Archive | February, 2015

Greetings from Niflheim!*

25 Feb

That about sums up my opinion on winter these days. We used to be buddies. Not so much anymore.

I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to a spring as much as I am looking forward to this one.

So in other news, I’m still alive and well and managing and all that fun stuff post-everything. And I’m still hearing from people who have either read the cancer blog or something stupid I said on twitter and who contacted me about it. I think that’s really great because the whole point of writing what I did, and you know, LIFE is to make connections with other people. To say: this looks like that. I feel like you. You’re like me.

Connections.

I’ve been writing a lot lately. Still working on Palimpsest, the scifi novel that might kill me first, and that’s going well. I almost want to say really well but I don’t want to jinx it so mums the word on P——–t.

Mums, I tell you.

I have also been working on poems which has been good cause the part of my brain that writes fiction and the part of my brain that writes poetry are not the same part. My poetry part has been snoring like a log for the last few months. It’s good to see it still works (after large quantities of tea, begging and bribery, that is).

Some people go to support groups or talk to psychologists. I write poems and share them with strangers on the internet. Po-tae-to, Po-tah-to. Connection is a powerful coping tool.

Here’s a few that were lucky enough to find a home in this world. I am eternally grateful to all the editors who took these poems and helped share them. (See above about that whole connections thing.)

After Diagnosis, Chemo and Dog-Eared are all here at The Blue Hour.

Exam Table Paper is here at The Commonline Journal

Ten Years Later, Allyson Stop It and And Yet are here at Dead Snakes.

It feels good to get these guys out there. Like I’m folding up the fear and anxiety into little origami sailboats and setting them adrift into the world. I feel better without them. Lighter. I was writing in my journal the other day about February feeling like the first “normal-ish” month I’ve had since diagnosis. Not like normal-normal, because I still don’t get through a day without thinking about it but normal enough, I guess. Cancer isn’t my first though out of bed and it isn’t my last at the end of the day. It usually shows up somewhere in the middle. And I’ve had more good days than bad (by a lot). More good days than sad days. More good days then I Hate The Universe Why Is This My Life What Did I Ever Do To You days. And I’m working hard on not kicking myself when I do throw little tiny pity parties. It happens. *Toots Party Horn*

And finally, I have a trip coming up.

It will involve lots of these:

germanbeer-banner2

That’s all I’m saying.**

But before I go I just wanted to mention Zoe Keating. I’ve mentioned Zoe on here before telling you how you should really go buy her album for six little dollars on her website. It’s worth about ten times that in my opinion. Last May, Zoe’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. Pretty much everywhere – brain, lungs, bones, liver. After a brave fight, he passed away at home on February 19th.

Zoe is a working artist that I have the utmost respect for. I’ve never met her. I just think she puts something beautiful into the world. And right now, she’s lost the most beautiful thing she had. As a stranger on the internet I can’t really do much except for share her music and encourage you, my friends, to listen.

This is Escape Artist. I would consider it a feat of incredible emotional strength if you could listen all the way through and not be moved. Also, that means you’re probably a robot. Good luck with that.

You can download her album here. $6.00 for beautiful art.

In the meantime, make something beautiful for yourself. And be nice to each other

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

*For those of you curious, Niflheim is a cold mythological place in Nordic stories. It’s also called New York City.

**No lectures allowed on alcohol and recurrence rates. Trust me I read all the literature. Life requires a little risk. It’s called LIVING.

I run, therefore I am

2 Feb

I started running.

Three times a week. Three miles. Thirty minutes.

It’s been about a month and while I’ve definitely hit a wall (figuratively though literally wouldn’t be a shock either) I’m still out there for a half hour in the freezing cold for three (long sometimes very long) miles.

I’ve managed to slip on the ice at least 4 times, possibly causing this nagging shoulder pain I’ve had. I’m tripped on the sidewalk at least twice. I’ve been sprayed with salt from a street salting truck and I’ve been honked at by at least one bus for taking too long to get up the hill by the bus stop.

But I’m still running.

Regular exercise and a healthy body weight will reduce my chance of a cancerĀ recurrence. So yes, this is doctor ordered but behind that it’s something that I used to do that I miss doing.

I used to run with my dad when I was a kid and into my teenage years. He taught me to push harder going uphill, to relax and lengthen your stride going down. He taught me how to pay attention to my breathing so I don’t get a stitch. We would go after I was done with school and he was home from work. We’d go on weekends. We didn’t talk much. We just ran together. Even when we got to the driveway, breathless, we would just exchange a look and he’d say “You okay?” and I would nod, leaning over to stretch and catch my breath. That was the bulk of the talking.

You okay?

Yes.

And it was more than enough. In fact, whether it was around the neighborhood or a 5K, running with my dad is one of my favorite memories of growing up.

That was when exercising was fun. It was something we did together.

Now? Well, it’s a lot harder as an adult. But I still follow his rules. Long strides down the hill. Watch your breath. No quitting going uphill.

But I never joined a gym because I was self-conscious. Even at my thinnest I never felt thin enough. Ever.

I think that sucks. And I know I’m not the only one.

So imagine my delight when I saw this video, made by SportEngland a UK government agency as part of its This Girl Can campaign. I think it hits the spot.

Now they just need to make one for all the guys out there that need a little boost, too.

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