Saturday, January 14, 2012


for my solo trip, i headed to alderbrook. if you have never been, you have to go. it is the perfect place to unwind. it is on the south end of hood canal and even though it only takes two hours to get there, it feels like you have officially left the craziness of the daily grind far behind. we first went to alderbrook the weekend right before i started my high dose treatments and went back again a couple of times over the last year to celebrate treatment milestones (the 3 and 6 month marks). we were going to go back there to celebrate the end of treatment but instead headed north to a different resort. that felt right at the time. i didn't feel like going back to the place we went right before treatment started was where i should go when it was over. i felt like i needed a new start. but for this trip, it felt like it was the right place for me to be. in some ways, i felt like i was going back to show that girl who was there a year ago and scared out of her mind that she made it. definitely shaken up, scarred inside and out, but still alive and kicking - and grateful for all of the good that came out of the bad. i felt like i owed it to her - and to myself now - to go back. it was hands down the right place for me to be. i knew in my heart it would be from the moment i decided to take this trip.

to start thursday out, i got a haircut (more on that in another update this week), ate some of my favorite frozen yogurt (picture below makes me drool just thinking about it), and hit some of my favorite card stores along the way. i got to listen to my music the entire way (no dora for the entire trip) which was so fun (kris - i blasted "walk on" by u2 in your honor).

i rolled into alderbrook later on thursday afternoon and just as i was heading around the last curve in the road i caught this pic of the olympics. one of the other things that i love about going to alderbrook is the drive along the canal. it is gorgeous every time.

i settled in and then went down to the restaurant for dinner. i don't remember the last time that i had dinner in a restaurant by myself. i cozied up with my mingle magazine that i hadn't got a chance to read entirely yet, got super inspired to throw some fun parties, and ate awesome food. turns out i don't need someone to split a creme brulee with me, i can eat a whole one by myself;) yum. that night i got 9 hours of interrupted sleep. i did not wake up once. i did not have one nightmare. that has not happened since before thanksgiving. i felt so rested on friday morning, i have really missed that feeling. a lot.

on friday morning i awoke to the canal being completely covered with fog. i had hoped to take some pics of the olympics as the view from alderbrook is pretty inspiring. nonetheless, i headed out into the fog and stayed outside for a couple of hours walking some trails and spending time out on the water. it felt so good to be outside. breathing fresh (cold) air. hearing only the stream moving by me. loved that. nerd (tnx nerd!) is letting me borrow her big girl camera to see how i like it before i make the move to buy one for myself. so fun to get to try it out.

on my way back out to the water, i walked through the main lodge and they still had their holiday decorations up. they must have had a gingerbread competition too. the big gingerbread house was pretty amazing. i saw the little dora one and decided that was a sign from malena that she too thought i was in the right place. i so wanted to take that wooden horse home with me. i figured that i might look suspicious trying to carry it out of the lobby so i probably should not try it. but boy was i tempted.


next i headed out to the water. the fog was still really low and i couldn't see across the canal, in fact, i couldn't see past the dock. the water was filled with ducks out for their morning laps, and it was so quiet that their conversations were the only words i heard. it was really peaceful. i enjoyed every second of it, and loved being able to take my time as i had nowhere to be but there and time was on my side.

next i headed back to the lodge and took a couple of pictures on my way, the grounds of the lodge are beautiful too.

then i took a couple of hours to work on something that was one of the main reasons i wanted the time. i found this kelly rae roberts journal a month or so ago and knew it was the perfect one for me to take on this trip.

during some of the darker times over the last year, i thought about who would miss me if i was gone and what they would remember about me. it was a good reminder for me to focus on what is really important. as i said in one of the blogs around the new year, i am going to spend more time in this year focusing on what is really important. it is not working my usual 60+ a week, which i know won't be the primary thing that people would remember about me. it would be that i remember their birthday, or the anniversary of the day that i saw them get married, the day they lost their parent, a card i sent to just say i love you, a message to say i believe in you, etc. it is just simply knowing that i loved them. as maya angelou has said "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." so i wrote down all of the things that i want to focus on and do, and it felt so good to see all of those thoughts make their way out of my head and on to the paper. can't wait to get started - or to keep making my way - on that list.
there was a skipping stone on my pillow and i knew as soon as i saw it on thursday what i would do with it on friday. after i got my thoughts out, i spent time thinking about some of the things that i wanted to move on from. some would be obvious to you from reading my thoughts on this blog, others are things only i will ever know. i made a mark on the skipping stone for each of those things that i wanted to let go of and headed back to the water. when i say let go of, it doesn't mean that i won't talk about them or think about them. but it does mean that i will have let go of their weight so that i don't feel them holding me down anymore.

as i headed back out onto the dock, the seagulls seemed to know i was coming and were quietly waiting. it felt so good to skip that rock out into the water, and to see it go underneath when just those last circles of ripples were the only thing left.

when i got back off of the water, i headed to the spa for a massage. when you approach the spa doors, you hear gentle music playing and it just lures you in. i am not sure if it was because i was so relaxed, or if because the massage therapist just rocked, or both - but it was hands down the best massage i have ever had. i didn't want to leave, but didn't want to get kicked out for making a scene so went on my way after it was done. awesome. awesome.

by the time that i left the spa, i could see all of the lights glistening from the main lodge and i knew what i would do next.

i grabbed my where women create magazine and my book and hunkered down in a chair by the main fireplace in the lobby. i got blissed out on all of the creative ideas in the magazine. i got itchy for time in my craft room. it also made me think about all of the big dreams i have - like opening an etsy shop to sell my cards. who knows, maybe this is the year. i then headed for dinner and read my book and enjoyed the killer food. as i was eating, a table next to me had a couple of people sitting at it and it was odd because i could tell from their conversation that they didn't know each other. what i soon realized was that they were there to surprise a mutual friend for her birthday, and surprise her they did. she was so surprised and excited, it was so great to see that absolute pure joy when her face lit up and you could tell that some of her favorite people showed up when she least expected it. so fun to see. and yes, i ate a creme brulee again all by myself. and it was just as good as the first one. i deserve to eat it all myself, right? i thought so too. glad we agree.

i didn't get a lot of rest the second night which was disappointing. but i did get a couple of hours (while it was still dark) without a nightmare so that was good. i will take it. i got up this morning and was ready to return home, i had done what i needed to on the trip.

i have thought a lot over the last year about what life has been trying to tell me with this diagnosis and i will never really know. but, some of the possible reasons that i feel pretty confident in are that i needed to work less, slow down, catch my breath, really appreciate (i did before but i do even more so now) every minute that i have with family and friends because the moments go so fast, and to be thankful for every day i get to have. it may also be that i was diagnosed so that the person who reached out to me with a new diagnosis this week doesn't have to feel alone (jennifer s - thank you for being that person for me, i will never forget that morning at starbucks and feeling like if you could do it i could do it - and we did it). maybe it is so that i would write this blog and give some insight into how cancer affects you when it hits out of nowhere at 35 when you feel like life is still just starting to get really good, and isn't supposed to be filled with thoughts of it all ending.

whatever the reason, i will take from it all that i can.

and....just as important, i will keep moving forward.


  1. an awesome entry. I am going to read it again later today. I am glad you were able to cast off all those things with the skipping stone. Welcome back to the new you.

  2. Beautiful. The stone throwing was really powerful. Sounds like an incredible journey! As always thank you for sharing!