August 19, 2021

Three Year Cancerversary in Sedona

*May 7

Three years since I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Lobular Breast Cancer was a big day for me. My diagnosis day brings so much emotion--a wave of sadness, fear, and grief. Yet also so much gratitude for life, strength, compassion, and growth. I wanted to focus on all the beauty and the good that cancer has brought to me, and provide a happy distraction, so I planned a weekend away in Sedona.

We started out with our paddleboards on lake pleasant.

We discovered how wind on a lake can make paddleboarding so much more difficult than the river. I think I'll try to stick to the river. :)

We settled in to our airbnb and headed out to dinner at Bella Vita Ristorante. There was yummy food and live music and you betcha we got up for some dancing.

We may have practically chased down the performer afterwards for a picture with him. Ha!

What's a true road trip without some car trouble? Our van kept dying for a few weeks in April, but we had taken it into a mechanic and we were assured the problem was fixed. It wasn't. By some miracle, we got the van started again that early morning and thankfully didn't have any more trouble with it during the trip.

We went on a morning hike up Cathedral Rock--one of the Vortexes of Sedona. 

It was a fun climb. I kept thinking that Layla would love it since she loves climbing up rocks.

Such gorgeous views!

One of big takeaways from the weekend was believing that I am open--I am open to changing, to learning, to accepting the life that God gives me. I am willing and open. 

I laid back on a rock and tried to soak in that gorgeous view. The red rocks are just stunning.

Becky led me and Kelli to scramble up on these rocks for a little adventure. And some howling. Becky made us howl.

My feet dangling up high over the rocks--I was SO happy to be alive. I have such a deep appreciation for every breath and every adventure these days.

We found another beautiful spot.

I was so glad to have all these wonderful ladies on this adventure with me.

We climbed back down and then hiked to the creek. The cold creek that I had no intention of climbing into, but I did anyways.

We sat in the sun on those rocks trying to warm up after jumping completely into the water. We talked about some of our dreams and life wishes and goals. My unfulfilled dream has always been to be a dancer--especially a ballet dancer. I loved hearing everyone else share theirs, too.

Seriously magnificent views on the way down.

Tawni and Kelly had to head out, but we cleaned up and went into downtown area to look at some shops.

That evening we walked up the trail by the house we were staying in to watch the sunset.

I loved the time we had sit up there and reflect and meditate.

This lovely land we live in!

We had some excitement trying to get the fireplace to light. You had to light those things one by one and the wind was making it tricky and scary. Ha! But it was beautiful to sit outside that night.

The next morning I got up early and went out on my own. I was feeling a lot of anxiety and I needed that time to run and to feel my heart pound. I needed a few minutes to just be moving at my own pace.
it was an amazing way to watch the sunrise.

From these spots along the way, I stopped and did a few sun salutations. Definitely want to come back here for yoga again. It was perfect.

I felt so much better after my solo hike. We ended our trip with a walk up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

We sat inside for a few minutes of quiet worship.

Angela gave me the best gift that I will cherish always. Those words spoke to me in such a powerful way. I'm so grateful for her thoughtful gift and even more for her friendship. I'm grateful for each of the women who came with me to support me during the weekend.

Just before we left, I had an appointment with my oncologist. It was kind of neat to have an appointment exactly on my 3 year anniversary. I wanted to thank dear Dr. Polowy for all he has done to keep me, and so many others, alive. He is so dedicated and incredible. He works hard and makes so many sacrifices, and I know it is also a big sacrifice for his family. Layla helped me put together a little bag of some of our family's favorite things to give to his family. And I wrote him a note filled with all the gratitude I could put into words.

What a way to celebrate 3 years!