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Hello, 2020! Looking Back, Looking Forward

Here we go, my first blog post of 2020 – my first blog post of the new decade! That sounds so strange, doesn’t it? First things first though. I hope you had a lovely holiday. If yours was difficult due to whatever reason, I’m sorry. Others care. I care.

It seems like everyone is sharing reflections about not just the past year but the past decade. It’s what a lot of us bloggers do to kick off the New Year, so I’ll do the same.

I wanna hear from you too, so be sure to share a reflection or two of yours with a comment below.

Unless it’s year’s end, or as was the case this time around, decade’s end as well, some people get bent out of shape and suggest you should not look back ‘cuz you aren’t going that way and all that other malarkey.

You might want to read, Don’t Look Back & Other Useless Tips.

I say, looking back is important for a whole lot of reasons. So, look back. Look forward. Look any which way you darn please. And do it on whatever day you choose as well. Looking back and reflecting are not things to be done only at year’s end.

Looking back. Let’s start with that.

I’ve been around for a fair number of decades now and I gotta say, the last one would rank among the worst for me. Cancer raised serious havoc and plenty of it, that’s for darn sure. The decade prior to the last one was cancer heavy as well due to my mother’s experience, so that’s nearly two decades in which cancer raised its unique sort of hell in my family. Enough!

I’ll spare you the entire litany of unpleasant cancer-related crap of the most recent decade, and will just site a few highlights, or rather low lights, of that particular timeline.

Dear Hubby and I didn’t waste any time getting the unpleasantness started last decade. We heard those dreaded words, you have ‘a’ cancer, in April, 2010. For added bad measure, there was the BRCA2+ revelation and all the baggage that brought. A bunch of surgeries were deemed necessary, more than I prefer to recall, including my bilateral mastectomy, port placement, expander/implant swap out, bilateral salpingo oophorectomy, hysterectomy, nipple recon, and shortly thereafter, a meniscus repair surgery. (Yes, that too was cancer related.)

Other unpleasantness included chemo, baldness, little white pills to take every day, treatment side effects, both short and long term varieties, and a host of other collateral damage issues I won’t bore you with here. But many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Breast Cancer Treatment’s Collateral Damage, Let’s Talk About It

Harder than my own illness (why is it still hard to type “my illness” and take ownership of it?) in many ways, was witnessing the decline, suffering and death of my dad. Watching someone you love decline health-wise is brutal. At the same time, being there, witnessing and supporting them as best you can is a beautiful thing.

Adjusting to being parent-less has turned out to be even harder than I imagined it would be. Everything about grief is so darn hard (including writing about it). I still have stuff to say about all that.

Maybe this decade I’ll be able to write more coherently about it.

Over the past decade, other dear ones died. A few were extended family members and friends. Others I never even met but came to know and care about – ironically because of cancer. Too many to name lest I inadvertently leave someone out, online friends died during the past ten years. Too many stolen far too soon. So many other families like mine were forced to live the nightmare of a metastatic cancer diagnosis. Some are living it right now.

Yes, there was a lot of loss in the past decade.

How Many Times Must Our Hearts Break?

My family also said goodbye to numerous beloved family pets. Many of you understand this particular heartache. Pet grief is real grief too. Never let anyone suggest otherwise.

Saying Goodbye to a Dear Old Dog

The Heartache of Saying Goodbye to Not One But Two Family Pets

This decade will bring with it more loss. That’s the way it is with life. And death. And time. And cancer.

So, those were the hardest parts of the past decade for me. (How do we label that decade anyway? The 10s? The Teens?).

Cancer and loss. They go hand in hand. They just do.

Of course there was other hard stuff too. Like politics, for instance. No need to say more. For now anyway. (Vote! I will say that.)

There were also two more cancer biopsies for me. Once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient. Thereafter, you’re sort of like a science experiment gone bad. Medical people continue to inspect, study, analyze and hypothesize about your body. One of those biopsies was positive. One negative. Bottom line, I am still NED. Still NED and still a little pissed off too, and that is okay.

