Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'm back at trapeze!!! :)

I'm taking the beginner class, and it doesn't feel weird...I'm happy to be there. The cancer treatments definitely altered my body in some ways and affect/change my trapezing, and I have to adjust, but I can do this and I'm overjoyed. There are certain stretches that are difficult for me to do, since the left side of my chest and armpit is tight due to scar tissue and radiation, but there are other stretches that I'm surprised to still be able to do fairly well, despite not having done them in so long. I did have to leave one class half an hour early due to Tamoxifen side effects, and that was a bad night for me - I actually cried a little while walking down the stairs and back to my car, suddenly in such a "F you, cancer" mood.

But this week's class was better!

We did my ALL-TIME FAVORITE trick, the catcher's lock roll down. Sorry the quality of this photo is so bad, but it's the only one I have of this particular trick/position. And it's an old photo, from the 2nd (and only!) recital I did a few years ago. (I'm not really into performing! I just do this for the fun of it!) In the photo, I'm actually in a double catcher's lock (e.g. I rolled up twice), but this week I just rolled up once, to roll out of it. The roll out is super fast and super fun; it makes me giggle and shriek and feel so happy I want to hug the entire world. I did it again and again, not even noticing that I was getting golf-ball-sized, purple bruises on my arms!

My body's bruising quite a bit from trapeze, and I've had plenty of sore muscles to deal with, and some palm blisters, but all of that will calm down once my body adjusts to trapezing regularly again. Which it will! Already, my body remembers so many more movements on the trapeze than I expected, which is so exciting and such a relief. It feels SO GOOD to be back, and this is EXACTLY the "physical therapy" I needed!!!

1 in 8

Remember I made and decorated that plaster cast of my torso? It's on display all month at a local cafe, along with several other women's amazing torsos, as part of the "One in Eight Torso Project."

The following is the personal statement I wrote to accompany it in the display:

"At the start of Forest Moon’s torso-making workshop, I did not have a clear sense of how I was going to decorate my torso, and I was surprised by how much joy ended up in it.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2009 and spent the whole winter in treatment. After 3 surgeries and 6 weeks of daily radiation, finally it was over, in early May 2010. The sunny, spring theme of my torso depicts the immense joy and relief I felt when spring was in full swing and my daily trips to the hospital finally ended. I felt like I was blooming back to life along with the trees and flowers, and I spent the summer falling in love. The sun on my left (treated) breast was inspired by the Beatles lyrics, “It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter…here comes the sun.”

And yet, the one thing the winter was NOT was lonely! I was so grateful to have incredible support from my friends and family and community. I felt swept up in a tidal wave of love, especially on the day when the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), where I’ve been a board member and student for 5 years, hosted a benefit show for me.* The trapezist on my torso represents the love and support I received from the NECCA community, as well as my passion for trapeze. Trapezing in between surgeries and during radiation contributed greatly to my healing!

Now that I’m a year past treatment, my focus has expanded beyond just my breast cancer to the breast cancer epidemic as a whole – specifically, the connections between breast cancer and the environment. On a regular basis, I educate myself about the dangerous chemical cocktails found in our air, water, soil, food, and products, and advocate for their elimination. I will never know what caused my cancer, and I’m sure it’s very complex, but I spent the first 23 years of my life living in a town with a breast cancer rate 20% higher than that of the rest of the state, so I believe the environment at least played a role. Now when I look at my decorated torso, at the clear blue sky and vibrant green grass, what I see is that human health depends upon the Earth’s health, and upon our willingness and ability to treat the Earth’s body with as much love and care as we treat our own."

*Note: Although I didn't have the space to include these details in my statement, I want to acknowledge and clarify that although the benefit was held at the NECCA studio, it was spearheaded by Amanda and Henry of SHOW Studio, a separate Circus Arts facility. Thank you, Amanda and Henry!!