A Mantra to Live By

Tulips Day 2

I had a wonderful weekend.

All week I did nothing but moan and groan about snow and then the moment Saturday arrived, I discarded my disdain and dove into it with unbridled enthusiasm.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned breaking one of my cross-country ski boots.  It was 30 years old and as I feared, irreplaceable.  It should come as no surprise that the bindings have changed over the past 3 decades.  Last weekend, I went to REI to buy my sister Colleen yoga blocks for her birthday.  One thing led to another and I found myself in the ski section trying on cross-country boots.  Sadly, it wasn’t the promise of high speed or stylish colors but added ankle support in the boot that lured me in.  I’m planning on keeping my new investment another 30 years and that seemed like the perfect feature my 80 year old self would like.    The words ” on sale” were floated in the air and the next thing I knew – CHA CHING.  I owned a new and improved pair of boots and skis.

New SkisThis was the weekend the skis made their maiden voyage.  The park in the early morning has a hushed silence about it.  Snow flakes swirled around me as yet another storm arrived.   Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh across the Great Lawn I went and at times I just couldn’t believe how beautiful the moment was.  My heart pounding from cardio, my head bursting with exuberance; I reveled in just being.   I spent two glorious hours skiing and only stopped because of a light ache in my arm.  Lymphedema, the bane of my post cancer existence and a haunting shadow I must always take care never to give full form.  Two hours is the longest amount of time I’ve skied so far this winter.  I felt a pride as though I was an Olympian.

The Great Lawn.  I circled round those trees.  As the storm pulled in, I could see very little in the distance.

The Great Lawn. I circled round those trees. As the storm pulled in, I could see very little in the distance.

Yoga keeps my lymph moving and further swelling at bay.  I also wear a glove and sleeve during moments like this to aid circulation.  After bringing my skis home, I headed for my Saturday yoga class on the Upper West Side.  The snow swirled outside as I practiced my warrior pose.

“Breathe in breathe out.  Pump your arms to your breath.”

It is a dull routine this constant care I must give my arm.  Yet, it is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.  This is a chronic condition in which there is no escape.  I do as I am told knowing with hidden excitement that I brought my camera gear to class.  I left class and headed back into the park only now the wooded area near the lake.  Squirrels scurried to greet me probably smelling the nuts in my pocket.  I disappointed the birds as I had nothing for them.

Central Park MagicI photographed the woods for two hours until I ran out of film.  Dusk had arrived and I foolishly forgot to bring a tripod.  When I had my mastectomy 3 years ago, I cried for weeks after not because I lost my breast but because I lost 24 lymph nodes in my arm.  I was told I should never lift any weighted item again.  Photography equipment is heavy.  I mourned the loss of my photography and cross country skiing was nothing I dared dream of doing again.  It wasn’t until I went to a massage therapist who quietly sat and watched me cry over my loss.  He said, “If something brings you that much happiness, find a way to do it.”  It was like a life preserver had been thrown and I caught it.  A new mantra in which to live by.


How was your weekend?

This entry was posted in Cancer, Essay, Lymphedema, mastectomy, Photography, Snow, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A Mantra to Live By

  1. LB says:

    There are so many things that I love about this post! The photos, the mantra, the attitude to keep moving forward, and the skiing!! I’m so happy that you just went for it and enjoyed your time so much! Love the pics and the joy of your day!

  2. Dean B says:

    You make me want to learn how to ski! 🙂

  3. K C Eames says:

    LB said it all for me. Great post.

  4. Terry says:

    you are such a beautiful writer…..

  5. Thanks for sharing the great advice from your massage therapist. I hope you won’t mind if I take his advice as well!

  6. elroyjones says:

    Saturdays are the best!

  7. John says:

    “…Find a way to do it …” I’m thinking that’s one of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever receive. And, seeing your photos on your blog tells me that you found a way …

    Maybe you’ll have to look into video next … there are all kinds of small video cameras that attach to a bike, or a helmet/hat … a video of you skiing through Central Park … set to Vivaldi’s Winter… 🙂

  8. maesprose says:

    Yes, it is excellent advice. You never know what the future has in store!

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