This is What Happens When Cancer Takes Over Your Blog

Top searches that brought people to my blog this month:

– i’m 63 will i definitely lose my hair during chemotherapy?

– golytely not working kids

– i did my golytely prep but it feels like something is stuck

– chemo day 14

peach pit and seedling

Well, I have only myself to blame.

It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy. Very busy. So busy I pretty much stopped writing for six months.

Let’s just say, life is good. Very good.

Last year was an incredible year. I got married, was in the best shape of my life, had just come back from a vacation in Utah (one of my top three places on earth) with my son and his girlfriend, and had enough finished knitted items to toy seriously with the idea of starting my own little business.

And then at the end of May I went to the ER. And quickly discovered I had cancer. Ovarian cancer.

I won’t go into detail about that year. I wrote extensively about the experience here on Mind Margins. After surgery and chemo, I was declared cancer-free by December 2013.

It was an incredible experience. I am so lucky to have caught it early and to have survived. Two friends I made during that time, and the majority of women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year (all years, in fact), weren’t so lucky.

Looking back at this past year post-cancer, I suppose I went through a modified version of the stages of grief. During treatment I was nothing but positive. I never, ever thought I wouldn’t survive. Post-chemo, however, was another story. Looking back on what I had gone through, and survived, I initially felt scared. I thought a lot about dying. That turned to anger. Then sadness. Then just plain depression. It didn’t last long, but these past few months I needed a break from all things cancer.

And every time I sat down to write, my fingers wanted to write about having cancer. My brain didn’t.

So I did everything but write–which means I got a lot of knitting done. I started running again. I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking about what had happened and the things I learned from it. I put things in perspective and reorganized my life. My husband and I finally went on our honeymoon.

I grew my hair back.

And I knit. I knit a lot, sometimes for hours and hours. These past six months have been filled with family and love, appreciation for life, and learning to pick up where I left off. It sounds trite, but things that used to seem so important really aren’t anymore. When little things get to me now, it’s easier to see how unimportant they are. I don’t brood for days over them, like before.

I know how short life is, and how every moment is a choice. Either we embrace what we’re given and move forward, or we stay stagnant in resentments and feelings of injustice.

Relationships are important. Being kind is important. Never forgetting how short life can be is really important.

Though I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. I may not have commented on my friends’ blogs, but I have been keeping up.

I’m running again, and am up to 10 miles. I’m slower than I was before, but that’s okay. My oncologist says I’ve inspired her to run, and we’ve run two 5K’s together, both of them benefiting cancer. I even have my future daughter-in-law running with me. I’m also doing strength training and eating much healthier than before. Except for some residual chemo brain fog, I feel great. I’m not the same person I was before, and that’s a good thing.

I’ve learned a lot from cancer, but it’s time to release its hold on my blog. Here’s to more writing, more questions, and more thoughts on being human.

– Angela


    • Mind Margins

      It’s great to be back. I’ve missed my blog friends. Like I said, I’ve been reading about your training and races. So inspired by you gals!

  1. Thomas

    It’s so good to see you posting again. It’s even better considering the content. I’m so inspired by your strength and pleased to be a virtua-friend. Best to you and yours always.
    …and keep on posting! 🙂

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks so much, Thomas. I’ve been a negligent blog friend, but I have been reading your stuff, just not commenting. I always enjoy reading your well-written stories and posts.

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks, C! I’ll try to be a better blog friend from now on. For some reason I haven’t been getting your posts. Just signed up to get email alerts; maybe that will help.

      • Chatter Master

        Silly old WP. I have had many issues where I’ve suddenly found myself not getting any posts and I go to some of my blog reads and find them still there but me “not” following. I’m sure it’s a glitch they don’t like either. 😉 Some days I feel like all of the writers got up and left! 🙂

        Welcome back. And I am so happy to hear such good news from you.

  2. kymlucas

    What a great post! It’s weird to try to go back to “normal” after being in treatment for cancer. I think we all have/had to redefine normal. For me, like you, this means gratitude now holds a much bigger place in my life. However, unlike you, I actually wanted to take my “cancer lessons” and transform them into something more, eventually a book. I couldn’t do it right after my year of treatment. I didn’t feel like I had an ending to the story. Now, I understand that there is no ending, and so I can write about it again.

