My lovely, timid, garden finally produced her first cucumber! (I'm pretty sure it's my fault for under-watering.) There is nothing more delicious than snipping a warmed-by-the-sun cucumber, and taking a big ole bite. The flesh was soft, giving way to a watery crispness. Yum!
I have some pretty exciting news. Remember when I mentioned that this year, my 34th, would be a time of challenges? That I was redefining fear in my life? Well, on Sunday I am flying out to Moab, Utah for a week of rock climbing. It's through a program named First Descents. I applied expecting to hopefully make it into a program for next year, but just a few weeks ago I received an email about a cancellation so I quickly started jumping through hoops. The program I was trying to get into was surfing in Santa Barbara, and I was stoked, but after my physical and final documents made it to their medical team, it was decided that because of my history of seizures I'm not allowed in their water programs; I at least have to be seizure free for a year. (There goes the river kayaking, too!) But, as a very kind gesture, they sneaked me into a rock climbing program instead. I'm so nervous.
Oh ya, did I mention that all the attendees are cancer fighters and survivors?!? That's the part I'm most excited about. I've written about my isolation before, about how hard it can be when you're fighting tumors or cancer, that you can't relate on the same level with your friends, or even your family.
"First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same."
I can't wait to join my herd. (Does that make me a cow?) I can't wait to make friends. I can't wait to laugh! I can't wait to freak out from the heights. I can't wait to kick some rock ass. I can't wait to sweat. I can't wait for the challenge. I can't wait to earn my fear. I am so sick of shooting up out of bed from nightmares. I'm sick of nightsweats. I am sick of sensing tingles, and changes in my tumor cavity, always wondering, Is that the tumor? Am I feeling angiogenesis, a new blood vessel feeding Hermie, helping him grow? I'm sick of fearing brain tumors. I'm sick of fearing fear. It's not that I want to change how fear plays a role in my life, it's that I am changing how fear plays a role in my life. I am taking control now.
I feel guilty taking a week long vacation while Dan works. I feel guilty taking time off of my life, my research, my job helping my friends fight their cancers. There won't be an internet, or I've been told it's spotty, so I'll literally be gone. I feel guilty and lucky that I get to go on this free trip, and get this amazing experience. I feel like this will be a game changer. That it will be a catalyst, empowering me, humbling me, recharging me. In my life, at each turn, I just keep getting gift after gift. Who gets to live like this? This girl. And she's damn grateful.