Now what?

At the park yesterday, a mommy-friend asked me, “Now that you’re cancer-free, what happens to the blog?”  I was caught off-guard at first.  Of course, I’m going to keep writing.  Of course, I’m going to keep visiting everyone else’s blogs.  Of course, I’m going to BlogHer (whoo-hoo!) and learn how to get even more out of this experience, become a better writer, and whatever else comes with it.

But I’ve found myself the last few days soaking up more and more of life instead. 

When my preschooler clings to my legs, saying, “Don’t go, Mommy, don’t go.  I just want to be wif you,” I stay.

When the baby reaches his arms up to me for a lift, I gladly swoop down and pick him up with my good arm, swinging him around the room.

When the weather is as gorgeous as it’s been the last two days, we have just put on our shoes and gone for a walk with the neighbors.  (2 miles today!  Un-freakin-believable!).

When I get a moment after both babies are asleep and in bed, if I haven’t fallen asleep with them, I slather my radiation cream on and breathe a sigh of relief.

When I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, I tell them my good news.

When my mind wanders, it wanders to the wonderful parts of life, like my supportive and loving husband, friends who celebrate with me and a planned trip to the beach this summer.  All very, very ordinary things.

But as I lay on the hammock last night with my child, dusk falling around us and birds beginning to settle into their nests, I realized that there is more yet to write.  Yes, there is recovery yet ahead of me (oh, if you could see the radiation burns scarring my chest, you would weep); there are tests and scans not yet done (3 months from now, just before BlogHer, we’ll know if there’s any little cancers hiding in my bones, liver, or lungs); but there is also the very real celebration of the ordinary, the everyday delights that I have ahead of me.

And that, for me, is a bit of what I will write about in the coming months. 

31 Responses to Now what?

  1. Rose100 says:

    Congratulations on your very good news.
    The question surprises me, because your blog, when it started, was not a cancer blog. It was a mama blog, documenting life –the good times and tough times of motherhood.
    The cancer came as an unexpected and unwelcome obstacle, which you have managed to leave behind. Good riddance. And may you go back to writing about how much you are enjoying plain ol’ day to day non-events.

  2. Sarah S. says:

    I am so glad you are getting out there and are able to enjoy yourself. I am so so happy for you. I think of you everyday! You inspire me. Love ya 🙂

  3. Malaina says:

    I’m very happy that you will be celebrating the ordinary (which can be extraordinary!). I don’t comment very much but I think of you often and I was very happy to read about your good news.

  4. Susan,

    I think you summed it up very well … what you’ll be doing.

    “Life … just live it.”

    Tanya 🙂

  5. Kristin says:

    I look forward to reading about the lovely little bits of life that you find time to share.

  6. A big congrats on your news.

    As for what you’re going to write about, they sound good to me.

  7. It’s been a little over two years since I finished up my treatment and I’m just starting to feel a little better, like I’m going towards the quaility of life that I used to have. This past Saturday I did an art workshop for cancer survivors, and we had to go around the room to tell our stories, and I broke down crying. Cancer affects you much longer than just the treatment…

  8. I’m just so happy to come here for some hard-earned ordinaryness (yours).

    I can see your smile from here.

  9. canape says:

    I guess for those who started reading post-diagnosis, that is a logical question. However, it cracked me up.

    I’ve been waiting for the damn cancer to get out of the way of the blog 😉

    But in case you need more ideas of what to write now that you are cancer free, I happen to know that you and I both have lots of angst filled poetry from high school that could make for interesting blog fodder . . .

  10. Photochick says:

    I’m SO sorry I’m just now getting a chance to officially congratulate you on your awesome news of being CANCER FREE!!! I can’t believe I haven’t had a chance to check in on you for more than a week! I have no good excuse – just the business of everyday and planning a 1st birthday.

    I want you to know how happy I am for you and how I have happy tears just streaming down my face right now! I’ve cried so many tears, and said so many prayers for you… I’ve had you in my thoughts even in the oddest of times! Never have I bawled my eyes out like I did when I read your “Good News!”

    Thank you SO much, Susan, for FIGHTING and BEATING cancer! That, my friend, is “how to make cancer feel foolish!” (a silly quote from the TV show Scrubs) You really brought that quote to life!

    This is how it played in my head…
    I bet that cocky cancer reeeally thought it had you- oh, boy. “Ain’t nuthin gunna beeet mee,” it said. It tried with all it’s might to beat down the beautiful Mommy… we were all somewhat afraid that through her brave front, cancer may be getting the best of her…
    But SuperSusan said, “NO! You’re not taking me from the ones I love – from the Life I Live – from the many who love and care for me. NO!
    The cancer said, “I’m ‘a stayin! Knoow why? Yuua cain’t make me leeeave!”
    SuperSusan just laughed and said, “Ok, stay as long as you want. Dr, please remove my breasts!”
    And with that, cancer was well on it’s way to being driven out of SuperSusan’s body. Even with much of cancer gone, the sweet young woman knew that the battle wasn’t over… Radiation, therapy, and countless Dr’s visits… And knowing that someday, cancer could very well come back…
    But SuperSusan is so strong, and fights with all her might, that cancer never even stood a chance in the first place! I doubt cancer EVER rears it’s ugly head ’round these here parts again.
    So maybe cancer can claim, “How the Breast was Won,” but SuperSusan got the final victory.

