Off with the Training Wheels!

The Family Daire on a walk Christmas Day.
The Family Daire on a walk Christmas Day.

This week it is time to get clear about my hopes for the New Year, and do my best to put the old year to rest.  On December 30th I woke up smiling- because it was 6:30 not 4:45 a.m. and for the first time in over a year there was no reason to drive to Portland for a Herceptin infusion. Yeah! My new status as a denizen of the post treatment reality really hit home.

During The last few months of treatment the blucky fatigue etc. persisted between infusions, until truly good days were very few. Now there are no more pharmaceutically sponsored cell die offs to look forward to. Last Tuesday marked a real new beginning for me. Yeah! Happy New Year!

There is excitement in the forefront of my mind.  The list of what I look forward to is vast. I am embarking on a full scale campaign to improve my life, and the lives of my kin and community.

In 2015 I am implementing a variety of habits to support health and happiness.  I will be traveling through a new landscape, proactively practicing radical self care, and radical care of my family. The goal? To heal and to truly Thrive.

Once cancering starts, being healthy alone does not stop the cancering process, though it can make treatments easier to withstand. Implementing healthy habits may not guarantee  freedom from reoccurrence, but it does improve the odds. Most importantly taking any action to improve health and happiness, actually does result in an increase in health and happiness. Whether your efforts result in a a modest improvement or a gargantuan exponential improvement it is worth the effort.

There are, of course, tinges of fear, it is akin to taking off my post-Cancering training wheels.  I can’t help but wonder, “Will I crash into a reoccurrence now that I have stopped the Herceptin?”  I am choosing to live as fully as possible within the assumption that I will die of something, And I don’t know what it might be.  Just like when a child takes off the training wheels and flies down the sidewalk, still a bit wobbly, and with new grace,  I am considering that with the end of the major western medical treatments I am free to pursue a new direction with gusto.

It is my heartfelt hope that by writing about my happiness project, you, my dearly loved kith and kin, might be inspired towards greater health and wellbeing too. There are no prerequisites to happiness, and health can always be enhanced. Because Thriving is not the opposite of cancer, thriving is a universe big enough to include cancering.  Or any other challenge that may be in your world. We don’t have to wait until conditions are “right” the conditions are right, right now.

The Walking Buddha represents grace and internal beauty.
The Walking Buddha represents grace and internal beauty.

The Buddha taught that there is suffering.  This is true, there is suffering. It is unavoidable, things will happen to each of us.  The question is, what story will we tell ourselves about what happens? How will we grow as a result of our sufferings? Our story continues and shifts and changes as we live our life.  We do not need to be limited by what has happened.  Even if we experience suffering we can also experience joy.

Being effected by something is different than being defined by something.  I am marked by my adventure with breast cancering and my western treatments. I have been cracked open and rearranged within.  Even now I am still reorganizing my brain, healing from the neurotoxins of my treatments. I choose not to define myself as a “cancer survivor” however.  I am still metamorphosing into myself.  I define myself as an infinite being, with a body, learning and playing with others.

The view from up on Coxcomb Hill.
The view from up on Coxcomb Hill.

So if you, fellow traveler,  would like to embark on the next phase,  if you would like to join me on the wild transformative ride to Thrive, Welcome! I invite you to ask these questions with me as we look at this big beautiful blank canvas that is 2015

  • How do I define myself?
  • Is any past suffering still present?
  • How is that suffering holding me back?
  • Is there anything I need to let go of, or reframe?
  • What am I grateful for right now?
  • What will my world look like if I can be grateful even for the things that result in suffering?
  • How can I be of service to others?
  • What can I do or think in order to thrive?

These are big questions.  We have a whole year to explore them. I am imagining 2015 as a marvelous landscape that I get to ride into, on my beautiful blue bike with red handlebar grips. I have a basket full of everything I need and I am cackling with glee as I swoop down the hill. Wahoo!  What does your bike look like?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathy says:

    Iris, you inspire me now as you have for years. I too am thinking about thriving in this new year. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. EileenW says:

    Happy New Year! Glad you are done with the Herceptin. Know you are a morning person but being up and having to be somewhere is difficult. As for a bike, I don’t own one. Never really learned how to ride.

  3. EileenW says:

    Taking action to improve health and happiness improves health and happiness. I like that!

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