Chemo girl is on vacation for 2 weeks. I was told on Friday that the symptoms that I’ve been experiencing are a sign that I need to take a break from from my weekly dose of toxic cancer kicking juice. I was upset at first, because I want this @*!#ing chemo situation to end sooner than later, but when my sweet oncologist suggested that I could possibly have permanent damage if I continued with another infusion, I agreed to a break. Instead of sitting for half a day in the infusion chair, I sat for only one hour of Herceptin treatment. Irene and I made our way off of icy Capitol Hill and enjoyed Indian food in the University District. Much better than chemo, and no nausea or heartburn over the weekend. Not too shabby, I say. And having a weekend of snow made my spirits soar. Nothing like a good romp in the snow to remind oneself that there is good reason to rejoice in the pure joy of being alive. (especially if that romp involves witnessing dogs and/or children experiencing the unabashed pleasure of snow play). And nothing like a blanket of snow to bring a new perspective on the outside world and to enforce a focus on the moment.

Another minor setback in my cancer treatment world is that I will have one more surgery to look forward to in 2008. My porta cath, which has been a trooper for 10 treatments of chemo,will be replaced on January 31st. I’ve been noticing a spot where my skin was darkening, and after weeks of no change, the area became darker and my skin actually split over the port. Apparently, this happens on occasion,  and the suggestion was to remove this port to avoid an infection that could go straight to my heart (yikes). Needless to say, I reserved the first available surgical appointment for removal of the old port and insertion of a new one. Perfect timing to rest between infusions.

I remember beginning treatment as the leaves were turning in the fall. Now, at the winter solstice, I am taking my first break. A time to regain strength, to go inward, and to reflect on what really matters. Looking out at where my garden sits, under a deep blanket of heavy snow, I am reminded of what it takes to make a blossom. Even the most beautiful flower must experience starkness…and this is my stark time. Though I don’t know that plants obsess over their lack of bloom. As much as I attempt to be present in my cancer experience, I am still shocked at my image in the mirror, and I envy women with cleavage, hair, and energy. I regret that I never acknowledged my own beauty before, and that it took a diagnosis of breast cancer to make me appreciate my body. And now I don’t remember what it feels like to bloom.