Ever since my breast cancer diagnosis, I’ve been a voracious reader of all thing breast cancer. Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book sits on my nightstand. I refer to it almost daily, as someone might a bible. I subscribe to medical journals, newsletters, personal blogs, etc. I read cancer cookbooks. I’ve added about 100-200 breast-cancer related people and organizations to my Twitter feed. It’s possible that at one point in December, I was reading up to four hours of breast cancer literature almost every day. I made myself knowledgeable, but I also made myself a little crazy and a lot worried.
So, I slowed it down for a while. I made myself watch television. Well, okay, not real television, but movies, basketball games, and awards shows. One night, I forced myself to watch the Rodney Dangerfield movie, “Back to School” right after “Zoolander.” Yes, really. I made myself read about other things besides breast cancer. I started doing the crossword puzzle every single day. I walked. I started yoga.
All these great distractions, and what do I do? I think about breast cancer. My cancer. How many cells are left? Will the radiation get them all? When will I feel fatigue? Am I feeling fatigue but don’t know it? Slowing it down wasn’t really working until the other day.
I realized that I needed to give myself a #DayOffFromCancer. A day in which I would give myself permission to not think about it. 24 hours where I could pretend to be just like I was before I got cancer. Almost like being cancer-free for a day. A break. A respite.
Not one to put things off like I used to (Life is short!), I made today my #DayOffFromCancer. After my radiation treatment this morning, I was magically transformed into just “Sally.” Sally, not a breast cancer victim, but Sally, a woman who hopped into her car and headed to the Redwoods for a hike.
I spent much of the day lost on back roads in San Mateo County. I had missed the turnoff to the trailhead and ended up at the beach. Google Maps clearly wasn’t working. But, I was determined to get to this particular redwood grove. It had been described to me as “Muir Woods without the tourists.” That, I needed to see.
I don’t know how long I was in the car, but I did finally find the Heritage Grove Trail. It was exactly where it was supposed to be. I parked at the elusive trailhead and bounded out of my car like a puppy with a cane. It was muddy, it was wet. The trail had turned into a little stream in some places. The air was clear. The forest was deep and green. I smelled the bay, and the sea in the distance. This was my #DayOffFromCancer, and it was good.