I’ve done what I did not expect to do. Survive breast cancer. It surprised me, but probably nobody else.
I didn’t think I would make it even though survival, no matter how demanding, is expected of women. Thousands of women do it, not unlike going back to work after a child is born or raising kids alone when their dad remarries. No big deal. It is just another challenging thing women do every day.
My five-year anniversary — the prize I couldn’t imagine while I was beaten down by treatment — came in spite of my congenital pessimism. It came even though I was not always hopeful, often afraid and in spite of thinking I could die.
Black is black
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is all about regulations — many of them aimed at herding cats, like me, into wearing a proper uniform. To complicate compliance, rules change with a regularity that sets those slow to adapt or resisters, like me, almost constantly out of sync. I have not been on patrol for quite a long stint and during my hiatus I have ignored the details, as well as the broad uniform rule changes. I confirmed last last week the summer ODU (Operational Dress Uniform) required black athletic shoes which I didn’t have.
So here I go. Read more
We are near Santa Cruz as my watch ends and it is decided we will wait out rough seas churning north of Point Conception. I’m both relieved and disappointed when during the sparsely attended lunch the plan to anchor is announced. I wanted the excitement of a fast night sail, but was not quite sure I would be up for it. We will stay put, rest and wait for calmer water to develop probably near midnight, the end of my next watch. Most everyone is suffering from seasickness, or from side effects of medication to prevent it. Only I, the skipper, first mate, engineer and the cook seem to be none the worse for the unsettled ride. Men not on watch snore in their bunks. I make my way forward to my cubbyhole careful not to invade their berths while reaching for a handhold. Ed is laying in his bunk with his arms folded over his pasty white face.
“Are you okay?” I ask concerned by his waxy appearance.