Life by the Numbers

I’m pretty sure it was June 17, 2009 when the radiologist’s nurse put an off-putting hand on my back as she led me to the front desk to make an appointment with a breast cancer surgeon for a biopsy.  Today, I’m 10 years cancer free. :)  I’ve had 2 false positives since then.  They conjured up the same feelings as those 10 years ago with that hand on my back.  My annual MRI was 1 month ago – that’s the big kahuna, more all-seeing than the annual mammogram set 6 months apart from my MRI appointments. 

After each MRI and mammogram, I have an appointment with my breast cancer surgeon – so twice a year.  In May, I pointed out 1 correction with my new doctor.  I saw her 1 time before this, so she reviewed my history with me, again, on this 2nd visit.  My decade of details, transferred from an old system to the new system, must have been typed in manually, for they included another breast cancer tumor removal in August of 2018.  I assured her that the only tumors removed were 10 years ago.  A typo.  That “2018” should have been a “2009.”  A reminder to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to my health – or the history of my health.  Those 10 years have been condensed into a 10-line recap in the new system.  That was actually refreshing to see: 10 years out, my cancer can be summarized in 10 lines instead of 100s of pages. 

Will is 15 and has 2 more days left of school.  Liam is 13 and has 5 more days to go.  As for Bill, he turns 60 on Saturday! Bill’s favorite number has always been 8, same as mine, but I think his might be 9 or 18 now, depending on the number of holes he’s playing on the golf course.

We’re attempting to move our 1 guestroom from the big rec room in the basement to a smaller more private room in the basement.  That new room is currently the last stop for stuff before the loft in the barn.  I packed up 6 tubs of craft supplies to go up – that’s funny since I only do crafts 2 or 3 times a year with my neighbor’s little girls or perhaps 1 project at Christmas. 

As the boys moved into their teens, we have been clearing out their rooms a bit making them more like rooms for 10+x humans.  To make more room in their closets, I pulled their baby quilts and blankets out – 1 quilt each made by a Massachusetts friend, a Wisconsin friend, an Iowa friend, an Iowa aunt, and a high school friend; thin flannel receiving blankets that Mom made for them; and finally 2 small white blankets that Grandma Murphy crocheted for them.  For 3 months, they were on my bedroom closet shelves, then in a clear ugly “display” tub, and finally, stacked on the floor.  For 2 months they were in that room in the basement in a black garbage bag to keep them clean. Yesterday, I packed them in a clear tub and took them to the loft.  And cried.  In a future crafty moment, I will find an inventive glass-cased storage unit for them in that room in the basement so I can walk by them and smile at the memories – 100s of my kids and 100s of the hands that made them.

Will made a model of a Byzantine church for school that he wants to keep in his room.  There’s only 1 spot for it: the top of his wardrobe.  We need to box up the cluster of 25+ teddy bears that currently holds residence there.  It’s the 1 lone spot in his room that points to an earlier era.  I will cry.

So… 10 years out.  Many of you were with me on that long road 10 years ago.  We’ve come a long way!  With what I wrote that year, I’ve hoped that if I shared it, it would give 1 thing to at least 1 person on a similar unexpected journey – a smile.  It’s not in a hardcover form, but it is available here on my website, complete with photos of the bald Linda.  That era still feels like someone else’s life when I look through the writing and the photos.  Anyway, feel free to share the Staying Strong link with someone that might find it useful.  Someone who might need a smile.

Staying strong,