Indeed. In July 2015 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and I suddenly had to let go of a lot — my martial arts, my writing group, my gaming groups, my plan to lead a travel-study course to Italy in summer of ’16, my self-image as a strong and healthy person, and any last lingering illusions of immortality I might have harbored. I didn’t give up work, although I did drop the class overloads and reduce my office hours.
That’s not to say that my life became simple, of course. There’s nothing simple about dealing with a life-threatening disease. It’s involved surgery, multiple medications, physical therapy, chemotherapy, and — of course — constant insurance wrangling. But I’ll finish my six-session cycle of chemotherapy on Jan. 4 and begin seven weeks of daily radiation therapy in February. Then I’ll continue to get infusions of one of my meds every three weeks until September. I’m hoping to get my port out and finish everything but drug therapy before my birthday in November.
My 2016 New Year’s watchword, then, is “Recovery.” That said, I know that recovering will be a slow and uncertain process, and it certainly won’t happen quickly. Still, as the months pass, I hope to return to my normal primal diet, currently abandoned in favor of “eat anything that sounds good and doesn’t make me sick”; regain my lost strength and endurance, which will include discovering the limits of my new post-surgery normal; return to my regular teaching and department-chair work; and revive my temporarily suspended pastimes of writing and international travel.
So here’s to 2016 — may yours be full of health and well-being!