Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rebuilding in More Ways Than One

I was very busy before I got cancer: running here, rushing there, attempting to cram 26 hours into a 24 hour day.

And then, almost overnight, my life contracted. "Quit your job," my doctors advised me. At the same time, I scaled way back on my volunteer activities. For the next ten months, treatment and recovery filled a big chunk of my calendar. I lived a full life, but, like most patients, I looked forward to that magical time when I would "have my old life back."

A funny thing happened on the way to remission. I realized that I didn't want my life back - or at least not the same one. Like the body I'm rebuilding this year, I have the opportunity to rebuild my life - one filled with more "want tos" than "have tos."

I'm finally doing the things I talked about for years. That includes taking Terrie Silverman's Creative Rites class, in preparation for that eventual Big C, Little C one-woman show. I'm hard at work on two book proposals. I'm also pitching freelance article ideas to magazines and am back to working a few hours a week as a marketing and PR consultant.

I've signed up for the City of Hope's Speaker's Bureau, have agreed to help with the Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches fall benefit and will return to the board of the Pasadena YWCA.

I feel passionate about all of these projects, both work-related and volunteer-related. And I still have time to exercise daily, garden, spend time with friends and family and even take the occasional nap. I'm a lucky girl.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "It's going to take no time at all before that girl is back to the same old running here, rushing there, pre-cancer life." I hate to admit it, but you're probably right. I'll have to resist the urge to take on too much, too fast. And I'll need to keep the "quality control" switch on to make sure I'm not bringing any toxic projects or activities back into my life.

I want both my "life gain" and my weight gain to be slow and healthy (no quick packing on pounds from potato chip and french onion dip binges). And, most important, I want to be able to know when to stop.

3 comments:

Ann said...

It sounds like you have it all under control. I think you'll know when to say no. :)

Mrs. Duck said...

Your post cancer, scaled-back life is more action packed than almost any life I know of! You're one of those people I've always been in awe of, who can do a million things and still have energy left for more!

frankie said...

Hello Susan,
Back with a more quiet work schedule and time to read your blog again. Glad to know you are in remission and thinking ahead. Can't wait to see on the 1st.