Enjoying the View from the Willamette

This is my first blog about breast cancer and I find myself staring at the blank page with trepidation. What to write about? Sometimes it feels like all I do is talk about breast cancer… think about breast cancer. Though, truth be told, I think about it and talk about it less often than I did when I was diagnosed in January of 2007.

After a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and then hormone therapy…I’ve spent the past year trying to get my health back into shape. It was at the Komen Race for the Cure Expo that I discovered Pink Phoenix, the first American all breast cancer survivor dragonboating team. Not being much of an athlete, it was my oldest daughter that arm-twisted me into signing up.

Last year was my first season with the Pinks. We practice 10 months out of the year on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The first few months were brutal as my out-of-shape body dealt with a lot of exercise. I gave myself until the end of race season to see whether I would stick with the team. Practices 3 times a week and weekend races took much of my time and energy.

By the end of the season last year, I realized that I actually liked paddling (yes, it took that long to like it!). The women are great, the paddling is hard, and the view from the river is absolutely spectacular. I get to see the city from a new perspective.

It’s now 2009…and we are back on the river. I’m not nearly as sore as I was when I first started (even with the 2 month break). I find myself actually happy, which is pretty unusual for me when talking about exercise.

I find myself looking forward to practice tomorrow, rain and all.

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