Marine Layer

Summertime in Santa Barbara usually brings a marine layer of fog that sits over the coast and sometimes the entire community for most of the morning. This marine layer is formally known as marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL). It is a dense mass of cool, moist air which accumulates over the surface of large bodies of water (e.g., Pacific Ocean). It is caused by a temperature inversion, meaning that the air close to the water is colder, while warm air above the marine layer presses down on it, preventing it from dissipating. I sort of understand it.  Though I’m hardly a marine expert. Or a meteorologist.

Anyway, the marine layer brings daily fog. That’s what I know for sure. I’ve decided that this post-treatment period feels like being in the middle of the marine layer. There is a lack of visibility, some drizzle and a longing for sunshine.

When people ask, I am a bit confused about how to refer to the status of my health. I am still a cancer patient.  I have been taking Tamoxifen for the past week (and will continue to do so for 5 years).

Speaking of Tamoxifen, the medicine keeps me generally nauseous until about noon.  Now, while I was NOT happy to have the nausea come back, the good news is that I’m not the vomitus wreck that I was during chemo.  I just can’t eat in the morning.  By noon, I’m ok.  So, while being nauseous all morning isn’t exactly super duper, I have to say that after being nauseous 24/7 for 4 months, a few hours in the morning is bearable (Silver Lining).

Just as the sun comes out in the afternoon in Santa Barbara, the sun also now comes out for my head, heart and soul. In fact, I feel like I get 5 more minutes of feeling better every single day (Silver Lining). Every day is a better day.



The fog comes

on little cat feet

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

– Carl Sandburg, 1916

Leave a comment


  1. says

    I had the same problem with Tamoxifen. So I take it at night before going to sleep…if it still makes me nauseous I don't remember! I agree with the fog analogy it descibes how I feel exactly.

  2. Kim says

    The marine layer can be used as a metaphor. The morning can be time to go deep inside yourself. To connect with all the changes, hopes and fears in your life since the cancer diagnosis. Then the sunny afternoon's can be richer and more beautiful for the time taken in the fog. Be 'selfish' with this time. The journey is a solitary one in many ways. It's also a new beginning. Go easy, Hollye.