it doesn’t matter who you are..

June 4, 2011

a very good post by the famous dr. oz.  i don’t particularly follow him in any fashion but happened upon this article he wrote in ‘time’ about being diagnosed with a precancerous polyp.  i encourage you to read it.  he speaks from an interesting position: meshing professional knowledge with personal issues. 

Our lives get complicated fast, and we are very uncomfortable being uncomfortable. We detest the passage into the unknown — that feeling of being out of control, victimized. Numbers like 75% or 6% or 50-50 are abstract and conceptual. The sickly, swoony feeling you get when your doctor says, “Come see me in my office,” is something we can all imagine today. And so we avoid the test to avoid that experience — and that was precisely the choice I had made.

Read more:,28804,2075133_2075127_2075098-1,00.html 

the discussion of who has access to healthcare aside, it’s a touching read. 


April 24, 2011

lately i’ve started reading again.  really.  with small incremental exceptions, it’s been years since i’ve put down one book and started the next and onward from there.  i used to be a voracious reader.  whenever i get really busy coupled with getting older and needing to focus on whatever is making me busy, i tend to push comprehensive reading away.  now bring into the picture that 5 1/2 years ago i was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and you will understand my that my tendencies became deep ingrained exercises in ignoring the big book read.  i couldn’t bring myself to concentrate when all i wanted to do was get through the hours and days.  i distracted myself with tv – the more forgetful the better – and games of bubblet on my itouch.  and those bubblet games took hold.  5 1/2 years later, you’ll find me on the subway or waiting in a doctor’s office or any waiting scenario and i’ll pull out my itouch and start tapping …i self-soothe – getting lost in the puzzles that are never the same way twice but always let me get through minutes…sometimes hours…of time where i cannot concentrate on anyone else’s stories.  lately, i’ve been trying to make myself read on the subway.  i promise myself that i will read one chapter before pulling out what my husband has nicknamed ‘the tapper’.  sometimes, i cannot concentrate and find myself reading the same lines over and over – but it’s all in the practice and i make myself move through it.  after-effects of chemo and tamoxifen combined with middle age and menopause do not make for easy concentration.  the bubbles on my tapper let my mind go mercifully blank and quiet.  i play a bit before i go to bed each night…letting my mind go still before knowing that i’m ready to fall asleep – otherwise i stay up late into the night with worst-case scenarios playing over and over in a loop.  now what i have to work on is reading each chapter and bringing it inside myself knowing that the tapper can be left aside.  it’s like teaching a little kid to stop sucking her thumb.  her thumb.  my tapper.

spring forward

April 10, 2011

a marker post.  just like i feel that the last few weeks have been marker weeks.  marking the days until there was true spring in the air.  brooklyn has slogged through so much winter and then cold early-spring that it felt that it would never ever come.  but now, daffodils are peaking out and our flowering cherry looks like it will finally burst … and with each pink and white burst my sad lumpy sodden spirits will rise to the promise of spring.  and i said i didn’t like pink.  pink for cancer…not so much.  pink for the promise of spring?   turns out, context is everything!


what NOT to say to a cancer survivor

February 28, 2011


i was at standing at an open house when a woman walked in – i had sold her an apartment in the same building.  she looked fabulous and i said so…her once grey hair was now a glossy brown and it took at least 15 years off of her appearance.  so just imagine my surprise to hear:

“did you have another bout of breast cancer since I saw you?”


“oh, I was wondering because your hair is so short now.”

i’ve replayed the scene over and over in my mind since sunday.  i know that my professional smile was frozen on my face – i knew that if i even expressed one iota of ‘other’ emotion i might throw up all over her shoes.  i think i just kept smiling and said something about ‘i just couldn’t keep trying to do the long hair thing anymore’ and then ‘you should help yourself to one of those chocolates on the table.’  but really, it threw me for quite a loop. 