  3. aFrankAngle

    During your absence I wondered about your condition, so this post made me smile. OK .. .a little smile about the post, but a biggest smile was for the fact that you are doing well … so I say knitting is OK, especially because you focused on other important aspects of life. Cheers to your effort and attitude … and not matter how long until the next post, welcome back.

    • Mind Margins

      Thank you, Frank. I was in Ohio a few weeks ago for the Fulton County Fair and thought of you. I am going to try and be more diligent about writing, but without the pressure. How’s the new house?

      • aFrankAngle

        Fulton County? Wow … that should be everyone’s destination. 😉 … Family? … I know that is way up in NW Ohio because I went to college close to there (Bowling Green).

        The move was a very stressful experience …. and the post-move trauma continued much longer than I expected. But, in the end, we are settling in and love it! One of these days I will be doing a post about my town.

        Don’t pressure yourself to write … not only that, don’t pressure to write about cancer. Writing about something else may be helpful!

      • Mind Margins/Toasty Strings/Run Nature

        My husband is from Wauseon — and he also attended Bowling Green. His county fair was nothing compared to our mega State Fair of Texas, of course, but it was fun. As fate would have it, a heatwave hit the day we got there and it wasn’t the escape I was hoping for from the Texas temps.

      • aFrankAngle

        Now that you mentioned it, I recall you have an Ohio connection. Meanwhile, it’s been a long time since I’ve attended a county fair.

  4. fitfor365

    Hey Angela, I can’t tell you how good it is to see you writing again. You been through so much, your post brought tears to my eyes. Good luck 🙂

  5. Grace @ Cultural Life

    I’m so glad you’re okay, Angela. It was lovely to see this post pop up in my Reader just now. Welcome back to the blogosphere! 🙂

  6. westerner54

    Oh, it’s so good to hear from you again, Angela! “Relationships are important. Being kind is important. Never forgetting how short life can be is really important”: perfect! I especially appreciate that you’ve included being kind in this wonderful list – thanks.

    • Mind Margins/Toasty Strings/Run Nature

      I’m kind of on a mission lately to try and bring back kindness. So many people seems to be so incredibly stressed and just plain mean these days. Between climate change, ebola, freak storms, cancer, mega typhoons, a bad economy, and ISIS, it’s no wonder we’re all stressed. We’re all in this together!

  7. HC

    Thank you for coming back! Your presence was missed. Knitting never fails to ease my mind, let it wander or do whatever it needs to do. It’s even better for thinking than the shower, I always say, though non-knitters don’t believe me. Utah is one of those places I see pictures of and remember how incredibly huge and varied this country is. Congrats on building your endurance back! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on being human!

  8. Lyle Krahn

    I don’t know why but I remembered you yesterday and hoped that your absence was not a bad sign. Today is see your post in my Reader. Good to hear from you.

  9. therunningtherapist

    Welcome back. I think about you a lot and hope everything is going well. Sounds like you are doing great and really learning and appreciating what life is all about. Glad you are back to running too. So cool that you and your oncologist run together. What a great story. Again, welcome back, you have been missed.

  10. monica

    sooooooo happy I checked my blog today to see who had posted that I’d missed! I’ve missed you and wondered if you were okay. I see not only are you okay you are LIVING. I am so happy! 10K? wow. I am up to a mere six miles at a fairly good pace and I often think of you while running because it gives me inspiration. glad you are back!

    • Mind Margins/Toasty Strings/Run Nature

      Monica! So great to hear from you! A “mere” six miles? Way to go! I’m about a full minute slower per mile than I was before. Hopefully I can eventually shave some of that off again, but it’s not important. Your blog is still one of my very favorites. Thanks for keeping me laughing this past year!

  11. Run Colby Run

    ANGELA! I simply can’t express to you how happy I am that you are back. And I loved every word of this post. Especially the last two sentences. Cheers, My Friend! xoxo

  12. JoAnne Simson

    It’s SO great to see you back. I’ve been a bit worried. But I haven’t been keeping up on my blogs either. Or email. Or piles of papers and books to read. Maybe I’ll just go and do a blog post in your honor!
    All’s well that ends well. Just don’t push yourself too hard. Are you still selling knitted neck warmers? If so, I’ll buy one for the winter. Could you post the link to your knitting site again? Thanks!

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