I will never forget the anxiety and fear I felt this night three years ago. It was the night before my first mastectomy. I said to my husband Chris, in the protection of his arms lovingly wrapped around me, crying on his chest, “I don’t want to do this.” I inhaled and sighed with all the resolve I could muster, “But you know I will.”
I cannot begin to tell you what I felt that night. I was scared, grabbing onto my breasts, holding on to them as tightly as I could, knowing the left one had to go. I wanted to run away and hide on a warm, beautiful island. When I closed my eyes, I could almost feel the warm, ocean air caressing my skin. Upon opening my eyes, that same air chilled me to my bones. I knew as far as I could run, the stalker, the beast would still be on my heels. I knew I would do whatever it took to get, and stay, cancer-free.
Three years later, HERE I AM!! That night, I had no idea what was to come or who I’d be today! Stronger, healthier, and better than ever before!! Nancy Version 2.0!! There is abundant sunshine on the other side of the mountain!
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C.
My husband has pointed out to me, what I’ll call, The Perils of Math. While most people would think that as I turn 49 today, I am beginning the last year of my 40s, ramping up upon my fifth decade. Almost ten years ago, on my 40th birthday, my dear, sweet husband realized that on that day, I was actually entering my fifth decade, not my fourth. Lovely, right? Just what someone wants to hear as she celebrates her 40th!
With that thought, I realize that today actually marks the completion of 49 years, and tomorrow will be the first day of my 50s. Darn math!
The other day at the gym, first thing in the morning, the elliptical machine started poking fun at me. It asked me my age…then my weight. I mean really! I may see these machines multiple times a week, but we are not even on a first name basis! Yet they still have the gall to ask such personal questions! And their memory is awful! They ask me BOTH questions EVERY TIME I’M THERE!
As I complete my 49th year (thank you for the math correction, Chris ), I am in wonder of it all! Time flies by. It is an illusion. In my mind’s eye, 49 is still way off in the distance, only to be seen with a telescope — not drug store readers!!
When Chris corrected my math nine years ago, I had no idea what my 40s would bring. No crystal ball to see what was written on the pages yet to be turned. I look I back at who I was then, the road I’ve walked and the mountain I’ve scaled, and look into the eyes of who I am now. I am filled with such great joy and gratitude. Nancy Version 2.0! I’m happier, healthier, stronger, and wiser than I’ve ever been!
Bring on the the 50s! Take THAT, you elliptical machines! I don’t care whose math is used, what year I’m in, how we slice it or dice it, I’m just thrilled to be here to celebrate my birthday and EVERY day that follows!
THE WAITING ROOM
Keep thoughts clear.
Choose my own loop.
Laser point focused,
as the sun
through a magnifying glass.
Abandon any thoughts
outside of my circle.
Fold them up,
and send the away,
as a paper airplane.
Do not let them
my Belief Bubble.
If the music
in my head skips,
move the needle.
Harness runaway thoughts.
I am safe.
I am clean.
The home I inhabit
has perfect feng shui.
was an escapee.*
THE CAR RIDE HOME
Ricocheting like lottery balls.
Each scrimmage depletes
more energy than
the most intense workout.
Struggling to decode
the enemy’s war plans.
My home is the battlefield.
A Purple Heart
slashed across my chest.
Striving to eavesdrop
on the frontline.
No ambushes tolerated.
Targeting for total annihilation.
Tears on the edge.
Contained all day.
Wheels to road.
Alone in my cocoon.
All is pure again.
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin
February 5-6, 2015
Poem # 392
So many people have made selective dietary choices these days — some are due to allergies, some are due to political beliefs, some are due to digestive issues, some are a choice for good health, and some are due to chronic conditions where food choices are critical. Whichever the reason, it is a challenge when you have restricted yourself in food choices, especially when you eat at someone else’s home and at restaurants.
When you eat out, you need to dine at places who will accommodate your needs. Most often, the wait staff do not know the ingredients in their meals. It requires them running back and forth to the kitchen or having the chef come to your table. Restaurants who prepare their meals in advance are far more difficult. It is easier for accommodation when they will make a dish with your specifications. We eat out a great deal, and there are only a handful of restaurants who will (or can) accommodate my needs.
When you go to somebody’s home, you don’t want to offend the hosts. At the same time, you need to remain true to your lifestyle choices. In so doing, it’s very helpful when you know what’s being served, so you can plan ahead. It is quite a challenge if you go some place and find that there is nothing for you to eat.
If you know that someone has a restricted diet and you have invited him/her to your home for a meal, he/she will be so appreciative if you let him/her know what you are serving in advance. Then, he/she will be able to plan ahead and supplement the meal if needed.
Please know, telling someone that you are “making a salad” does not give enough information. There variable items in a salad, as well as salad dressing, which may or may not be on his/her approved food list. Just because it is a “salad” does not mean it will meet that person’s restrictions. Not to mention, often times people need more then a salad for a meal.
With my dietary restrictions I do not expect anybody to accommodate my needs. All I ask is to know what’s being served in advance so I can plan ahead. When I eat at friends’ homes, usually I bring a dish or two to share so I can be assured I will have food to eat.
I am writing this to, hopefully, give a little awareness to those who do not have any dietary restrictions. We don’t enjoy being a “high maintenance diner.” It is a challenge, sometimes a real struggle, to stay true to one’s food choices.
No matter how strong my resolve is there are still times of question and waver. Sometimes it is a struggle being the salmon, swimming upstream. It is far easier to go with the flow of the water and swim with everyone else. The opposition is few, and there is strength in numbers. At the same time, I cannot take the path everyone else takes, just because it is easier.
While my resolve is impenetrable, every so often, the voices of the masses get louder. I start hearing the whispers during my quiet times. The static becomes boisterous. The buzzing in my ear is relentless. I begin to question the path upon which I’m walking. My arms fatigue swimming against the current. I grow weary.
STOP. BREATHE. REFOCUS. I must follow my heart and listen to my inner guidance, even if that means my strength in numbers is one.
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C.
Three years ago, at this time, on this day, I had no idea what was in store, what the day would hold. I had no idea that the events of the day to come would change my life forevermore. I had no idea. Now I know.
“I am certain your test results will come back positive for cancer.” I heard those words three years ago today, as I was getting prepped for a needle biopsy. Those twelve words are forever etched in my memory. They rocked my world and changed my life forevermore. The moment they hit the airwaves, my world came crashing in, suffocating my every breath. A cloak of darkness enveloped my very being.
As I look upon that moment three years later, it is like looking through a telescope backwards. So much has happened between Then and Now. The hourglass was stretched beyond its physical dimensions. The enormous milestone somehow looks smaller in the rear view mirror, yet that line drawn in the sand forever changed me. While getting diagnosed is the scariest thing you’ll ever go through, it is a gift. You’re given the opportunity to fight, triumph, and flourish! The words, which felt like daggers cutting through my very core, were actually angels flying in to save my life!
Telling your loved ones you’ve been diagnosed with cancer is heart wrenching.
Proclaiming to the world that you are a cancer SURVIVOR is empowering!
Here is a link to the poem I wrote about this point in my pilgrimage.
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed, C.H.C.