Has it been only FIVE months? Seems like yesterday, feels like forever. I never understand how that happens simultaneously, yet, it does.
This is still my baby and we all know how new parents share the age of their infants. Chemobrain is five months old. AnneMarie? In a different life. From Before Cancer, Entering Fog and now, Anew Direction. Five months. A cliche of a life at an age when realism crashed into idealism and I was the benefactor. Did I effect this change or was it a product of right place, right time? Perhaps both.
I know I am redundant, repetitious, resolute, relentless, resourceful and, at times, simply RE-diculous. Re RE REEE .... My baby niece, calls me "Re-Re" .... That started a because it's quite an accomplishment for a baby just learning to talk to say "Aunt AnneMarie" ... Re-Re.... now I'm alternately, Auntie Re or, when I exasperate her, a simple, drawn out (with a twist of eye rolling in the voice) "RE- E" A bit of foreshadowing of my personality traits? All of these words with the prefix "re" ....
In five months or less, I've learned SO much and I've come to know SO many new and brilliant people, I've also learned we are SO stagnant in making any significant strides in the treatment of breast cancer and we are at an absolute standstill in the land of cure and prevent.
How could I know that I was not unique until I became part of a much larger community? A worldwide community of women (and some men, too). Issues surrounding survivorship which is the prism from which I peer are as vast as the colors emanating from that prism. They are not insignificant. It appears many more of us are affected by one issue or another than most would realize.
The lack of attention paid to those living with metastatic disease continues to appall me. The sheer amount of very young women (really, they are JUST girls) who are breast cancer patients frightens me. Lousy treatment that some are receiving from improper care because their doctors are being chosen by HMO's and some of our surgeries require a certain skill set is a disgrace. Confused? I have a tendency to do that. I think because it's in my head, people can read my mind. My point? Being board certified in plastic surgery does not necessarily qualify a doctor to step up to the plate following a mastectomy to insert tissue expanders.
I've garnered enough information and managed to gain insight and knowledge to fill two lifetimes. In less than five months. I always realized the internet is a powerful tool to gather information. IF it's used responsibly. I understood for many years the power of support of people beyond the screen. I found a support group many years before cancer came knocking. Social media like Twitter, Facebook & the world of bloggers? Its power continues to boggle my mind.
Today, as I hit the five month mark, in the midst of the season of joy, I pause and realize my life is forever changed. Enriched? That's a good word but it doesn't quite capture the fullness. I hope everyone gets to experience this feeling at some point in their life. It's simply magical.
Happy Five Months to me. This is no longer about the blog. It's about Anew Direction. It's about peace and contentment. It's about being embraced by strangers who have become family. It's about random acts of kindness; that 2AM tweet from someone halfway around the world because I was having A Moment. It's about serious conversations to find ways to make a difference. It's about sitting in someone's home with people who are meeting for the first time and spending two hours together as if we were friends for years. It's about a serendipitous moment when someone "in the screen" realizes I am going to be moments from her home to staff a fund raiser and then, it's hours later and we are hugging and feeling that immediate bond. It's about joking around with a bunch of girls on twitter about nonsense so we can laugh for the sake of JUST laughing.
It's about you and how my life is so much better because of you. I'm feeling very holiday mushy these days. And, my gifts are not wrapped, indeed, I'm not even done shopping. The tree is still not up but that stuff is window dressing. I finally get it. The meaning of this holiday season. It's what's on the inside that really matters most. Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.... It's about time I'm embracing the joy of the season rather than the insanity of the shopping, decorating, baking, cooking.
To be perfectly honest, however, I'm feeling its also about time for this Zen alter ego who has taken over my body to take a hike and bring back the real AnneMarie.