October always signals the beginning of change for me with life’s routines resuming after summer’s varied schedules and crisp autumn days. The gold tones of the leaves strewn everywhere create a path of royal splendor for me – even if I’m just walking to the mail box.
October is my birthday month. It’s permission to indulgence in pretty much every aspect of my life: food (my daughter made me the most delightful pumpkin spice cake this year), wine (had a lovely glass of Riesling with our celebratory dinner) and shopping with my daughter on my birthday was great fun (found several goodies in Carmel). I am also so very grateful for the fact that my early breast cancer detection made it possible for me to be around to enjoy all these indulgences.
Shortly after my 51st birthday, I went for my annual mammogram. Later, I received a form letter in the mail with a big red X next to the line that said: an abnormality has been found on your mammogram. Two weeks later, I had my first breast cancer surgery. Three and a half years later I had my second breast cancer surgery, after a “routine” mammogram and receiving another form letter. I’ve been cancer free for five years. Needless to say, every day is cause for gratitude and celebration.
As strange as it may seem, I’ve come to view my breast cancer diagnosis as a gift. It has brought me clarity and courage. The clarity to recognize what is really important in my life (like birthday cake with the family, observing the change of seasons, and friends calling to sing birthday wishes). The courage to step out of my comfort zone to pursue dreams I have long harbored in my journals and imagination. Simple shifts in attitude have created significant changes in how I’m creating and living my hand-crafted life.
My birthday wish for all those reading this message is that you start today to nurture yourself daily. Indulge in 15 minutes of quiet time to get to know what gives you joy. (If you answered chocolate – remember this time of year lots of treats come in bite-size so you can have your treat and not feel too guilty about it. If you answered 15-minutes to myself, I’m confident you can accomplish that too!)