Welcome Back Girl!

Friday night, as the sun was setting on the pacific, it was also setting in my heart.  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  My husband was still at work, happy hour was in full swing somewhere and I was home, alone, with the kids and the weight of this last year on my shoulders.  But, thanks to a little girl, a Jew, and the boy next door, my evening was salvaged and my heart ready to rise with the sun the next day.  My life forever changed by a book, “The Book Thief.” 

It was 1939, Nazi Germany, when a little man with big words and a bad moustache had a horrible idea.  A quirky dark narrator, “Death”, was busy collecting the souls of the dead while a heroic little girl, Liesel, stole books to help her get through a horrendous time in her life.  The characters captivated me as I curled up on the couch with a box of tissues, sipping tea and tears.  Not only did Liesel steal books, she stole my heart as well.  I was absorbed, like a Brawny paper towel sopping up spilled milk.  Slurp!

Why the book hype?  First of all, I will never look at life and “Death” the same way.  Second, it hasn’t been since Atticus in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Owen Meany in “A Prayer for Owen Meany” that a character with such a pure spirit has spoken to me like Liesel and her foster pa, Hans Huberman.  Third, it has inspired me to start where I left off a few years ago and attempt to finish reading the top 100 classic books of all time.  Why, because I finally can!

There was a time in my life when a good book, a classic like Anna Karenina, Lolita and Ulysses was as delicious and enticing to me as a piece of chocolate.  I used to devour the classics, one after another, like a box of thin mint girl scout cookies.    

I hit a roadblock a few years ago.  I could not concentrate long enough to get through one chapter.  I was distracted, unfocused and scattered.  Then, I was diagnosed with cancer.  Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov got put into boxes, stored away in my garage, left to a time before mid-life crisis, job loss, and chemo.  James Hollis, Wayne Dyer, Michio Kushi and Kris Carr took over filling the empty spaces on my bookshelves once adorned by classics as I worked to get my life back, re-focus and kick some cancer ass.

Today I unquestionably feel more focused.  It is not easy, a constant battle of wills, my own.  But I am closer and closer to getting my life back.  I definitely kicked cancer’s ass to kingdom come, now I need to kick distraction in the butt and unpack those boxes in the garage and let Tolstoy out.       

        

The “Book Thief” has given me just the fuel I need.  It has reignited my appetite and I am hungry! 

Seems my hunger for cookies came back with my hunger for a good book.  As I was reading last night, my kiddos baked homemade butterscotch oatmeal cookies.  I could not resist.  I must have eaten at least five cookies (I lost count), hot and gooey straight out of the oven.  They were delicious.

Honestly, I must admit, I was a bit worried that I would waste away on green leafy vegetables never enjoying a cookie hot out of the oven without thinking of it as feeding my cancer.  I also worried that I would starve, not just from lack of yummy gooey goodness, but from never being able to finish a good piece of fiction again, always distracted and unfocused. 

All that worry for naught!  I know better not to worry but I just can’t help myself sometimes.  I found this quote by Glenn Turner.  I think he sums it up well. 

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. 

Ain’t that the truth?  I learned this lesson in more ways than one this weekend.  Not only is my hunger back.  My period is back!  After 9 months of chemo induced menopause, 9 months of wondering, is this it, menopause at age 45.  I got my answer.  I have never been more excited to go to the store and buy a box of tampons.  My body and mind seem to be screaming out, loud and clear, “No, not yet girl.  Do not throw in the towel.  You are still young, vibrant and tough.  Your appetite and enthusiasm for cookies, books and life is as strong as ever.  You have many periods ahead of you!”    

Bring it, I say, the cramps, the pimples, the sugar cravings, and the hormonal angst.  And move over James Hollis.  It’s time to unpack those boxes.  There is enough room for all of you on my bookshelves.  And while I am at it, show me the cookies! 

Welcome back Aunt Flow!  Welcome back Leo Tolstoy and James Joyce!  Welcome back butterscotch oatmeal cookies.  Welcome back girl!

3 Responses to “Welcome Back Girl!”

  1. Tracey Jackson Says:

    Excellent!!!! You have been such an inspiration to so many people. You have travelled this difficult journey with such dignity, wisdom and humor. I wish you all the health and happiness life can heap on you in the years ahead. Rock Em!

  2. Deanne Says:

    Thank you Tracey! Your humor from your book “Between a Rock and a Hot Place” has rubbed off on me.

  3. angela Says:

    YESSS!!! Welcome back indeed! This post is so full of life and excitement that I am buzzing right now. I’m so happy for you Deanne – you deserve this and more! And I LOVE the pic – it really captures the spirit you conveyed :D

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