A few years ago I made the decision to remove certain toxins from my life on my path to becoming healthy. Mentally, physically, emotionally. After years of neglecting the person I should have been paying more attention to, myself, I found myself struck with the stark realization that there were changes I needed to make, and the sooner the better. I somehow found the courage and strength to make the changes I needed to and take the first steps towards that glowing light of hope at the end of the tunnel that represented where I was headed. Since then, I've never questioned whether the choices I made were right as once my eyes were wide open, I couldn't help but wonder what had caused me to be stagnant in blindness for so long.

And now I have the knowledge that I can, and have, run 13 miles (or more). And now I know that I can hike to 14,497 without being affected by altitude sickness. And now I know that I can face one of my greatest fears, of the cancer returning, and feel confident in the fact that I'm going to beat this again, rather than spending my time wondering when it will take me.

I know what it's like to love and be loved without pretense and conditions. I know what it's like to have a healthy relationship and feel safe and protected. I know what it's like to receive news like we got and be able to wrap our arms around one another and let our tears intermingle as we allow ourselves to feel afraid for just a moment, all the while knowing that the fear will give way to strength and hope. I know what friendship is and how it feels to let people into my life and allow myself to trust. I know that there is a higher power up there, whatever form it may take for different people with different belief systems, that would not give me more than I can handle. I know.

I was talking to Alyson who recently broke the news to some mutual friends, people that I don't really talk to anymore for various reasons. I suppose I've always been wary of people trying to get back into my life now that they've "heard the news" because most of the time it's really more for them, than for me. I've come to the realization that in those types of occurences, the best thing someone could do is say a prayer and let it go.

Yet, every now and then the vapor of toxins appear in the distance which only re-confirm my confidence in where I am today. Today, I get to choose. I may not get to choose who hears what information, and I may not get to choose what they turn it into. I suppose this is part of the entry from the other day about living. People who have no idea will come to their own conclusions, and truly, who gives a shit. They want to write me off and give me a limited prognosis, go ahead. Just don't bother me with it. I get to choose who is allowed into my life and how much air-time I give to the rest of it, and I choose to let it end here.

At first when sensing toxins in the environment, I was thinking, I’d much rather live in my happy bubble than have to be dealing with this. Until I realized... holy crap. That the ‘happy bubble’ is actually my LIFE, rather than something I’m finding as a refuge in my mind. My bubble of my safe haven with the husband I wake up with every single day and friends and family and love and support and laughter and life and outdoors and the Booville Sluggers and minimal stress. Kinda cool, I think.

Because I know that even though there may be a handful of (dumb) hairs in the sink in the morning, that I still have a full head of hair. I also know that it may not be that way forever. So what. Can you believe that? Vain hair-head me, is saying SO freakin' what??? So I'm bald for a while. So I paint my head with Bengals stripes on any given Sunday. So the only person I truly care about how I appear to will still find me beautiful. So the chemo is working and it's a sign of life. So the hair grows back and I get to wrestle with it again.

Because I know how I feel on a daily basis and that I can still run, hike, walk, and go to the gym as before. Doesn't quite jive with prognosis negative now does it?

Because I know that I laugh more than I cry, exponentially.

Because Barb sent me a porcelain Wings of Hope butterfly ornament for no reason, with a picture <-- that said on the back , "Keep Thriving."

Because of the "believe" necklace hanging around my neck and because of the dozens of people who love me and who believe.

Because of the people who know my strength rather than selling me short and don't have a doubt in the world that this is merely an interruption.

Because if there is such a thing as a soulmate, I believe I've found one.
Most of all, because you just can't fake smiles like this.


    Shit, you totally ruined my makeup... Damn you have turned into one FINE woman... and one wonderful friend.... "Toxin" free even when toxins get pumped into you every day- hmmmm what should we serve with irony??

    I love you to pieces and pieces.

    ha ha! you didn't make me cry this time, so there!

    (my believe necklace is home today, i let it take breaks so that it can be strong enough to help fight the evil natured robots)

    as always.. you inspire me beyond words! And yes.. you can't fake THOSE Smiles!!!

    And toxins... they seep into our lives from time to time, but doesn't it feel good to be able to close the window and block them out??

    I love you..

    I'd just like to add to the other comments here and say I'm crying, too. But, tears of joy for you, my friend. You are amazing and inspiring, and you're right - you can't fake smiles like that. Here's to seeing past the toxins and going full speed ahead! ((hugs))

    On August 28, 2007 at 7:02 PM Nighty said...

    You know what Quiet Thunder?

    You AMAZE me.

    WOW! Have you come a long way, baby or WHAT?????

    And screw all those "toxins" in life and continue to focus on the positive.

    Hey Vivo, why am I crying????

    I am so glad you sent me the link and damn you for making me cry!

    btw, I love your license plate.

    Amazing amazing amazing. Thanks for writing this. You really are inspiring and that last picture of you guys is so gorgeous.

    Once my brother gets his land cleared of a bazillion trees, he is setting up his brew shed. I told him he had to make one for you, so you definitely will have to come to Oregon as the official taster.