It’s Easter

To me, first and foremost, Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus. I get it. But, also for me, there is a lot of other things to celebrate on this day too. There has been so much rebirth everywhere. From the minute details of the daffodils blooming to the emergence of myself and my husband from illness to the rejuvenation of old relationships: there is a sense of fresh start everywhere.

Second chances are everywhere, if we take advantage of them. I think this applies not only to religion, but to life in general. I have to admit, there has been so much change to take in that sometimes it’s overwhelming as well as wonderful. I am sometimes not sure how to process it all. I make sure to never let it overwhelm my sense of gratitude, but I am noticing that there is still an underlying sense of anxiety and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” again in my every day life. It seems to be affecting my whole family as well. I think it’s just normal with everything we have been through lately.

I realize that I need to make a conscious effort to keep moving forward, and to help my family move forward with me. We need to make the absolute most of and learn from these second chances. We need to focus on what gives us joy, even if it is something as small as watching my grandchildren hunt for Easter eggs or as monumental as hearing that my latest scans are clear.

So, as you gather with family and friends today to celebrate our Lord, also take time to celebrate each other and life in general. Take nothing for granted. Embrace every opportunity. Learn from each other and your own mistakes. Savor every moment.

Have a happy and blessed Easter.

Dr. Katz

It’s Time To Get Back to the Smoothie

I finally went on a vacation after almost two years. It was amazing. In the weeks preceding it, I became acutely aware of just how much I NEEDED it: emotionally and physically. I felt like every cell in my body was about to burst with the drive to get the hell out of town an away from everything: my environment, my routine, my town, everything. In between the vacation cravings came the vacation fears. What if something terrible happened to one of us? What if we didn’t get to go at all? What if we didn’t survive it? Let’s be honest for a moment. Each and every time we tried to have time off in the last two years, something awful happened. A pandemic started. Someone had a heart attack or, my favorite, someone got cancer. You see what I mean? The vacation fears almost took over the vacation cravings to the point that we felt jinxed just to utter the word vacation. We started saying pause or any other euphemism to avoid saying the word vacation. It’s ridiculous I know, but it’s what happened.

So, the big day finally arrived. We were all packed and ready to go, BEFORE 2 am the night before. This in and of itself is a miracle…lol We celebrated each mile stone with vigor. Hurray we made it to the airport. Hooray we made it through security. Hurray we made it on the plane. And then, the celebrations stopped because flights were delayed…and cancelled. But, we even made the best of that and just kept switching gears as fast as they changed.

Finally, we made it to our destination: sunny Key West Florida. I had never been. It was gorgeous and hot and sweaty. I was in love. I thought for sure that it would be smooth sailing from there. It was, sort of. I realized quickly that we both had forgotten how to really take a vacation. We were kind of anxious at first, waiting for the other shoe to drop and wondering how we would handle it so far from home. I think we each took our own day to fall apart a little and lift each other back up again. It sounds like a waste of time, but it wasn’t. We needed that time to absorb that it would be ok and that we would be ok and that we were allowed to just have fun and relax. We did get the hang of it eventually.

It ended up being a marvelous vacation, plane snafus at the end not withstanding. We did relax. We did have fun. We ate stuff. We did stuff. We saw old friends. We tried new things. But, after a week, it was time to get back to the real world. I realized the routine I had been so vigorously campaigning against before we left was not actually a bad thing. There is safety and comfort in the routine. For chrissakes, for the past two years life has been anything BUT routine until lately. If I am being honest, things were finally getting normal enough to even be able to notice a routine. I told myself that the routine was dragging me down, but it wasn’t really true. The routine just let’s me know that I am okay and that things are ok. That’s a good thing.

According to Diane Lang, 40 % of our lives involve routines. Routines give us a sense of structure. They give us a sense of accomplishment. They let us know that we are doing ok. They give us a pattern to follow. They are even important for our mental health. They allow us a sense of what we can control. I think this has been especially important during the pandemic. I know that for me, being able to establish a routine has been essential in my continued healthy survivorship after cancer. The bottom line is, routine are not so bad. On that note, now that I am home, I think it is time to get back to the smoothie. I missed it while I was on vacation.

Dr. Katz