On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keeping it together

I'm enjoying the little plant table I created after the flooring was installed.  Symbols of growth and life and vitality have deep metaphoric meaning to me these days and I enjoy the minor tasks of watering and observing the needs of the greenery around me.

I enjoyed lunch out with two friends this afternoon and it was the right thing to do.  I came home feeling reconnected, energized and nourished in spite of pain that I can't quite stay on top of.  It got me out of bed, out of the house, out onto Route 12 through the vineyards - now being harvested - and into daylight and sunshine and fresh air.

Years ago, when I was suffering from a clinical depression, I developed a strategy to help myself that seems to be worth reusing now and again.  At that time, all I really wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and sleep away the day.  Instead, I set an arbitrary number of ten, and asked myself to complete ten tasks - and then I could sleep.  It was the usual things that keep one going - Shop for groceries. Done.  Take the car through the car wash.  Done.  Write a letter.  Done.  Pay the bills. Done.  Etc.  Once I had completed any ten tasks I knew I was in motion, that things weren't getting worse, that while I was sorting myself out I was still moving forward and maintaining life.  I called it my Reverse To-Do list, because it wasn't based on what needed to be done - too daunting to consider, but on what I actually accomplished.

Periodically, depression or no, I've pulled out that little tool and it has always served me well.  This is one of those times.  I'm not depressed.  Perhaps I'm a bit down at the mouth because of the pain, but overall I'm still hanging in there.  But it's a challenge some days and I need to remember how I kept myself going in times past and do more of the same now.  Lunch with friends.  Done.  Go to the library.  Done.  Vacuum.  Done.  Go to the post office.  Done.  Update my blog.  Done.  So see, the day is only half over and I've completed half of my ten things already.  It's working.  I'm awake.  I'm in motion and alive.


  1. good advice. I don't have pain or depression but I do have a lazy butt sometimes. I make myself do a list of things when I'm that way - it helps me to get more done than I would have otherwise.

  2. Hi Patty - I've missed you and hope all is well!


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