i was feeling absolutely great when i got my diagnosis a little over 2 years ago. so if there ever was a good time to hear that i had a brain tumor, july 2009 was it. i had come out a difficult year – broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years, had hard times with my teenage daughter, and a rough year at a new job. i started the summer of 2009 with a trip to las vegas with 3 friends from middle school and high school.
we went out drinking, ate at expensive restaurants, talked about the old times, talked about the new times, gossiped, gambled, looked at fountains. it was a fantastic recharge. robyn talks about having a touchstone – that weekend was that for me. i was feeling great.
i headed from vegas to berkeley. i’d spent time there a few months earlier at a digital storytelling workshop. that time in april had me excited about the remaining months of the school year, and excited about the role of storytelling in my life.
this is a digital story – two years – that i made recently inspired by the 2-year anniversary of my last trip to berkeley.
i went back to berkeley in june 2009 to go to a facilitator intensive training at the center for digital storytelling. a week in berkeley. i got to spend time with my old friend sandy,
became entirely addicted to a super-trashy series of books called “the black dagger brotherhood” and stayed up late and woke up early to read them – the perfect series to put the last school year behind me (definitely not proper schoolmarm reading material – maybe that’s why my friend on the board of the school recommended them to me), and spent a fantastic week with a group of kind, empathetic, smart people from around the world.
i had turned 36 that may, and with that birthday i realized that i was double-18. i felt like i was 18 again, but with 18 years of life experience. i also realized that it was time to get my first tattoo. i’d wanted the same once since i was 18 the first time – seemed like a pretty good sign. so i got it when i was in berkeley. sandy helped me make the arrangements, and i got it on his birthday, so after the tattooing (and a beer), i met him to go out to the starry plough to see his friend’s band.
i came back from berkeley to the beautiful summer of corvallis. i was sitting in coffee shops, reading, writing, going to the gym, feeling the best i’d felt in my adult life. i finally got “a real haircut” much to my grandma’s delight.
i took this picture of myself probably a week before i was diagnosed. it’s been a beacon for me – a place to get back to. i’ve been working hard to feel as good as i did that summer – mentally, physically, emotionally. and i’m pretty much there. going into the 2-year anniversary i feel really great. my life is good. i feel healthy and strong. i’m excited about the future but enjoying the present. i’m acutely aware of what a fabulous group of folks i have in my life. i feel so fortunate to live where i do. for some reason in the fall of 2009 i told myself that 10 years from then i wanted to look back on my life and think, “thank goodness all of that stuff happened to me.” and two years later i’m certainly well on my way. the events of the summer of 2009, all of them, have made me the person that i am and led me to this place. and i sure am glad to be here.