Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Moving Forward. Hopefully In A Red Karmann Ghia.

I don't like myself very much right now.  Now this is unusual, because normally I love my own company.  I laugh at my own jokes, I entertain myself in a hundred different ways, I wake up with a zing,  my mind brimming with new ideas and excitement for a new day.  It's never been a case of passing the time but more of a case of where did the time go today ?  But something's changed.  Even the dog, who's normally surgically attached to my feet, doesn't seem to want to be around me, and has taken himself into monastic seclusion under the bed, only coming out for meals and the odd game of "destroy-the-monster-toy".

Who can blame him really though ?  It's no fun when the center of your universe seems completely distracted and otherwise engaged in the deeply dull topic of cancer when all you really want to do is go for a run on the beach, chase some seagulls, and maybe if you're really lucky, roll in some disgustingly smelly unidentified-animal goop.  Now there's a perfect day,  for a belligerent furry little so-and-so who only stands ten inches high, but is pure heart and full of joyous zest for life.  I definitely need some of what he has.

Now before anyone jumps to the medicine cabinet to reach for an easy fix of little blue feel-good pills, I think the problem is this.  Lately, the whole cancer maelstrom feels like it has collided in some kind of perfect storm worthy of a Lifetime Movie script.  My darling husband and I never seem to get a break from having to think about the cancer thing.  In fact someone asked me last week, whether I ever get a moment of clear, pure, joyous, freedom of thought, and honestly right now the answer to that is no.  It just seems like there's always another scan around the corner with slightly worse news each time we go (which is every three months now), decisions to make regarding treatments, adapting to new treatments and their associated side-effects,  and all of the emotions and frustrations that go along with dealing with all of that.  Meanwhile, the people that surround us are just getting on with their lives.  For our peer group, that generally means having babies, planning for  a new home, celebrating children's milestones, advancing in or changing careers, and just getting on with life with all of its normal ups and downs.  Normal ups and downs.  What we wouldn't give to be able to get back to that.

So the question is now, how do we move forward from this latest setback, and keep moving forward ?  Because that's what life's about, isn't it ?  Moving forward.  A trick that we have used in the past and one that worked pretty well, is making sure we always have something to look forward to.  Even though there's no running away from reality to be sure,  having something fun to grab onto can help you get through those tough times.  Well that's my theory anyway.  So readers, here's what's on my list of things I want to have to look forward to.  Even if I can't make them happen at least it's nice to daydream.

Also, before anyone freaks out and thinks that I'm publishing a "Bucket List",  IT'S NOT A BUCKET LIST ! Just things that calm my mind and make me happy.  Okay ?  Moving right along.....

1.  A Tiny House In The Middle of Nowhere.

I am fascinated by thought of living in space smaller than my existing bedroom.  I'm also fascinated by the thought of being out in the middle of nowhere.  Okay, being near a little town would be good, but at least the perception of being in the middle of nowhere would be enough.  How fun to be able to just go and disappear for a few days and live off the grid.    Am I just looking for another reason to run away and not deal with reality ?  Absolutely, if only for a few days.

Not a doctor, medical file, or pink ribbon in sight.  Bliss!
2.  A Vintage Karmann Ghia.

Now I'm the last person to be interested in cars, but for some reason I'm completely obsessed with this car.  In fact someone quite regularly drives one up and down our street to visit one of the neighbors.  Obviously it's complete torture for me and just feeds my obsession.  Not sure where we would keep it but these are just minor details.

Isn't she a beauty ? I would name her Gwendoline.

3.  The Lava Rivers of Hawaii.

I want to stand at the edge of one of those lava rivers and bask in the awesome power and beauty of Mother Nature.  And stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui.  Now this one we might be able to make happen if we start saving our pennies now.  Time to cut out all emotional spending immediately !

Amazing !  I have to go and see this for myself.

