I went skinny dipping. It’s great. It’s like when I first discovered not wearing a bra was far more comfortable than wearing a bra – and hence ditched my bras almost all together. (Resulting in my true form ‘flat as a pancake’ being rocked daily. The mastectomy certainly helps with this look.)

My parents have a pool, and for a long time I’ve though how lovely it would be to skip the uncomfortable bathing suit and just jump in – but never went for it. Well, as I was in one of those ‘f-k it’ moods lately, and since no one was home at my parents except Zsolt and I, and because the weather has been so crazy warm . . . I just went for a swim a la nude. It was beautiful.

You know that cold dread of getting out of the pool, as you towel off while the suit you are wearing clings and chills your skin? That sticky resistance as you try to pull it off, after having stepping into the air conditioned house where the cold air hits hard against the cloth of your damp suit? Well there’s none of that when you’re butt naked in the backyard, drying off with your towel.

And when you swim through the water, there’s really no resistance. It’s just slip and dip.

So from now on, whenever possible, I’m gonna swim a la natural. It’s just better this way.

This too, is one off my reminders that life isn’t all cancer. It’s hard, because my mind and body seem to be trying to convince me otherwise. I wake up in the morning thinking about scans and appointments and whether anything will every work. I think about slipping through the cracks of a system. I think about mortality and final days and fighting and sleeping. I think about my eyes and their warped sight  . . . and such. I wake up every morning and some nights stuck with these thoughts, and they sink deep into me, making everything heavy. And I have to pull myself out somehow – it’s not always so easy – pull myself out to be here in the moment, here today, living now.

Things like skinny dipping help with that. So does going to the river in Packenham (where Z and I were married seven years ago in the church there) this past weekend, and putting our feet into the flowing water – watching as schools of tiny fish swim up to investigate our toes. (eep!) That helps pull me out too.

Last night we watched our wedding video. The ceremony was lovely, and vows reminded me that not everything has gone wrong. Yes, life is threatened, yes we are frustrated, and yes, I deeply regret not having had children – but in listening to the vows, I remember  we made promises that have been kept and held as precious. We have and hold though good and bad, through sickness and health, through rick and poor – we have been an amazing married couple. And though I sometimes feel as though I’m failing, particularly as the cancer spreads, I must remember that we are in fact blessed.

Every day when we get to find our ‘in the moment’ joys, we really truly succeed. But also, when we hold each other and cry, and when the doctor gives bad news, we still shine through. He’s my husband and my life is a slice of satisfaction thanks to our relationship.

Anyhow, there’s a wandering post where I am sorting out my emotions. Depression vs skinny dipping, love vs expectation, good times and deep pits of sad.

Today we are outside in the backyard, and the pool is waiting. There are no scans this week, or tests, or results. And I will try my best to be Catherine the normal, with her husband Zsolt the loving – and later this day, will jump in that pool buck naked once again.



The good list

Here are some good things that have happened today.

One: I got out of bed. This sounds like a small event, but believe me – I was very, very tempted to stay between the sheets. It wasn’t about exhaustion, instead more about anxiety . . . so getting up was a big thing.

Two: Zsolt and I sent his permanent residence application off through DHL. Yay! After about two months carefully compiling evidence and documents and reference and everything, it’s finally on its way. Now comes the waiting game. Go Canada!

Three: I did the groceries – sort of. I did some groceries before booting it out of Waitrose due to some strange emotional freak out. Chemo drugs make me a little bit emotional. The fish counter lady handed me some wrapped salmon and I nearly broke down crying. My god, is pregnancy like this too?

Four: I rested. Man, I needed to rest. Plus, I drank several cups of nerve calming dark tea. Oh, thank goodness for strong tea.

Five: I went to work! Boosted up from relaxation and caffeine – I again got out of bed. Forget my mid-day freak outs and emotional overloads. Work was waiting, and I really wanted to be there. It was good to get out of the house and change my mind.

Six: I’m typing this post. Earlier today I thought about the things accomplished but couldn’t really be happy for them. Now, my mood is turning. Okay, sure, lately my mood is always turning – like a wave with its constant up and down, but at least it’s swelling toward an up right now.

So there is my list of things accomplished. It’s not always easy to celebrate, but at least there are times when my head clears. Today was a good day. They all are most often, even when my mood is low. The trick is in the list. Making the list; it helps.