You are allowed to feel pissed off (or however else you are feeling) too. I mean, who in her/his right mind would not be pissed off about cancer from time to time?

Lots of good stuff happened during the past decade too, of course. All three of my kids got married (two out of three subsequently migrated across the country), there was another college grad, there were new careers started (and my teaching one ended) and let’s not forget the beginning of this little old blog!

Speaking of…there will be a ten-year blogging milestone in September! I know, it’s hard for even me to believe. I must start thinking of some cool way to mark that occasion.

I also wrote and published my books. No small feat for this procrastinator.

My Books

Now, before you stop reading, let’s look forward.

Changing out the calendar to a new year is always nice. Fresh starts. Clean slates. Resolutions. Wait, strike the latter. I don’t do those anymore. (Do you?) New possibilities. Hope.

I think each new year, each new decade is mostly about that. Hope. After all, we humans are hopeful creatures. Most of the time anyway.

Looking forward means different things to each of us. I’m excited for what might be, well, the good things that might be, of course.

A few of those good things center around writing which means these good things center around YOU, Dear Readers. There will be plenty more blog posts and hopefully another book. (I need to get crackin’.)

Btw, comments suggesting what you want to read about here on the blog are welcome. I read every comment left in this space and promise to consider all suggestions.

More good things to look forward to during the coming year(s) are new friendships. New pets. New places to visit. Familiar places to revisit. Dear Hubby’s retirement. New things to learn. More books to read. And so much more. I hope.

Sure, 2020 will bring more unpleasant cancer fallout. For starters, there will be another major surgery this spring. I’ve finally made my decision about what to do regarding the implant rupture situation. I’ll tell you about that later ‘cuz I am choosing not to think about all that quite yet.

I must mention that I’m so grateful our dear Sophie is still here as we begin 2020. She’s nearly 14, and I know all too well that her time with us is limited now. She’s teaching me a thing or two about growing old. I intend to make her final months, years or whatever amount of time we are yet granted with her, her best time yet. I want it to be the time during which she feels most loved, and I vow to think of her rather than me when tough decisions must be made.

In closing, I want to again say, thank you for reading Nancy’s Point in 2019. I’m grateful. A handful of you have been reading for nearly the entire past decade and for you, I feel an immense sense of gratitude. If you’re new here, welcome.

As we move forward together into 2020, remember, I see you. I hear you, and I care about what you have to say.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year! May 2020 and beyond be kind to you. May it be kind to us all.

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What was one of your best moments this past decade?

What was one of your biggest challenges?

What’s something you’re looking forward to in 2020?

What do you want to read more about here on the blog in 2020?

Hello, #2020! Looking Back, Looking Forward #NewYear #blogging #womenshealth #cancer #mastectomy #chemo #grief #loss #breastcancer #petloss

#MerryChristmas from Nancy's Point! #blogging #holidays
Merry Christmas from Nancy's Point!
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Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Know your treatment (surgery) options before committing to a treatment plan.


Tuesday 14th of January 2020

Wonderful post as always. Few things make living with cancer easier, but your writing does that for me. You have a way of not just understanding what so many of us are enduring but to express it so eloquently and, simultaneously, approachably.


Wednesday 15th of January 2020

jneurms, Thank you so much. You always say the nicest things.


