Early summer of 2021, after a routine mammogram in the spring that ended up not that routine after all, I learned my skin cancer had somehow or other made its way further into my body. The dreaded words, “stage 4, metastatic to the lymph nodes” was now part of my vocabulary.
My new oncology doc had a nice long chat with me and outlined her recommended treatment option – monoclonal antibodies, specific to treat this diagnosis. I accepted her offer. There was only one other option — I could be dead in a year. A year later, I’m almost as good as new, better than new perhaps, and that sneaky cancer is on the run.
Let this be a reminder to women everywhere. If you’re due for a mammogram, please get it. If I hadn’t gone in for that routine mammogram during that particular covid spring, who knows where I’d be right now? If I hadn’t lived another year, I wouldn’t have made it to the incredibly wonderful times I’ve had the past 18 months. And planning more for the future.
After the initial shock of this new diagnosis wore off, I got into action like many people do. I’m no different in that regard. Nutrition, more exercise, hydration, blah, blah, blah. My doctor got into action. We made a plan and it’s worked out very well so far.
I’m extremely grateful for my own outcome and every day carry in my heart those patients around the world fighting and surviving the cancer fight.
One of the things I did on my own was to get serious about my meditation habits. I decided to do more of it. I sometimes couldn’t sleep, I felt alone, depressed, anxiety attacked me here and there, and after a bit of thinking, I decided I needed — I needed a new app! So I got CALM.
And I got calm.
Several months into my new lifestyle with CALM’s offerings, I was asked to participate in a 12-week study of CALM users. And I did. At the conclusion of the study, I was offered the choice of three different thank you gifts. I chose this one.
Yes, I know it looks like a water bottle. It’s not just a water bottle. This container, its walls beautifully made as clear as a long afternoon, is a lesson.
I used it once and it leaked. I almost threw it in the trash, I didn’t need the aggravation. At that exact moment of turning to the bin, a thought appeared in my wee brain which I probably wouldn’t have recognized a year earlier.
It really wasn’t the bottle’s fault. It was that I hadn’t properly sealed the top. Once I figured that out, no more leaks.
The thing is, the cap is really difficult to put on correctly. I have to take my time with it.
Every single time.
So, yes, I use the bottle when I’m out for a while. I still must pay attention to putting the cap on just right, each and every single on and off twist or the wrist.
And every time, every single time, I savor those few mindfulness moments.
P.S. My favorite CALM meditations: The Daily Trip with Jeff Warren and Harry Styles’ Dream with Me, a sleep story.