Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Keeping Connected

Do you ever feel like you're living a movie? I do. And yesterday was the most hilarious illustration of it. I had a doctor's appointment in Ballard, so for the first time, I packed up my venom and secured it into the basket of my bike. I strapped on my too-tight helmet that I borrowed from my friend Meghan, and I started out on my ride. I had yet to ride on the street, so far I had only ridden at the park under Dan and Emma's watchful gaze. I wobbled on my squeaky bike, cool breeze on my face, passing block after block. There are probably a billion different ways to get down to Ballard from Green Lake, but being a newbie biker, I decided to punch the address into my Iphone so that she could just give me voice instructions as I peddled. I don't know if she sensed that I ate carrot cake the night before, but she picked the hardest hill, and since I was distracted sniffing all the sweet air reminding me that it's jamming season, I didn't have the opportunity to reroute, and before I knew it I was in serious trouble. Quads were burning, face flushed, a man even stepped out from his landscaping to ask playfully if I was going to make it. I hollered back over my shoulder, "I doubt it, this was a horrible idea!" I caught his big smile, and I pushed harder, lungs on fire. Luckily it was a quiet street so I could eventually wind back and forth like a sedated snake. At the top, from several blocks below I barely heard behind me, "Woo hoo! I knew you could do it!" I tossed a wave, and laughed. I couldn't help but absorb the charm of living life slow, the difference between driving everywhere and walking, or pedaling, and how connected it keeps us as humans.

That big hill was just the beginning of the trip, and as I was timid, afraid of cars, I found drivers stopping where there was no stop sign, just to let me cross over busy streets. Me on my rickety rusty buddy. It was amazing. I was having so much fun peddling all around Seattle, re-energized by the niceness of people. Other bikers probably sensed my newness, but I couldn't help but smile and laugh and soak up the experience. I checked out streets I'd never seen, saw plants I'd never known existed, read crazy Seattle homemade signs. (I love us, but we're weird up here.)

Isn't it fun how the littlest things can make you laugh for days? Even in the midst of a crazy life, even when dealing with heavy topics, life always has a way of balancing things out. It's beautiful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ethically Ending

How fortuitous is this article? Very fitting considering my most recent post. The article is good, but the video at the end is eye opening, and heart wrenching, and beautiful, and real. These are the things that we must ponder when dealing with cancer. It's a very dangerous topic because people tend to have polarized, strong opinions about ending your own life, even when you're terminally ill. I have a lot of emotions wrapped into the debate, but I'm not hard core on either side. My motto, though, in life tends to be, "Who am I to tell someone else what they should or shouldn't be able to do with their life, and their body."

She's young. She is newly married, and was trying for kids, then boom, life changed in an instant.

I respect her decision. I also don't think I would have the cojones to swallow those pills. But maybe I would. You never know how you would handle a situation, until you're in it.

One thing is for sure, October 30th is now burned into my mind, and my heart. I will be thinking of Brittany, her husband, and her mother for a long time to come, I can tell.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Life On My Terms

I had an epiphany last night. It was profound, and yet seems so simple, so clear. I feel like that's the story of my life. My mantra should be, "Look again, there's probably something obvious that will make you feel better."

To preface, I have to explain that I don't sleep well. Actually, I'm a horrible sleeper, one of the worst. Always have been, but of course now post diagnosis it's worse. If Kevin Hart was judging me, instead of Dancing With The Stars, he would give me a 2 out of 10 (and we all know how easy he scores). Most nights I start to fall asleep, and just as I'm on the cusp of slumber, my right hand goes numb, or tingles, or perhaps it's my right leg, and I snap out of bed afraid I'm about to have a seizure. Naturally, this is not conducive for sleeping. The other day, I shared how afraid I've been about my upcoming MRI. And how much I hate that. I hate being afraid. But what occurred to me last night is that my deep fear isn't the MRI, but what the MRI could set into motion, like another brain surgery, or radiation or chemo. But, while I analyzed those fears I thought to myself, I've already gone against doctor's wishes, and it has proved to be better for me, both mentally, physically, and even longevity wise. That I have been rogue for a few years with my treatments, and instead of being afraid of what doctors could tell me to do, I've done what I want, even though their words hovered, and have permeated my psyche instilling fear. But you know what? I'm the only one who can control the thoughts in my brain. I choose to allow fear in, therefore, I can also remove the triggers that instil the fear.

This cancer will be on my terms. I will no longer have that deep rooted fear because I will know that I will only do what I want. I will not be pressured out of fear. I will do standard treatments if that's what feels right. But if it doesn't then I won't. I'll cross that bridge when I get there. This is my life, my one shot. I don't want to regret a thing. And if that means I die young, then that's what it means. Truthfully, if I am going to die young, then it was probably going to happen anyway. But it will be my journey, and I will be true to myself.

Man it's a relief to realize the power I have. But, that power will be diminished if I stray from my heart. We all have our own paths to take, but we also have to blaze alone.

I mean, what is the purpose of this life? Could it be to remain true to yourself? Can that really be summarized in a one-liner? I don't think so. Life is vast, and minute, full of variables, and surprises, and gifts, and challenges. I don't have the answers, but I do know that when I finally fell into a deep sleep, lips upturned in a subtle smile, it was from the rolling thought of, Thank you for this life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.....

This morning, born out of the ashes of my new found strength, I made the most delicious smoothie in the history of Jess smoothies! I even made some smoothie friends.

Matcha Latte
1 tsp ceremonial matcha
warm/hot unsweetened almond milk (enough to fill the cup)

Fill the mug 1/4 full with the warm/hot milk, add the matcha, whisk vigorously. Once it looks nice and creamy, fill the rest of the mug with milk and do a final whisk or two.

Apple Cider Vinegar Aperitif 
1 tbsp ACV (with mother)
filtered room temp water

This one's pretty self explanatory.

Spicy Salty Sweet Green Smoothie
coconut water (add as you blend to the consistency you desire)
1/2 cucumber (with peel)
1/2 jalapeno
1/2 green apple
1/4 lime (skin and all)
1 large handful of spinach
2 leaves lacinato kale
2 inches of ginger (peeled)
2 tbsp fish oil

Blend it all together until it's creamy (it's the fish oil that gives the great consistency, but you can substitute flax seed oil, or coconut oil if you prefer, it may change the taste a little though). This batch fills two glasses.