Is There Anybody Out There?

Where Have you been?
Hello Out There!

Hello! Hello! Hello! Happy Year of the Fire Monkey! And apparently at our house this is also the Year of the “White-odd-eyed-three-legged-deaf” cat!

Out of the Darkness
Mr. Baggins Emerging Out of the Darkness

And Happy Year of the “Scruffy-green-eyed-post-barncat-RatBag” Too!

The darkness is lifting around here. Spring is pushing up daffodils, pushing out pussy willow buds, and inspiring song sparrows to cut loose. I’m not sure what the snowy winter depths are like in the rest of the country, but here on the Oregon coast we are beginning to feel wet spring-ish-ness.

Writing blog posts has become a long lost habit, something that used to happen in the depths of the distant foggy chemo-brain past. People have contacted me to make sure I haven’t died or worse. Just so you know we are all alive and well here at Hotel Daire. The various measurements that the oncology world has to offer seem to indicate that I am continuing to move forward with no new tumors- or recurrence. My gut feeling is that I am fine- and that I need to continue to attend to my health and wellbeing. Writing is definitely a good tool for wellbeing, so look for more frequent missives.

The boys are well and enjoying their various projects. Sam is loving taking classes up at Clatsop Community College. This term that means Pre-Calculus. The plan is to get his GED in spring and pursue an associates degree starting full time at Clatsop next fall, eventually transferring to a University. Which is a common path for homeschoolers, who have no transcripts or official records of their self education.

Martin is obsessed with all things fibers; and is weaving, spinning and knitting most days. He is also working very hard on his home-school lessons. The brain is an amazing thing to behold.

Joe is nearing the end of his two year term as General Manager at the Scorcher, and looking forward to the election that will turn that position over to the next Scorcher in just a few weeks. We hope to figure out some way for him to resume work on the Svensen House. Work that was put aside at my diagnosis two years ago now.

Returning to normal-ish life in 2015 illustrated how easily hard won habits can be abandoned and how easily I can return to the ruts of old behaviors. 2015 was a year of integrating the many lessons of cancer-ing and learning to be mindful even when out in the world. I am in the midst of a self-challenge to meditate daily for 40 days. I also gave up complaining for Lent. Reframe Reframe Reframe. Be Here Now.

Our two cats each experienced a serious medical crisis in 2015- both requiring surgery. They are currently well and good- but just to reiterate, there is no such thing as a “free” kitten.  They continue to teach us all lessons on how to live a good life. I can’t believe how much I love them.

Yin -Yang Sleep summer 2015
Yin Yang kitten Sleep: summer 2015

As 2016 begins to take hold I am realizing that I am ready to start writing again.  Not only about the cancer-ing journey, and post cancer-ing journey, but also about my efforts to awaken more and live a more conscious life.  My hope is that these missives from my small world will be beacons of benefit to all who encounter them.

Right now I am beginning work on two projects to serve those who are traveling into the depths of their own cancer-ing journey. The first one is an artist book of breast surgery choices. Every year roughly 40,000 american women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and will need to make some hard choices around breast surgery. Often with very little time to make those decisions.  I have begun interviewing women who have made all kinds of different choices. Talking to them about what and why they chose what they did and how it feels to be in their bodies several years after the fact.  There is no one good option. Just like the very individual natures of our breast dis-ease, the very best surgical choice varies by person.

The second project is a sort of resource/workbook for people negotiating a serious illness. While going through treatments there is so much to consider and keep track of.  I brought along a hand bound workbook I made to all of my appointments. I used it to keep track of questions, and side effects. It also held my calendar of office visits, and had pockets for information from the doctors. It was essential to me.  So I am turning my graphic design skills towards making a book that hopefully will help others to plan and dream of healing as well. I am excited about both projects.

My 2016 planner with journal in background
Chestnut backed chickadee is the cover-girl for February in my 2016 planner. Note the hurried lettering, which has inspired me to pursue calligraphy for the future.

My third commitment is to reformat this website to better organize the information of my story- and make it searchable. Hence the new look. It will likely take a while to work out the kinks. Please alert me if you find any weirdnesses.

I hope that all of you are as well as can be. That you are experiencing Joy and Light and Love as we move forward in 2016.

xo iris

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Eileen says:

    Hello! Enjoyed your blog. Miss you all. Beautiful photos of your cats. Still plenty of snow here. That didn’t stop Fergie from making me go for a walk. It was cold but did us both some good. love, Eileen

  2. Jane Rosenau (Nat's friend) says:

    I am so glad to hear that you are writing again. You have such a wonderful talent to share,

  3. So happy to see your update! I love reading your posts! We are looking into building in Svensen as well. Where is your house located?

  4. We found your house and Joe working in front of it! Beautiful! =)

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