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Gin Schaffer is a former higher education administrator and works part-time at MWHC's Regional Cancer Center as the Coordinator of Integrative Medicine. She lives in downtown Fredericksburg and enjoys walking and biking with her husband and 2 kids (especially if coffee is involved).

Pink Ribbon Journey

A little update on my Pink Ribbon Journey and an observation of my holiday-planning ways.


My family and I will be heading to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I’m excited for Jack and Anna to spend time with their cousins.  I think the change of scenery will be good for all of us. I know we will all be most thankful for my having completed the tough stretch of chemotherapy - my hair is starting to show signs of returning!


I start radiation on December 1st and continue drug infusion therapy until July.  I go for radiation every day, Monday-Friday, for 7 weeks.  Fatigue is my main enemy right now and radiation will pile it on.  So, I find myself trying to jam pack as much holly-jolly holiday into our schedules now.  What I find funny, and of course, not surprising, is that just a few weeks ago I swore I would take it easy this holiday season - does this sound familiar to you?


As I look at the calendar and see the various notes on tree lightings, Santa sightings, concerts, and photo ops, I realize that I’ve probably filled the calendar up because I have a guilt complex.  It doesn’t really matter whether it’s justified, it’s just there.  That’s the crappy thing about guilt, you see it, feel it, and probably even smell it and taste it.  Getting rid of it? Well, that often feels like an epic battle and it ends up looking like one busy-ass schedule.


This fast-tracking to attend concerts, tree lightings, and other events may be because I feel like this holiday just has to be special. I think I’m fearful that if I don’t plan these things, I’m letting my cancer control our first Christmas in Fredericksburg. Also, I worry for Jack and Anna.  I always worry about them, but this is that special kind of worry that just hates how things are different right now.


All of our holiday decorations are in storage and I’ve been agonizing, panicking really, about how we are going to bring Christmas to this apartment, this obvious departure from holidays past.  Although I know Steve will take care of the logistics, he's great at that, it's the realization that it can’t be the way it was and that makes me a bit sad.  I miss that settled feeling that just makes a house a home, it’s the little things.  If only Extreme Makeover - Storage Unit existed and I could get Ty Pennington to “move that tree” for me.


I’ve approached my cancer one day at a time and so, I guess I'll take the same approach and keep moving forward, keep hustling this holiday season. I think it's that fear of missing something and wondering if I'll have another chance. But, by now, we all know the answer to that problem...I swear, that “Let it Go” song from Frozen is so ridiculously right.


This picture below was taken at The Depot in Culpeper. I wish you and your family peace, love, and joy this Thanksgiving.



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