August was a month of great fortunes. The PET scan was once again all clear, with a minor exception of a possible blood clot in my neck. A neck ultrasound revealed that it was nothing, and so I go on living as a NED person -- no evidence of disease. The great fortune of being NED is sometimes overwhelming, but it's a burden I'll happily bear.
Additionally, I was invited to write a short essay for the magazine called Living Well. I'm presuming that it's for an October breast cancer awareness issue or something. They want to publish a small series of essays on the diversity of breast cancer: one written by a doctor, and two written by patients. They targeted one patient with early-stage disease and one patient with late-stage disease. Remarkably, I am the patient with late-stage disease they invited to write a piece.
At first I felt that it was a bit disingenuous for me to write the late-stage disease piece because I am not living with late-stage disease. I am living with a late-stage disease diagnosis, but not the typical manifestations of late-stage disease. It turns out that that is what they were looking for: someone who could put an atypical face on late-stage disease. The person certainly could be me.
So, I wrote. The first page of stuff was crap. I had trouble knowing where to start. Perhaps I'll turn it into a blog post, lol. Then it started to get better as I wrote the easy stuff about the timeline of my journey. Then I thought of a pretty sweet introduction, so I went back and rewrote the beginning. Then I rambled as I discussed the second cancer, and it was just feeling like a whole lot of cancer treatment (maybe because it was a whole lot of cancer treatment, lol) so I cut some details. Finally, I thought of a poignant ending and finished it up. I solicited feedback from two of my writer friends, edited the piece, and sent it off tonight. Woo hoo!
It was quite fun, really, and didn't take that much time once I let go of the pressure associated with writing a real-live article rather than a blog post.
Another cool thing I did this month was a tiny bit of activism. I was invited to sit on a panel discussion of safe routes to school in my town. I was invited because apparently I organized the first Walking School Bus in my town. This sort of cracked me up because I didn't even know I was doing it. I just wanted to walk my kids to school every day, and I figured that some neighbors might be interested, too. So two years ago I started lightly coordinating about 4 neighboring families, and we all walk to school together. Sometimes if a parent is sick or has an appointment, they just send their kids with the group, myself included. We used to text each other at 7:30 am or so ("walking today?" or "running late!"), but now there is no question and everyone just shows up at the designated corner at the designated time. We have anywhere from 1-4 adults with 2-12 kids, and we walk pretty much rain or shine. In 1986 this would simply be walking to school, and it would be normal. Today it's a Walking School Bus, and I'll go down in the history books as organizing our town's first. Lol.
I also went to Montreal for a work conference where I heard about some amazing microbial ecology. I hadn't attended this conference since 2010, and it was scrumptious. I have over 20 pages of typed notes (nerd salute!) and wish there had been two of me to catch the other great presentations I necessarily missed by being confined to one seminar at a time. Also, this conference has one of the best conference dinners of all, with a DJ to spin some crazy beats and get the mad scientists dancing. At 9pm the dance had yet to start, but my buddy A and I decided to change that. That's right, with our labmates we opened the dance floor and got that party started. A crowning achievement, to be sure.