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Karl the Fog

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Fog… it is all around me. My brain is filled with fog, my move from 95-degree Meadow Vista to 60-degree fog-soaked Oakland has my tan skin fading, the memories of re-living my childhood in my hometown this summer through lake days, pool parties, and Sierra Nevada hikes shifting into the background. This certainly wasn’t how I expected the remainder of the year to pan out. It’s truly incredible how fast life can change. In one instant nothing is the same. You hear about these moments, you know it’s possible, but until you go through one of those life changing instants you don’t really know how it feels to have your feet floating off the ground as you spin and try to regain your footing.

They say cancer makes you re-evaluate so much in your life, and it truly does. I think my early stage diagnosis had me a bit naïve at first, struggling to know where I fit into the breast cancer tribe, hiding from doing the research to truly understand what this means for my life, focused on the “good” news – scared to face any truths. But slowly I have been brave enough to educate myself… build my decision matrix, and have the very real and difficult conversations with myself I need to have to keep my mental and physical health the best I possibly can into the future.

I am doing my best to dive into the internet a bite size at a time, careful to not go to the pages that will induce fear, deliberately selective about what information I consume, reading the information as matter of a fact as I can. My google search sure looks different now, my social feed once filled only with horse videos is now a stream of amazing and beautiful bald warrior women, boobs, and pink.

Products, exercises, side effects, horror stories… all I keep thinking is I must stay as hydrated, healthy, and exercise focused as possible right now. My body needs me to fill it only with goodness, veggies, meats… but the fog, the roller coaster of depression swings, and the quiet evenings opens the door, allowing in the woman who has emotionally ate as a comfortable survival practice since my last breakup... the non optimistic warrior who rather than cook a healthy dinner…picks up the door-dash app, turns her back to the peloton, and consumes the negative information circling the web. My nurturing self calmly says “be kind to yourself Liz you are going through a hard time now is not the time to diet, pressure yourself or guilt yourself” and my warrior mind says, “What the fuck Liz! – this is the shit that probably got you here, put down the fried rice and go grab that dinosaur kale.”

There seems to be so many “to-dos” to prepare for my treatments… I still can’t imagine navigating this with a more scary prognosis... I remain humble and grateful. In my quest for information – my spiritual journey to digest what is happening in my life – I have joined a group of young women survivors. What I know to be true about tribes of women is no different here… women supporting women… its beautiful, magic – and humbling.

Since my stage 1 diagnosis – my spirit has not rested signaling to me that this journey is far from over. I have been very careful not to overly celebrate my early diagnosis – the unlikely chance of chemo - I have definitely focused on manifesting this result – but then as the stories of support pour in from the online forum, one thing is clear - Cancer is an ugly beast… and you really don’t know until you know.

So many women with the exact diagnosis as mine had insane twists and turns in their journey… celebrating their early stage and positive prognosis only to find out that the full story wasn’t known, set treatment plans changing along the way, with crazy hidden tumors not found on imaging – surprise cancer completely hidden in breast tissue removed when they chose double mastectomies for peace of mind. You have to be ready for anything in this fight – ready to mourn, ready to celebrate, ready to rest, ready to heal… there is a reason cancer build warriors – it is a mental and physical fight like none I have seen before.

So as I snuggle into my sweatshirt and head out into the fog each morning – I remind myself there is sunny day somewhere on the other side – but for now I will breathe in a deep breath of the clean, moist, cool air – pick up my sword - and take one step at a time – cherishing the beautiful life moments along the way, staying optimistic, vibrating the highest vibes possible and fighting until I am on the other side.

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