Crash into Recovery…Like a Swan


Today was a wonderfully informative and Silver Lined day.

I had my first 3-month checkup with my Oncologist.  As you know, I was worried about it. Worried not that I had a recurrence (too early after a year of intense treatment, I figured), but worried because I’ve been absolutely, outrageously, inexplicably exhausted.

My Oncologist walked into the exam room with my file and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Your blood results are perfect.”  F-bomb Silver Lining!

The next thing he asked was, “How are you feeling?”  Oddly, I nearly burst into tears.  After two (almond milk) latte’s (by 10:40 am!), I was exhausted to the point of coming unglued.

I told him that fatigue was an understatement and that if he said “Sleep” to me three times in a row, I would be a goner.

I asked if my 1/2 Marathon training was in some way depleting me (as has been suggested by some concerned readers & friends). No, on the contrary, he said.  Rather, exercise is an antidote to fatigue for me. There is no better or freer narcotic in the world than the endorphins released by exercising, he said.

In fact, he encouraged me to add swimming to my repertoire of running, tennis and hiking.  Swimming, he said, is a great way to cool the body down. Music to my hot flashed ears. It would be so nice to not be the neighborhood furnace anymore!  An additional SL to swimming is that it is solitary and not socially complicated (aside from being in public in a bathing suit, of course!).

He then told me that he had been wondering whether or not I had “crashed” yet. A crash, he said, is coming. A crash always comes. The second he said that, a light went on in my chemo-brain. And I almost burst into tears – again. Clearly, I said, I’m on the edge.

He told me that the timing for my crash is right: I’ve successfully completed treatment and the one year anniversary of my diagnosis (ahem, AND a 1/2 Marathon!). Now, he said, seems like the appropriate time to s-l-o-w down and reflect on the loss of this past year. Ahhh, grief & loss.  He’s absolutely, positively right ON the nose.

I definitely haven’t yet processed the tremendous losses of the last year. I guess that‘s what’s been lurking behind my blood shot eyes. This is going to be hard. Really hard. But it is part of the S**T that comes with FBC.  I’m hoping that when I am on the other side of this “crash” that I will feel so much better.

When I arrived home from my appointment, a book was waiting for me.  Last weekend when I was in Napa for the run, I missed a lecture by my all-time favorite poet, Mary Oliver. She was visiting the UCSB Arts & Lectures program.  I was so sad to miss the opportunity to hear her speak.  BUT, the Silver Lining is that a friend sent me a SIGNED copy of her book, Swan!  And it arrived TODAY.



The first page I opened to was a poem called “Worry.”  I’m serious. It was a major goosebump moment. This is yet another Silver Lined example of the new and wonderfully influential power of poetry in my life.

I hope that you enjoy this poem as much as I do!


Leave a comment


  1. April says

    I am so relieved to know that the "CRASH" is real and not uncommon! I think I am just now coming out of mine. I have my reconstruction on the 29th (SL) but fear my ecpectations have been too high… O.K. maybe I'm still in the "Crash" stage.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, April. The "crash" is definitely real. And very common. I was relieved to know that as well! I hope that you can be very, very patient with and kind to yourself during this period. All my best wishes for your reconstruction. Please stay in touch!

  2. says

    This was such a moving post. It's something I needed to read. I'm recovering from a five year long divorce and while it in no way compares to cancer and what you've gone through, the line about recovering from the losses of the previous year struck a chord with me. I thought when my divorce was final on June 10 of this year, I'd feel all better. But I don't. Now I think I know why. I lost five years of my life on top of all the losses that come with being married for 34+ years. I hope you get through this crash and wish you the strength needed to triumph. Thank you for this post as well as the one after it, loved that quote.

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thank you so much, Christine. I happen to think that all pain and loss in this life is analogous. Processing loss is, as I am learning, a long and difficult process. But (Silver Lining), I believe that after we do process it that we will indeed be in a better, stronger place. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

  3. RRH says

    Uncertainty is an FBC survivors new reality. The best part of crashing is looking around you and deciding which parts work for you and which parts you need to reinvent. Growth and change are most often times PAINFUL but yes we can't forget the SL's! The view on the other side after getting over the Crash Hump is the new lenses in which we view the world. Breathtaking! A Lance Armstrong thought is that cancer is a gift…after getting over the hump of crashing I wholeheartedly agree!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thanks for your comment! I really like the idea of picking up the pieces after a crash…and deciding which parts work and what needs to be reinvented. Thank you for remembering the SL's, Regan. They make all the difference in the world!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thanks, Slim. I have a feeling that my crash will involve a little extra sleep! Glad you liked the poem. I was stunned and awed by it!

  4. Merryl says

    Sweetest friend, always adoring my HFJ, and am only a call away with a big hug, something to make you laugh, and the deepest of love and affection.

  5. says

    That poem brought tears to my eyes, so beautiful. I'm still experiencing peaks and valleys after my FBC experience of 2010. Thanks for sharing. XO Claudia

    • Brookside Buzz says

      I'm so glad that you liked this, Claudia! Thank YOU for sharing! Hopefully you will have more peaks (and Silver Linings) than valleys as 2010 moves further and further away. Thank you, again!