Saturday, April 22, 2006
New Home: More than Just a Tax Deduction.
It's amazing what you learn when you move. Things like, 100 boxes still look like 100 boxes even if you put them in twice as much space, having my laundry facilities upstairs puts the "high efficiency" in the high efficiency washer, and by now Ralph Lauren should have named a child after me (or at least a favorite pet). It has been such an exhaustive and transitional few weeks, but I now write to you from the comfort of my new home office in my new home in my new city in my new county. It is amazing how the new home lies in such stark contrast to the old place, just as my life at the old place lies in stark contrast to the promise the new home brings.

Long before I ever heard the words, "I'm sorry, but it's cancer," something had crept inside of me and was taking my life. I'm not sure how it happened or even when it happened, but the signs were there. I feel like I exorcised those demons (or at least donated them to Goodwill) as I packed my belongings. The part of me that stopped living in that house years ago was bid adieu as I packed up the part of me that wants to live and set off. So far, in the new home I have unpacked purpose, passion, and pride and there are still so many boxes left to open.

I went back to the old place and instead of being sentimental remembering all the great memories, it was mournful. I flashed back to the day I sat staring at my closet unable to find anything to wear the first day I would wear my wig into the office. I remembered walking through the doors after my first chemo treatment. The house felt so dark and empty. Instead of remembering that New Year's party when I rigged balloons to fall from the ceiling, I could only remember the cold, dark days of illness. Everything about it seemed dark.

As I walk through the doors of my new home, I am struck by the light coming at me from all angles. The irises and lilies are blooming in the garden. Two young girls came to my door the first day to welcome me to the neighborhood. They came back later with three friends and sang me a song. Everything about this place screams life. It is unavoidable.

As much as I am trying to figure out what "normal" life is for me post treatment/surgery and continue to struggle with the lymphadema, the skin irritation on my legs, figuring out which neckline works with my reconstructed breasts, and adjusting to the persistent discomfort of the scar tissue, I finally feel like I have in many ways moved forward into a new phase of my life. Moving on has been as much a metaphor for my mental state as it has been a physical reality.

New home, new hope.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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