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Spoiler alert: this is not really a food post, it is a reflection on life and relationships. I know, just when you thought I might throw another pumpkin something your way I head the other direction.

Since I am reflecting, let’s compromise and I’ll share my recipe reflections on some of my favorite, not so usual, pumpkin recipes:

Cheesy Pumpkin Kale Lasagna

Quinoa Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Ginger Semi-Freddo Ice Cream

pumpkin reflections

This week my rose colored glasses shattered. Relationships that I had proudly coveted all my life, were undeniably in a state of disrepair. It’s not that I hadn’t seen it coming, I had for quite some time, but I truly believed that maybe there was still a glimmer of hope. I guess this last year has revealed to me that I just don’t want or need the drama. Time spent on those who value your time is the world I choose to live in. I am not angry. I not hurt. I am just freeing myself emotionally from the past. So really nothing and everything has changed. My day to day life will go on just as it has over the past 5 years in this fractured realm of reality, the only change is that I am deciding not be hurt by it any longer. I have no ax to grind, no desire to yell or slander; there is family and there is business as I was reminded. Point well taken. So here’s to embracing the business side of this shattered reality– and releasing the rest that is beyond my control.

Shattered rose colored glasses

After all, if I am not passively fighting for it, only to find rejection, well then maybe those relationships will be easier moving forward if I am not focused on what I glaringly missing. It’s time to focus on those that I enjoy spending time with. It’s time to cocoon myself with those that have stood beside me as I faced the most terrifying time of my life.

Over the past year I’ve been asked how being diagnosed with cancer has changed me. The aforementioned is the answer. It’s not something I instantly understood, but its something that has subtly become my guiding principal; my proverbial north star. Today for the first time I looked over the photos from when I was diagnosed to now as I approach one year of being cancer free. The photos resurrected all of those raw feelings. I felt emotionally naked. I cried- I remember getting the news. I remember feeling unusually helpless. I remember feeling scared beyond belief. I remember the heartbreak as I told my parents, my children, and my immediate family. I didn’t really want to discuss it. The few times the words came out of my mouth – I have breast cancer – I burst into tears. I retreated to writing and sharing my thoughts to a small concerned audience.

Friends from near and far found ways to reach out to me and that’s what I choose to remember. I remember that people make the difference. My network of support was something I’ll always treasure – some I knew and some others wanted me to meet – people that had similar experiences to mine that could understand what I was feeling. Other survivors became my canaries as I tried to find my way out of this cancer coalmine. I believe that they were sent to help guide me out when the decisions were so vast I couldn’t see my way out.

What I wanted most aside from the chance to live as long as my Ginny (who is now winking at 104 years of age) was to protect those closest to me, which is never easy when you want to write to soothe yourself. I filtered. I tried to keep the normalcy to an extent. I did my best and I allowed others to care for me…I put a few key people in place to help me run my surgery/recovery life. I needed order in the chaos. They understood, they gave me order in the chaos taking from my non-verbal cues.

So while most people write their reflections in December as they are looking towards a new year, I am reflecting now, not by design, but by emotion. I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for coming back to my site to check-in on me. To support me – thank you for all of those that visited when all I could do was sleep. And to all those that orchestrated communications, carpools, meals, thank you notes, helping me look my best, taking me to doctors appointments and surgeries, making sure laundry and dog walks happened. I may have been in a medically induced fog, but I really did see it all happening. It left an impression on me. It told me who I am to all of you and that is something I will cherish.

gina quote

I guess I am not the same person. I am not just going through the motions; I am awake and aware of life going on around me. I no longer cringe at my age, I embrace it. After all it is so much better than the alternative. 😉 I was fortunate. I know this. And I know you if you are reading this, whether or not you’ve ever met me in person, you had something to do with where I am today. You are my butterfly effect. And sometimes I just have to stop the motion going on all around me, to see how far I’ve really come. You have more to loose when you understand the value of what you have. I have been given the gift of understanding the value of the present. Isnt’t that why they call it a gift? The Present.

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