December 17 – Just another day
Today was a typical Saturday. At 6am my alarm goes off. I roll out of bed and make myself a cup of coffee. I look at the thermometer and notices that it is 14 degrees inside the house (brrr) and only 1 degree outside – cold enough to cover vegetation with a layer of frost. Shortly before 7am, we hop in the car so I can drop my husband off for his carpool into the city.
The colder day means that I can find parking at one of my favorite hiking spots – Rancho San Antonio. I am always amazed at how often I cannot get a parking spot at 7am. I climb out of the car and grab my hiking poles. I find myself wishing I had remembered to bring gloves. With the cold, I tuck my poles under my arm and pull down the sleeves of my jacket to cover my freezing cold fingers. I walk. I decide to explore a different route, turning right instead of left. The trail look more like a road than a path. I find it switching back and forth while each step brings me higher on the hillside. After 30 minutes, being unsure whether or not this path takes me back to the parking lot, I ask the first runner that passes me whether or not this trail loops back. He informs me that no, it does not. I am not where I thought I was. I’ve already walked more than 6 km so decide it is time to turn around. I will have to save climbing to the end of the road for another day. When I get back to the car I stop my activity tracker. I hiked 10km (about 6 miles) in 2.5 hours. At about this time last year, this was a typical Saturday morning hike.
After the hike, I make my way to the Sunnyvale Farmer’s market. The market doesn’t open until 9am, so the morning hike means that I can stop by the market on my way home. Walking through the market, collecting fruit and vegetables for the week, I enjoy sampling the many different fruits that are currently in season. This takes a bite off of my post hike hunger. I discovered that there are still some good organic persimmons. I had thought the season was over, so I am pleased and grab 10 or so. The total comes to $5, so I find myself wishing I had grabbed more. I also discover that several of the stalls still have tomatoes. It has been three years since moving to California and I still don’t understand the seasons here!
Once I’m stocked up with fresh produce, I head home for a quick shower and some lunch. Since it is the third Saturday of the month, I have a support group meeting at Bay Area Cancer Connections. I’m so thankful that this place exists. I think of how hesitant I was the first time I attended. My husband pretty much forced me to go. I was still having trouble even saying that I had breast cancer.
After group, I head home for a brief time and try to get some work done. An hour later my phone beeps with a text telling me that my husband will be ready for pickup in 30 minutes. I have just enough time to finish what I was doing before hopping in the car. When we get home, I throw together some dinner influenced by left overs from last night.
A pretty typical Saturday. What makes this particular Saturday different is that it is December 17. Last year on December 17 I felt sad. I was a little surprised by that feeling. This year, I don’t seem to have any special emotions. I am not sad, nor am I happy. I’m having a pretty typical, not particularly interesting day.
What’s so special about December 17? On December 17, 2014 I had a nipple sparing double-mastectomy with immediate DIEP flap reconstruction – a 10+ hour surgery. The double-mastectomy removed the last of the known breast cancer from my body. Because I did immediate reconstruction, it also represented the last big hurdle in my treatment and a transition from active treatment to active recovery. December 17 represents my cancer-free day. I’ve been cancer free (or at least free of any known cancer, one never really knows) for 2 years. Let’s hope that I have many more uneventful December 17ths in my future!