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Happy New Year! Looking back and moving forward, I don't think one can be without the other...…. (although sometimes I can equate it to one of those horror films where the girl is running thru the woods,..... in high heels or some other impractical shoe....... and she looks back in terror to see how close the crunching footfalls are getting............... and she falls flat on her face............... and you hear yourself yelling Get up dumbass! Why the hell did you look back!?.......Just Run!!!!! ) And take those stupid shoes off............ Anyway, the past decade.......not so good............or at least the last 5 years have been pretty damn sucky. I gotta be honest, my memory of the first 5 years is completely clouded by the last 5 years. But I am pretty sure I was fairly happy and doing just fine back then though.... Oh, I still wake up hopeful every day, after the coffee kicks in usually And I keep trudging forward thru the woods in my practical shoes Fearing I may fall and break a hip if I go too fast And wondering why some particular body part is hurting so much for the last couple days I do believe I will be forever pissed, just warning everyone ahead of time...….. I really do try to look at the bright side, although with cataracts forming, .............the bright side bothers my eyes now................ And my fathers voice echos in my head Welcome to the golden years......years.....................years He's been saying that to me a lot lately........... Oh we laugh, but even that hurts sometimes.............. Of course I get him back because I take him to the retina doc for his needle in the eye for macular degeneration every 3 months -....... wince........ Yup, we can even laugh about that, my Dad has a good sense of humor I dread the day he stops laughing......................he turns 81 in a couple weeks and I just hope I never have to get those darn needles in my eyes..... Hope comes in many forms....................... Anyway, here's hoping for a happy, healthy 2020 for all!!!! I look forward to more of your wit and wisdom in the coming years, Nancy. Thank you for your continued support for all of us!


Thursday 9th of January 2020

Tarzangela, I know you've had more than your share of challenges during the past decade. Hoping your holidays stirred up many fond memories of your brother. Sounds like you are a lot like your dad! A sense of humor can carry a person through a lot, that's for sure. Yikes, a needle in the eye sounds awful. And yes, hope comes in many forms. Wishing you a happy, healthy 2020 too. Your dad too. Miss mine so much. Thank you for your ongoing support and for your kind (and always witty) words.

Abigail Johnston

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

I stopped doing resolutions a few years back and instead pick a word for each year to focus on. I’m always surprised at how different I think about each word as the year progresses. For 2020, I chose Sacred for my word. Thanks for writing and leading the way for so many of us blogging newbies (I just celebrated the one year anniversary of mine). I appreciate your example and willingness to tackle hard issues as well as consistently telling the truth. Love and light to you for an amazing start to the year and the decade!!


Thursday 9th of January 2020

Abigail, I like your idea of picking a word. A few years back, some of us in the blogosphere started picking three words. I even quit doing that. But picking one, maybe that I could handle. Or not. ha. I do like your word choice. Quite intriguing. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for your kind words. I find it impossible to not talk about the hard stuff. If we don't do that, what's the point? Congrats on your one-year blogging anniversary. I'm a fan!

Claudia Schmidt

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Dear Nancy, Happy New Year! So glad you are looking forward and so looking forward to your new book! Also, FYI, I recently spoke to a woman from a Breast Cancer Education group I am involved with called Pathways and she recently had her textured implants removed and replaced. She was extremely positive about the new procedure where implants are put in front of the muscle instead of inside the muscle (which is what I had done and I believe you did too?) and she said that while the surgery was very annoying with drains again (argh) she is now very, very happy with how the new implants feel in front of the muscle, without any tugging or pulling as she felt with the previous surgery, when they were implanted inside the muscle. I have that same tight/tugging/pulling issue and am considering getting mine redone to go in front of the muscle (I know you and I had briefly discussed) so wanted to share that with you because she said it was truly remarkable how much better they feel in front of the muscle. So, hopefully, if you're deciding to have yours redone, you will feel the same afterwards. All my best for a wonderful 2020 for you and yours. xo


Thursday 9th of January 2020

Claudia, Thank you so much for sharing the information about implant placement. My new plastic surgeon and I did discuss this and she did mention they'd likely feel a whole lot better with different placement. I'm still contemplating, but have pretty much made my decision. I'll be sharing it at some point. Not quite ready yet. It's interesting how procedures evolve even in such a short time. Mine were placed under the muscle as were yours. Thanks so much for the good wishes. Happy New Year to you too, Claudia.