Thoreau made it sound so easy

One of my favorite quotes is on my office wall for motivation:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Sounds lovely, right? Of course, Thoreau must have had a much simpler life or goal structure. Life gets in the way. Injuries (even though self-inflicted by the beast) sideline goals for a while. Then, just when you think you’ve got it under control – whammo – you get a call from your doctor who tells you that the “spot” is really breast cancer.  Yes, that’s where Carter and I have been for the last year. We’re back on track now, but it’s been a wild and crazy road to where we are today.

First, last year, Carter decided that during his time off he’d injure himself – thankfully, not badly enough to have a long-lasting issue, but it took us out right before show season. UGH. The positive outcome was that we bonded a ton and he’s also come back this year so much stronger and happy in his work. In fact, he’s now WAY beyond me!

Then, in the middle of the year I started a new job. I love it. It’s the job I’ve always wanted and has plenty to offer in terms of opportunity, travel, learning, the works. I’m so grateful that I was selected. Getting acclimated to working for a German-lead company is interesting and rewarding, thankfully.  I’m learning a ton and it’s challenging to get used to a new market. So, my mind is occupied with industrial automation most of the day.

Most recently – just as we were progressing into smooth sailing-land – I got a call from my doctor telling me that they’d found Stage 1 breast cancer. Sigh. What?! So, since the beginning of February through the end of April my world was turned upside down, inside out, and every which direction by a teeny, tiny (thankfully not so quickly growing) 9 mm tumor I’d named my little M&M, even though it was really the size of a TicTac. As a result, I had a lumpectomy, two lymph nodes removed (thankfully negative) and intraoperative radiation (IORT). Thankfully, the results have all been good news! The cancer is out and I’ve turned everything healthy. However, I thought I’d be back to riding within 10 days. Not. So. Much. It wasn’t until just recently that I’m feeling more myself while I’m back in this crazy thing called life and in the saddle. I still have some post-surgical issues that I’m dealing with, but I’m healing and am on a three-month follow-up plan with my care team (surgeon, oncologist, and a naturopath).

That means that Carter and I are back on track on our quest for Bronze. If I could only channel Thoreau and get my lead change (Carter’s a pro already and prefers to do tempi changes) we’d be back in the show ring on our way to complete that goal and start a new search for Silver! I visited the Midwest Horse Fair and watched and learned as Steffen Peters taught two students how not to over prepare for the lead change, how to make sure the horse is balanced and on the aids, how to keep a small leg movement for the cue. Of course my trainer, Laura, insists that I have what it takes if I’d only let it happen. I’m ready. Carter is more than ready. I’ve absorbed it all… now, if I couldn’t only let it happen! Carter, of course, has plenty to say about it.

I’ve also decided that it’s very cathartic for me to write… it allows me to focus on the future and live life that I love. So, I’m back. You’ll hear from us a lot as we grab that Bronze and begin our search for Silver.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Horse Sage says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope and pray that you continue to feel better and stronger and that you will remain healthy and cancer free! It sounds like you will. You and Carter have many years of fun before you and that Bronze medal will be yours very soon, I think. Hoping to hear that update some time this summer, but meanwhile, enjoy each day with your loved human and animal friends. None of us know what is next, so while goals are great (I’m all about goals), the moment really matters. But you already know that :-). Ride on!

    1. Smile. Sue. says:

      ❤ Thank you! I hope to help at least one person in making a difference in their journey. Early and regular check-ups were what found my little M&M (thanks to a diligent radiologist who didn't like what he saw in the ultrasound). I'm planning on being cancer free for the rest of the ride! 🙂

  2. Kate D says:

    I love your attitude (and sense of humor) for coping with cancer. Sending good vibes on your silver goals 🙂

    1. Smile. Sue. says:

      Thank you, Kate!

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