Will I live five more years or fifty?

You know that feeling when you haven’t talked to someone in a long time, and each time you try . . . you think about how awful you’ve been that you haven’t talked to them in so long?

And so your fingers stick on the keyboard, and the phone remains untouched in your purse or pocket. You just don’t know what to say. How do you begin?

That’s how I feel now.

I left you all somewhere in the middle of December, after my last chemo, bald and floppy and utterly wiped out. And then … silence. Nine months of it. Holy cow. Where have I been? Where did my life go? Where has yours gone?

Here a brief catching up: I’m in remission from Stage 2 breast cancer. I had six months of chemo, two months of daily radiation, three months of lymphedema therapy, and three surgeries in just about one year. Add on heapings of the alternative therapies and healings (herbs, qi gong, acupuncture, Reiki, rebounding, juicing, shamanic journeying, and emotional cleansing) and you can see how busy I’ve been.

Being sick and getting well can really take up your life.

Right now, it’s a gorgeous Sunday morning. My orange and pink roses are firing off blooms in front of my window, my family are all still asleep, and I feel like I’m just waking up.

I mean, really waking up.

Waking back into life.

I’ve leaned a hella lot about cancer this year. And I’ve learned even more about the way we think, feel, and anticipate (or brace for) life. My own personal life goals jumped tracks and landed in all new territory.

“Go with the Flow” has a much richer, deeper meaning.

The concept of manifesting is much more nuanced and interesting.

One thing I learned is that cancer, or any illness that can come back, plays with your head. Is it gone or isn’t it? Am I safe or am I still in danger? Will my body cooperate, or is it going to kill me?

I jokingly refer to this dynamic, and the uncertainty that’s always bubbling below the surface, as the 5-year and 50-year plan. (My husband hates it when I talk about this, because it’s … you know … talking about death.)

Stressed? My favorite way to drop it.



Once a month, I take a flex week. This is a week where I may work, or I may not. But I don’t schedule any of my normal work.

Instead, it’s my week to daydream, see my friends, go on a mid-week overnight trip with my family, or just chill out for a few days.

Pretty nice, huh?

I worked hard to create this life. Moreover, I Flowdreamed consistently and took committed, inspired action toward it.

But as with everything, I have to allow myself some regular downtime in between all my work and manifesting. I need to clear the space and detox.

No more pretty



I’m standing in a juice bar stocking up on fresh juice for my 3-day cleanse. Not only am I wearing my baggy house clothes, but I’m bald. And I’m a woman. And I look pretty bad.

There are three other people in the tiny shop, all waiting on their juice orders. I suddenly realize that they are in the position I’ve been in so many times before: The “Oh gosh, that poor person. Look at them. They must have cancer. Or some horrible disease. No wait, don’t stare.”

I grin at them. They look awkwardly away.

I’m surprised at myself. For one thing, I’ve realized for the first time in my life that not worrying about being pretty is awesomely liberating. I realize I don’t give a rat’s ass how I look.

It’s a funny feeling having no way to hide. I could wear a wig, but I just don’t care enough. It’s hot, I’m tired, and chemo is kicking my butt.

Everything is fully exposed: forehead wrinkles, saggy neck, heck even the shape of my skull.

Here I’ve spent 30 years with my long blonde flowing hair and pretty makeup, fully invested in how I show myself to the world. Now I look 10 years older, bald, pale, and parched.

My ability to control how I look to others has largely been taken away from me. I can’t shape how people see me to the degree I used to.

The next day, I get a text from my mom about some new bald photos of me that have made it onto Facebook. She assures me I don’t look that bad in person and that I must really be getting a big test having to do with stripping away all my ego.

I whimper in response, “So you think I really look that bad?”

I hesitate. I could untag myself in Facebook. Or I could suck it up and get over myself. And that’s exactly what I decide to do. I leave the awful photos up.

By the way, this email is not about vanity, or feeling good about yourself. It’s about control and identity: Who we are and what we expect life to give us as a result of how we control how others see us. Identity is our deeper layer. Think vanity on the outside, and identity on the inside.

Vanity is fueled by lack-thinking.

Self-worth is fueled by feeling good about yourself.

And identity is fueled by many things, including your comfort with yourself at the deepest level, your ability to shift and flow with your changing identity, and by letting go of your need to control others’ perceptions of you.

I discover that I’m tired of trying to control everyone’s perceptions of me and my identity. I don’t need to look any certain way to do my work, so why did I ever think I had to?

I've never been a one-size-fits-all girl


A big tropical thunderstorm is rolling its way through the sky right now. The thunder was so loud, it woke the whole house at 6:30 this morning.

It feels like Hawaii here. Moist, wet, with the birds singing and big dark clouds pouring warm rain off and on onto my covered patio.

 It gets me in a thoughtful mood.

 Out of the hundreds of blog responses I’ve received in the last month, wishing me well, one has been clinging inside my head.

The sender, Karen, wrote:

 “I cannot wrap my mind around the ‘Why Summer??’ I have always known you to be a positive, happy, content woman. I thought cancer engulfed people who were worried and unhappy on the inside. This takes it to a whole different level for me.”

 Yeah, for me too, Karen. I admit to having harbored a bit of the same bias.

 People in personal growth often get caught up in the self-blame act. We look at everything and try to rationalize it.

“Cancer means lack of self-love.”

“Cancer is your wake-up call, because you were going down the wrong path.”

“Cancer means you’ve been stewing in negativity and a toxic environment.”

“Cancer means you weren’t paying enough attention to your body.”

Gosh, that sucks. Look at all I’m doing wrong!

Or wait a minute. Because, this is not at all how I’m experiencing this cancer.

Junior high, getting intimate, and Daddy Longlegs…yeah, it’s all here.




It’s 5 a.m. and I’m sitting here writing you. I’m up because the pain in my hips woke me. It’s pain from the chemo drugs.

Funny things happen this early in a suburban house. There’s a newborn daddy longlegs spider running across my keyboard (fresh hatch of the day?).

My cats lay on my desk looking at me, mystified. Why is the human up?

I try to text my friends, but no one texts back. (What’s wrong with them? Don’t they know I’m up?!)

And this morning’s crop of email is not especially interesting. I unsubscribe from much of it.

I flash back to 12 years ago, when I was also typically up by about 4:30 a.m. to work on writing my first book.

Back then I was hugely pregnant with my daughter. I was also tired and aching, and I had to be at my 9 to 5 job by 7 a.m. on-the-dot each morning.

Now here I am about to take that baby from 12 years ago, Lexi, to her first day of junior high three hours from now.

We stayed up in bed last night going through her classes, her schedule, which friends were in her classes, and importantly (but devastatingly), which “hot guys” were not.

And it got me thinking how life is a continuous craving of new experiences.