We had a 60-degree day mid-December. The unexpected warmth was a reminder of how beautiful the spring sun will feel this year. Or was it a reminder of how far away spring is? Whichever, outside playing with the boys, I felt silly on this warm sunny day brushing away tears under my sunglasses.

I relate to Frog and Toad’s adventures much the way some people follow Peanuts, Dilbert, or Winnie the Pooh. There’s a speech by Frog to his best friend Toad from the story “Spring” that gives me hope but draws tears, no matter how many times I read it…

“What you see is the clear warm light of April. And it means we can begin a whole new year together, Toad. Think of it. We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on this front porch and count the stars.”

As fortunate as I feel, there are occasional days when I just want to recover stolen moments. Playing at the beach. Visiting family. Taking the boys to birthday parties and staying to chat with other parents. Accepting kisses on the lips. Scooping my sons up effortlessly from the ground into a hug. When visiting recently, my sister scooped up Will and Liam into big, beautiful hugs while picking them up from school. I felt the same wincing pain as I did on that warm late fall day.

I try to flip it, to spin it, knowing full well the number of blessings that have come on this journey and knowing there are future opportunities for all of these moments. But I would be remiss not to acknowledge and to grieve those nuances lost.

Years ago, in a smaller life quandary, I found that the best way to start solving a problem is to take immediate action, no matter how small that action is. Just by asking myself, “What’s the one thing I can do tomorrow to start fixing this?” – that puts the ball in action. One small step opens the mind to possibilities.

So, after this 60-degree day and needing to look past winter, I called the local radiation doctor to get a glimpse of the next phase. I have two chemo treatments left: today and on January 22nd. Then I get a month break. February is treatment free. March 1st I start daily radiation (five days a week) for six weeks. I decided to get my appointments booked right away while the schedule was wide open. I’ll drop the boys off at school at 8:30 a.m. then go for my 9 a.m. appointment. It takes about 10 minutes per appointment, so the rest of the day will be mine. I finish radiation April 9th. April 19th is the beginning of spring break week. I’ve made these plans knowing they may change. I will get a second opinion on radiation treatment as I did with chemo to make sure the local doctor and a MGH doctor agree on protocol for radiation.

Shortly after I set the radiation appointments, I dreamed that I had hair again. I could feel it on my ears in the dream.

Staying strong,


P.S. Aunt Kim, my Gurney’s catalog came on Friday. I decided rather than dream about spring planting I would take action. I’m starting with a small sun garden space outside our fence by the drive. I've been watching this tiny chunk of ground and even in the winter it gets a good dose of sun. I placed my order on Saturday, taking advantage of the “buy-$50-get $25 off.” I’m going to check around and find the phone number of someone who owns a horse. :)