4.  A New Blog.
Yes !  I have an idea for a new blog.  Something to do with women's history, their place in society and how society has viewed them through the ages.  I'm not going to give up writing The Cancer Culture Chronicles, but I do want to expand my writing interests beyond the world of breast cancer, and what better way than to indulge my amateur sociological fascination with a novel, interesting and hopefully interactive blog dealing with this very topic.  I won't say any more than that until I'm ready to debut it, so please watch this space.

Yes I Can ! Watch This Space !

So now that I've shared my current list with you, I'm going to take a cue from the lovely and talented Nancy Stordahl who writes an excellent blog entitled Nancy's Point, and ask you a question.  I'd be thrilled to hear your answers.

What's on your list of things that you want to make happen or are looking forward to ?


  1. Wonderful post. More people need a strong to do list. Thanks for showing the way!

  2. Anna, beautifully written, as usual. I agree. It so helps having something to look forward to. For me, it's almost always a vacation of any kind. Road trip to the beach, a weekend away without our boys (which never happens) a redo of our last Disney fiasco. Anytime, anywhere, a brand new place or not. It doesn't matter to me. I just like to go. Maybe it's my way of running away.

    My husband wants to save up to buy land somewhere in Maine or Massachusettes by the water, but I always want to spend our money on vacations now. It's a conflict.

    BTW, I love your choice of car.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Stacey. A change of scenery is always a tonic. Actually we went to Maine a couple of years ago and I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to and don't get me started on Wild Blueberry Pie..mmmm. If I could stomach the winters we would move there in a shot.

  4. Anna,
    I wish I knew great words of wisdom to help you get through "the blues." I'm sorry you have had some setbacks. Making a to do list seems like a good idea, things to look forward to. David and I are planning a winter driving trip someplace warmer this winter, something we have not done in all the years we've been married (and that's quite a few!) We have learned we should not put off such things. Thank you for mentioning by blog in your post so kindly! And I'm sure your little pooch will reattach himself to your side very soon. Maybe he just needs a little space once in a while too! Hope you have a nice weekend.

  5. It's funny, since making this list, things have actually started feeling a little brighter. Instead of talking about cancer, we've been talking about the things on the list and they have provided a welcome distraction. Even the dog seems brighter. I think we are turning a just got to work on making that snazzy red car a reality......

  6. Anna, congratulations on getting posted on

    The intro is great:

    "Then I ran across this new breast cancer blog The Cancer Culture Chronicles. I like the take Anna Rachnel, the blogger, develops around the book. She is also an exceptional writer."

    I agree!!!

  7. Hooray for distractions and fun things to put our energies into. I am so tired of talking about, thinking about, reading about cancer; I too get sick of myself. Thanks for the push to actually make a list of some positive plans/events/activities/dreams to spend time on instead. P.S. I'm into those silly mini-Coopers myself! A red or yellow one!

  8. Anna - the new blogs sounds great! Look forward to it.
    Best, Sarah

  9. Your writing is sooo good. I'm fighting breast cancer too (and writing a blog). I like to read about other survivors lives. Thank you for sharing your life with readers!

  10. Welcome Elizabeth. Thanks for stopping by !

  11. I had to gape, a little. I have a desire for a Karmann Ghia, as well. A green one. Because that was my first car. A green 1969 Karmann Ghia. I don't think that I properly appreciated it then, but I'm pretty sure that I would now.

  12. That's so funny; I used to always want a Karmann Ghia when i was in my twenties. Having something to look forward to is essential for me. I really want to celebrate my 50th by going to the big island of Hawaii (another common thing); that's in two years so not sure I want to wait. I'm looking forward to going to the Hamptons later this summer and staying with my friend Elyn there. Never been there but saw it on Sex in the City.

    Tami Boehmer

  13. I've found that the cure for the blues is to just wait it out. Feel the feelings, in all their blah-ness, but know that they are temporary. The bucket list is a great way to fill the time between feeling blue and being back to normal, and I highly recommend a cute little car--in fact, I just got one and despite how impractical it is, it has filled my cancer-scarred soul with joy! I posted some pics yesterday; check em out!

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