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about me…

by Michelle on May 16, 2008

This week’s assignment is to write a brief biography. Considering that I don’t even have an “about me” section on this blog yet, this seems like an opportunity to me!

Before I get to that, though, I just have to say one thing. This is some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Go California! Let’s hope the rest of the country also starts to gain some sanity on this issue (including Oregon! I love you, but don’t agree with some of your people–like those who voted for Measure 36 four years ago while I was working on the campaign against it).

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A Short Biography of Me

I’m California born-and-raised–and still miss it sometimes–but I’ve been in Oregon for almost 7 years now, and Portland for almost 5. I love Portland, but I have to admit that I would move to San Francisco in a heartbeat. If it were economically feasible.

I’ll be 42 this summer, which seems a little crazy to me. Where has the time gone? However, I have a new husband who helps keep me feeling young–because he’s 12 years younger than me. 😉 We’ve been married for seven months, and I look forward to many, many happy years together.

At Aquatic Park

That’s Nik and I on our honeymoon in San Francisco (the shot ought to be familiar to those of you who know me from Ravelry–it’s the same one I use there).

I used to be a high school math teacher, but gave that up because it was a thankless job that caused me way more stress than joy. Now I work in payroll at a large education company and I’m much, MUCH happier. I have ambitions toward bigger and better things (perhaps even something that will make those Stanford degrees of mine useful?), but for now I’m content with what I’m doing. I’m patient.

I think my patience and generally cheerful attitude have both served me well in recent years. Early last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy in February and have had two surgeries since then (the most recent was just two months ago) for breast reconstruction. It may sound strange to say that I consider myself lucky, but I do. My cancer was a rare form that is slow-growing, and it was caught early–on my first-ever mammogram after I turned 40–so I did not have to suffer through radiation or chemotherapy. The surgeries have played enough havoc that I am thankful every day that I didn’t have the added stress of radiation or chemo.

Due to the surgeries and to having certain restrictions on my activities for so long, I’m feeling extremely out of shape and just tired these days. I hope this summer to get back into walking and hiking–which I’d been doing a lot of the summer before the cancer showed up–and start feeling more fit again. Losing the 15 pounds I’ve gained since the first surgery would be nice, too, but really I just want to feel energetic again.

Patience, right? 🙂

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new website/blog

by Michelle on April 7, 2008

For the foreseeable future, this is my new home. I will be de-activating the former website/blog (the one at nodestination [dot] net) sometime later–for now, it’ll just sit there unused.

I’ve made this move for a bunch of reasons, including (but not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • the previous blog was overrun by comment spam
  • the previous website had no obvious link to any of the names I go by online
  • I was feeling disconnected from everything, and feel like a fresh start will help

Basically, I went through a long period of time where I felt like I didn’t have much to say beyond, “Cancer still gone. Really tired.” I felt like all I was doing was sleeping and working. Even when I did get some knitting done, I could hardly bring myself to take pictures or to write anything about it. Same with any other projects or events. I don’t know if I’ve gotten past that yet, but I can say one thing: I’ve had the last surgery I’m likely to need for a good long time (uh, it was just last month–I didn’t post about it. Sorry). At this point, all I can do is hope that I’ll get my energy back soon. More than anything, I want to get back to hiking again this summer.

The worst part of this whole cancer thing hasn’t really been the cancer, per se. The cancer itself has been gone since the very first surgery back in February 2007. And since I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation (for which I am eternally grateful), that’s nearly the last I’ve had to worry about the actual cancer (other than the pill I take every morning–which I’ll be taking for four more years–and the recurring doctor visits). The surgeries since then have been about restoring me to some sort of normalcy. Not fun, to say the least, but, hey, better than having cancer, right?

So the cancer’s gone, I look more or less normal–different, certainly, but pretty “normal”–and I have hope that some day I’ll feel something like “normal” again, too. The thing that really sucks, though, is that I’d worked really hard in 2006 to get into decent shape. In fact, before my first surgery I was in the best shape I’d been in since I was a teenager. I was still overweight, but I’d lost a good 20-25 pounds. Best of all, I was exercising. And even enjoying it. I felt better than I’d felt in YEARS.

Fourteen months and three surgeries later…I’m completely out of shape again. I’m exhausted all the time (given that it’s been not quite four weeks since the last surgery, I’m trying to be patient with myself…but my patience is running a bit thin, I think).

So that’s my big goal for this summer: get back on the trails. One step at a time. I’m confident that I’ll get back to where I was pre-surgery, but boy…it’s a slow process and is going to require a good bit of patience.

Thanks for reading. I’m going to make it a goal to post regularly on this new site. 🙂

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