Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. It was warm but not too humid so I thought “today is the day to venture out”. There is a beautiful Bay front close to where I live with miles and miles of paths for walking, biking and rollerblading. I forgot that it was the weekend, as everyday is kinda like a weekend for me, so I wasn’t expecting the throngs of people that filled the paths. Apparently everyone within a 100 mile radius thought it the perfect day to be there too. Yikes. At the beginning of the path there was a large wooden board that showed all the trails in and around the area and the length of each trail. I knew I wasn’t going to be walking from start to finish (this one was over 10 miles long) but I wanted to push myself to go as far as I could. I set out enjoying the sights and sounds of the water, the swans and their new cygnets (baby swans), families in boats fishing and laughing, seadooers racing through the bay and kayakers silently paddling along the shore careful not to disturb a group of Cormorants sunning themselves on a small island. This is what summer is all about. People out and about enjoying the weather and each other.
I walked along, feeling good, feeling strong, feeling confident. Joggers were passing me. Rollerbladers whizzed by. Cyclists rang their bells to indicate they were passing me too. It was getting warm, the sun was high in the sky and there was no shade to be had. I had donned a hat for protection, plus I was having a bad hair day, so I knew I was safe against sunstroke. I don’t know how far I had gone but I could feel my pace start to slow. In my mind, I had started out at a fair clip, keeping pace with the crowds. In reality, I was probably moving at a speed just a notch above a fast shuffle! I had gone as far as I could. I could feel sweat trickling down my back, and where there was once cleavage, my shirt had started to cling to me. Well, that was a good walk, right? Wrong. It was a good walk one way. I still had to turn around and walk all the way back. Shit. Ok, no problem. There’s no rush. I will just take my time. Apparently, “taking my time” was at a pace that was close to slow motion. Everyone was passing me. Not just people on wheels. Everyone. Families on a leisurely Sunday stroll. Teenagers too busy texting to even look up. Toddlers just learning to walk and Octogenarians with canes were flying by me like I was standing still. Based on my pace, that’s not far from the truth.
Recovery is a tricky thing. Some days are good, others not so much. You may have a timetable in your head that says “by this date I will be completely healed” but I’m afraid I have experienced first hand that our bodies work to their own schedule whether we agree to it or not. And as far as being completely healed….I don’t know if you ever really are. Yes, maybe the physical scars from surgery and treatments may fade with time but the experience, the stress and the trauma that cancer has inflicted upon my body and mind will never fully heal. That doesn’t mean that I will let it fester or control my life, it just means that like the scars across my chest, this experience will always be present, never forgotten and forever a little raw.
Yesterday for me was a big step. A slow step, but a big one. It was good to be out, to feel active and to enjoy a bit of summer before it passes me by like everyone on yesterday’s walk. One step at a time. Speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.