    I love you so much Susan! Thank you for writing your blog for us, for your inspiration and courage, for continuing to write after cancer was OFFICIALLY BEATEN! Most of all, thank you for being a wonderful wife and Mommy. I see it in every one of your posts, in those that you touch, and in the Life that you Live.

    Much love to you and yours – my continued thoughts and prayers, as always. Take care and God Bless.

  11. After what you’ve been through, I am sure we all look forward to celebrating the everyday, ordinary things with you!

  12. whymommy says:

    One mother with cancer … you’re right of course. I don’t know how this will all play out. It’s possible that I could forget it tomorrow, but I doubt it. I hope that I will take some of these memories with me, appreciating the ordinary, and leave most of it behind. Far behind. Never to return. Oh, I hope.

    Canape, Kate, PhotoChick, Malaina, everyone … thanks. That makes me feel great about writing again. Even without so much drama. 🙂

    (Believe it or not, I’ve never been one for drama.)

  13. Joanna says:

    Hey girl, it never dawned on me that you’d stop writing. You are an inspiring woman and mother, and you happened to get cancer, so your last year’s worth of posts has been something else – informative, emotional, beautiful, heart-breaking…you name all of it. But the heart of your writing, how you choose to live your life – that’s at the core of this blog. So never stop. You can retitle or redesign, but never stop writing.

    K. Glad we got that straight. ;).

  14. erica says:

    I hope you savour it, all that love and sweetness, all those quiet, sacred, wild moments with your babies. Drink it all in. We’ll still be here waiting when you have a moment to write.

  15. I’m looking forward to reading every post! And I am unspeakably jealous that a) you are going to BlogHer, and b) you are going to the beach this summer. Make sure you blog about those things, so I can live vicariously through you!

  16. Go forth and enjoy all that life and your loves have to offer…

    Your faithful blog readers will patiently wait for your posts knowing what your good reasons are for not posting every day.

  17. How is ti I only found you today? Well, a heart congratulation on your awesome news! My heart is glad for such joyful news! It will be interesting to see the direction you go now, with this new life… Perhaps I’ll get to meet you at BlogHer. I get to go with one of my dearest life-long friends…


  18. Kathie says:

    This cream you use is it helpful? My DH starts
    his treatments today.

  19. Bon says:

    i loved reading you…and your life…before the cancer. and i will be here reading for as long as you want to write.


  20. Linda Lawrence says:

    Great! Our family would miss updates and photos. Keep them coming!

    Love ya,

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  21. Jenn says:

    Could there be more beautiful words to write?

  22. Bubba's Sis says:

    And I’ll be here to read it, sweetie! Love ya!

  23. Rachael says:

    Beautifully written as always… and if you do find time to write through the cancer-free parts, I know we’ll all be better for it.

  24. I am one of the readers that discovered you post diagnosis. But I did go back and read some of your archives.

    I fell in love with you as a person, a mother first. Then wanted to support you through your fight. Sure you probably wont get the amounts of comments like when you were in the midst of the fight, but we will all still be here, catching up with the banalities (how exciting!) of your day to day life. As a mum and a wife and a friend.

    And that is truly awesome.

  25. JoC says:

    ditto magneto. Looking forward to everything.

  26. Ree says:

    I, for one, am looking forward to reading more and more about Whymommy and the Whymommy family!

  27. whymommy says:

    Aw, so sweet. Thank you all. I will. I will. And I AM going to BlogHer — wouldn’t miss a chance to meet so many of you, who have helped me so much and become such good friends.

    Kathie, I’ll write a post so it’s searchable, but here’s the info for you to have immediately. Every radiation oncologist will recommend something for the burns; the important part is to keep the area moist and slathered with something that will help it heal while not interfering with the treatment. My oncologist recommended Exclair, but it’s prescription and not cheap. I’ve also had good luck with a pharmacy mix of 50/50 Aquaphor and Aloe vera; either alone will work with good results, but the mix is sticky but fabulous. If, near the end of radiation, he has painful burns (possible but not guaranteed), try Neosporin with pain relief. The cream is moist but not sticky, helps heal the raw areas, prevents infection on the new or opened skin, and takes away any surface pain. Oh, and it doesn’t stain your clothes like the other creams. Best of luck to you both ….

  28. Oh, The Joys says:

    I’ve been thinking of you lately because I just read “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan. Have you read it? I thought of you. She writes like a blogger. I really enjoyed it and, if you haven’t read it, I recommend it.

    I’ll so look forward to meeting you in SF.


  29. Ally says:

    Can’t wait to read about all of the ordinary yet miraculous stuff of everyday life.

  30. planetnomad says:

    Your friend’s question surprises me. Your blog was always about much more than just your cancer–it was about YOU, your life, which of course included cancer, and your family, and so much more. So I’m certainly looking forward to see what else you continue to share with us.
    Just whenever you feel like it, of course 🙂

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