over the past year especially, i’ve sort of come out of the closet about having had breast cancer.  i’ve never been secretive and i don’t just bring it up, but i find that i don’t hide it from others if it happens to be part of the conversation.  and the talking about it – acknowledging it and thinking publicly about it as something now in the past has helped me exorcise some of the emotional demons that plague me and taunt me whispering foreboding messages in my ear.  like so many survivors of illnesses, i take extra care now with my hair and my clothing and my manner in the world.  and i have to tell you i thought i was doing pretty good:  35 pounds lost; i liberated my tepid limp locks into a very short and sassy do; i exercise more; and i definitely smile more.  and so i found myself announcing loudly to a bunch of friends and colleagues at the office exactly what she said to me.  (not revealing who she was.)  more than a few gasps later (including one from someone who, newer to our office, didn’t realize i was a breast cancer survivor) i felt that i had, in fact, partially-exorcised her emotional one-two punch from the secret sad part of my psyche.  i can’t erase it.  but i surely can dismiss it.   and it turns out, i have one helluva professional smile!


a melting metaphore

February 5, 2011

snow dunes piled up high with tiny skinny walkways begrudgingly shovelled by homeowners made for a wet balancing act tonite.  thrilled to see some of the snow melt but the walk home was treacherous: a choice between deep pools of water or sliding over very wet very slick very icy edges …usually landing in the deep pools of water.   the spring real estate season has begun.  except it hasn’t completely…it’s hiding behind (or under?) the snow drifts …the immense snow drifts … the melting immense snow drifts … and i can feel a distant pulse.   it’s coming.  i think it’s coming like a really big storm and i’ll have been grateful for the snow dunes that made everyone take some time to breathe and wait.  but that storm is coming and the good part is it will be spring.  and if i don’t plunge into any of the big water pits or slip on my tush walking over the treacherous wet ice, i may well still be standing when spring finds it’s way into my life.  this year, i’m going to have a celebratory cocktail next to the first bit of green in my garden to celebrate the happy green that will be coming. 

so much for sleeping

January 26, 2011


i really shouldn’t be complaining.  with the unspoken acknowledgement of my lovely husband and partner, i eased up on working my proverbial ass off for a lot of this fall.  we were coming into the middle to near-end of our kitchen renovation (which, oh the irony, has not ended yet – just how DO you get the contractor to finish off the last bits and pieces?) and we were the very happy recipients of 4 major sets of visitors from late october through new years.  i was in heaven.  lists upon lists of menus and recipes and grocery needs and lots of time to think about how i wanted the kitchen to feel – i think one drawer’s contents was moved at least 4 times before it founds it’s purposeful home.  the existing work resolved itself (successfully, thank you) and i kept myself busy testing the new exhaust hood with copious amounts of roasted chicken, 7 1/2 hour slow cooked pork shoulder with salsa verde, at least 5 repeats of my wonderful kale salad with celery root and parmesan and even threw myself into a few weeks of baking (baking!  me?!) nutty berried versions of zucchini bread and zucchini-banana bread and even green-tomato bread.  it was all gobbled up and our little brooklyn house resounded with people in every conceivable corner and with lots of laughter and music. 

turns out, i was reminded gently that it would be a good idea to get back to work – school costs, college in 2 years and lots of bills require it.  eek. so slowly, i find my way back.  i was blessed to have a young couple show up in my email box referred by past-buyers and tho they have a small budget, they are so sweet and nice that it is the perfect re-entry to a new season of real estate.  and, like these things do, within days a few phone calls come in and i’m scheduled for a few property pitches and plotting how and when to get a great temporarily-off-the-market property back on the market in spite of the snow-that-never-ends. 

but now, i’m waking up every night – twice a night.  worrying, planning, trying to figure out how to remember the lists and the to-do’s and the how’s.  i shouldn’t complain.  but i’m starting to be sleep-deprived.  so i am.

wishing forward past the what if’s

January 5, 2011

popping in briefly to wish all a happy and healthy new decade ahead.  trying to get back into the routine of early (for me) risings with more purposeful doing and less puddling about.  i really feel that the last few months were this wonderful rolling party at our house …with friends and family coming together numerous times for tons and tons of food – all happily cooked in the renovated kitchen – no fights and no food disasters! success.

as always at this time of year, we have to make decisions regarding our health insurance.  each policy has gone up again (what else) and it’s a maddening labyrinth trying to work out the details about what if the worst happens …i don’t like revisiting what if but need to put my head together with my wonderful husband’s thoughts — and since he’s doing 90% of the work figuring it all out, i feel that i cannot indulge myself too much and need to step up to the responsibility plate.   i wish i were planning some fabulous trip.  maybe that’s the ‘what if’ i’ll focus on!

%d bloggers like this: