This past weekend I went to New York to spend time with my mom and sister, and watch the U.S. Open. It’s our annual Labor Day weekend tradition. We’ve been doing it for about 7 years. Last year at this time I was in the middle of chemo, so clearly I wasn’t gonna make it to New York.
On the train ride up to New York I got a bit teary thinking about how happy I was to be able to resume this tradition. This weekend with my mom and sister was the first time the three of us have been together since my mastectomy surgery last year. On the train ride I started to think about all the times my mom and sister came to visit me last year, to help me through surgeries and chemo treatments. The tears came again when I thought about how grateful I was to be getting together for something fun and happy.
I also started thinking about how great it was to be doing the activities I used to do before my breast cancer diagnosis. As I made my way up to New York, it almost felt like I was living my old life. It felt like a normal weekend. There’s so much talk in cancer circles about ‘the new normal’ – how to navigate your life after diagnosis and completing treatment. Well, as my friend Katherine says, ‘I like the old normal just fine, thank you.’
There’s something special about New York that makes me feel alive. There are so many people – so many different kinds of people. The hustle bustle of the city is so vibrant. There’s really no other place quite like New York. I love it. My trip to New York couldn’t have come at a better time. It reminded me that life can feel normal at times.
It was hot and humid in New York. My chemo curls were really getting a work out. But I was just so happy to have hair, I didn’t really care how crazy it looked.
My mom, sister and I went to watch two nights of the U.S. Open. The nights were warm, with a gentle breeze that helped keep things comfortable to sit outside for hours. It kept my hot flashes to a minimum. That was greatly appreciated.
We got to see Roger Federer, one of my favorites. He played an almost flawless match, barely giving his opponent any chance of coming close to winning a set. I didn’t really care whether it was a great match, I was just happy to be there, literally happy to be alive to be watching tennis again with my mom and sister.
I also got to spend time with a couple of my oldest and dearest friends. Over the last year and a half I’ve been reminded that I’m lucky to have many good friends and family members that support me through life’s challenges. Any chance I get, I want to spent time with these people. It feeds my heart. For me, life is now about nurturing the deep connections with the important people.