StoryCorps at SHC: Cindy and Larry Loper

When I do these meditations...and they tell you to go to this wonderful place. It's with you.

Cindy Loper (CL): It was my first time back to yoga because I just hadn't been feeling well and I was nervous about the port and I was sore. And finally, when I got this chemo break, I thought, Okay, get back there, you know it's good for you. And it was a brand-new place. I didn't know where to put my stuff. I didn't know anybody. And I just started to cry.

CL: I felt so overwhelmed with something so simple. It's hard to explain this, like, I really want to feel normal. And that's why I was going back to yoga to feel normal, and I wasn't quite there. But the kindness of the other students there, they recognized right off, I was new, and they went and got props without asking me and made sure I knew where to be. And just any tiny little kindness is big. I have friends that text me every Friday when they know I'm having chemo. And one friend always sends me GIFs. It's the animated photos and she sends me Corgi ones doing crazy stuff. They just text me – “How are you doing?” “Thinking good thoughts for you,” “Praying for you.” And I count on it. It's been really healthy. It's been really valuable. And I've appreciated it.

Larry Loper (LL): Everybody wants to bring you dinner. It's like a one trick pony. Can I bring you dinner? We're like I do most of the cooking -- and I'm not undergoing chemo right now. So I'm, I'm pretty good. We have no children at home. So we don't have any baggage there. And then a whole weird bunch of things don't taste good to you.

CL: Although the next door neighbors they make great food. They can always make food. For some reason that tastes good every time

LL: They do rock the Italian well, don't they?

CL: Yeah

LL: I know. I'm excited about maybe going with some friends back to see the Tour de France. Yeah, oddly enough in France.

CL: Yeah. Part of me what I'm learning to do is to hold outcomes or things off to the side with love and with hope and focus on today. Today, we're having a great day, we had a lovely lunch together. And just holding out that trip with a lot of hope, in anticipation and excitement. But knowing that outcomes change too. We had to give up two trips this fall - broke my heart. And just knowing that we never know what's going to happen in life. And if that can happen, it's going to be super wonderful. And if for some reason it doesn't, we'll figure something else out too that's good.

LL: It's gone through your brain how this affects your teaching career

CL: Absolutely. At first my ego was so into this when I wasn't going to go on disability. There's no way when you come in here, you think I'm going to get a lumpectomy get the radiation Get out, get back, nobody will know. And all of a sudden, you're on six months disability, and it's just, ugh. It's heartbreaking at first and then when they send you the email while we have to tell everybody because we're hiring the person to fill in for you. And then - your ego is - you have to take it out of it. You are replaceable and that kind of hurts. But also, I've had to really focus my energy on just feeling better. I've loved my job. I taught special ed for 15 years, super stressful, but super great. And we've worked really hard all our lives and it's time to enjoy some of the spoils of that. And when I do these meditations, these guided meditations, and they tell you to go to this wonderful place. It's with you. And it's fishing. And it's in the mountains. Never once have I been in the classroom, even though I love it. I just have that clarity now.

Sound Editor: Gabriel Maisonnave

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