reality check

January 19, 2017; Facebook post: “wish I could say I AM ready to publish my book. But it’s taking a bit more time… grrrr“so my breast cancer survivor-friend, Mary commented, “Hang in there girl. It will be done in time. If you hurry things can go wrong”… my reply “Was a rough day. Haven’t hurt in a long time but have Phantom pain today. 2 diaries I had misplaced must be edited. Thanks for faith n me, I need it”

Been having jolting stabs of pain under my armpit. DAMN it’s a shock! Those nerves are STILL healing, three years later… will it ever?

After my final implant surgery August 1st, I felt mentally drained — I’d been lax writing for a few weeks immersed in family and editing photos. So by late autumn I took a vacation with my husband to camp and hunt in the Ozarks; later returned home with two deer in the truck.

We camped at a horse ranch near Osceola, a peninsula chock full of deer, a couple being legendary gihugic, not to mention a brood of mountain lions. I missed a beautiful ivory racked 8 pt. taking a shot with Ed’s crossbow. Dunno if it was just ‘buck fever’ or the spindly damn branch got in the way…lame I know. Hubby hasn’t let me live it down either.

horsesPaul, the ranch owner is also a cancer survivor. Thanks to my sweetie hubby proudly relating I was a breast cancer survivor as well, it became a talkable subject even though I was taking time off from the book-writin’. Horses are his life as much as the outdoors and my dogs are to me. (I brought one dog with me camping.)

As Paul told me and my husband, “no matter how you try not to, cancer changes ya. Even being cured (if 70% is cured) it’s why I always got my pistol now — for just in case. And I got my rifle handy for the lions.” (with a smirky grin, he pats his pistol) in reference to three mountain lions he’s been up close ‘n personal with near the 20 acre camp. In Ozark wilderness ya gotta be prepared for big critters — they’re the top of the food chain, not us. So the pistol? Cancer insurance. He’d endured enough chemo. Not a good thought, but each survivor has endured and come to terms with their own belief and how to handle the ‘next’ time or their own calling. That’s not a fun thought but it is reality.

Everyone has a unique way of thinking about cancer, more about dying (its inevitability too soon) because of cancer. Folks don’t all react with religion or get smushy with family — some distance themselves off not wanting to cause a stir. Some join groups, not my deal. Mostly time away gave me deeper insight of what I have to offer peacefully in life. Yeah at times I cause a stir, but at 61, I don’ care, I can handle it, hm-m-m I don’ need breast cancer as an excuse either.

A big part of my life isn’t work or breast cancer recovery but getting outdoors. I cannot ignore Mamma Nature’s bounty or beauty:

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landed 2 catfish this chilly morn

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A major issue for me has been acceptance as a hunter in the weather. That element we can’t control. I discovered the gel of my implants get very uncomfortably semi- rigid when I’m outdoors on a super chilly day, even dressed warmly. Rather than be miserable, I brace against the cold by putting ‘HotHands®’ warmer packets in my shirt pockets. Ain’t I so smart? So reality is the stuff that’s not always so nicey-nice. The most stubborn reality to ingest in my brain is there is no such thing as ‘getting back to normal’. What the hell you say? Take it from this jenny’s mouth — no matter how small your procedure, no matter what the experts tell you, in the end you will not be the same as you were, just as Paul said. My normal will be forever as is, one normal breast, one fake; two implants and drugs to alter my hormones.

Be practical. ‘HotHands®’saved my boobs last fall! They actually enabled me to hunt at all than stay at home. I’ve lost enough hunting time to not at least try it …  I’m still building my stamina so I can hike up those lake shore rocky hills. I have felt like a damn  marathon runner! Inherited impatience has not benefited me to get back into my rugged lifestyle, yet stubborn perseverance has, do not give up. That’s a true hunter woman’s mantra. I had no Plan B.

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