Two Hats

Today I had to wear two hats just to go outside. Two. It’s so cold. My hair is growing back as blond as it was the day I was born, but not quite fast enough! And therefore, I’ll probably be wearing two hats all weekend. Actually I’ll probably be wearing two hats for the rest of my (*long*) life. The hat of a healthy, active, young-hearted mom of two and the hat of a woman waiting for the next scan.
In all honesty, I’ve been lucky with the mild winter we are having, but I’m still cold. Sometimes I take a shower just to warm up, but after washing my body as slowly as possible, I have nothing left to do so I just stand there. No hair to wash. No shaving to do. I just stand there until the warmth has moved into the tips of my toes and the back of my neck turns red. Ha-Redneck.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can be outside for the least amount of time on days like today. I decided to stop working for a month or so-that helps. I am pretty good at making food out of whatever is in my house-so that’s good. I do have kid pickups to do, but hopefully those won’t take too long. Because life goes on…. I’ll wear two hats.

My cancer people told me that this dis-ease is as much of a mind game as anything, but it’s hard to imagine the extent of it unless you are living it. I believe that the cancer is gone. I believe that I am healthy. My exercise regime is getting back to normal and I’m getting stronger every day. My brain seems to be reclaiming some of the sharpness and clarity it once had. Multiple times a day I feel normal. Most days I wake up and it takes a few minutes to remember that there is “something wrong” with me.

When the mind chatter creeps in trying to make me worry about which surgery or treatment is best and how long I can live “cancer-free” and how old my children will be when I do die, my rational self has to talk my anxious self out of even thinking about those things. This happens more than I’d like to admit. Of course, you say, I have “permission” to allow myself to think and feel whatever feelings I have and I know that. I’m not in denial about what the doctor’s say about my disease, but I am an optimist and the more I allow myself to listen to the mind chatter, the more the mind chatter takes over. It’s like a cancer.

Now that I’ve made you think so deeply on this frigid day, let me leave you with this. When I put two hats on one of them is under the other and I tuck it in so you can’t see it. I have a lot of living left to do. I don’t need to become cancer. I don’t need it to takeover my life. I don’t need to talk about it or think about it all the time. In fact, I think it’s better if I don’t.

Most people will never know that I’m wearing two hats.



2 thoughts on “Two Hats

  1. Hi Maggie, I’ve struggled some time (with public speaking) for a while, and this negative thought cascade that you’re talking about has affected me similarly to the point of paralysis. What my therapist told me that’s been helpful is to recognize that these thoughts are there, and will always be there—because you are, after all, human—but that you can push them along so they pass, without judgment. So when you start thinking these thoughts, rather than try to talk yourself out of thinking them, you can say, “Oh, there they are,” then watch them go. Because, as you wrote, you have living to do! And fabulous hats to wear! We are thinking about you. ❤ ❤ ❤


  2. Hey Sweetie,
    Look at it this way. As you move on & live forever, you will wear many hats (even if you are not cold). You wear the hat of a warm, caring, loving Mom to your 2 beautiful children. You wear the hat of a Loving, sexy, happy, devoted wife (to a great husband Jim). A hat of a daughter, who I know your Mom is so very proud of. A hat of a sister, full of laughter, love & always being there for each other. And many other hats that show the world that Maggie Turner VanDuyn is a strong, awesome women who has beat cancer & is moving on to a great full wonderful life. Keep telling your mind that you are getting soooo past this ! I am so very proud of you too.


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