Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Dawn

Life can change immensely over the course of a year. 
On this day last year I found out I had cancer.  I was in shock.  I felt hopeless.  I was terrified of the future.  I couldn’t imagine how I would get through the next hour, let alone a day or a week.  It was one of the worst days of my life.
On this day, I am cancer free.  I feel full of hope.  Full of gratitude.  I try to embrace each hour.  Each day.  Each week.  Every day I am here is a great day.  Ok, let’s not be crazy.  I have bad days.  But I appreciate that a bad day is still a life-filled day.
It is officially time to put this whole cancer thing in the past.  It’s time to move forward.  For now, I’m going to stop this blog.  It’s become a place of focusing on the negative aspects of my recovery, and I need to focus on the positive.  I need to focus on living.  Should I need it, I know where to come.  It will always be here for me.  I will leave it online as a place of information for those just starting their journey.  But I don’t need it anymore.  I may occasionally write a “still cancer free!” post after my regular check-ups, but that will be the extent of it.
I also find it appropriate to end it at a time of year when it’s tradition to share gratitude and thanks.  My cup overflows with gratitude to each of you who have been with me through this journey.  You will never know the strength you gave me.  You are the reason I got through this.  You are the reason people say I’m strong.  Thank you for laughing at my dark humor, and for knowing when I needed a note or an E-mail or cookies. 
 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not So Special

It was two days before Thanksgiving of last year that my life was forever changed.  I was given the cancer diagnosis that kicked off six months of grueling treatment.  It was the initial diagnosis that came with almost no detail and I remember spending the long Thanksgiving weekend wondering if it would be my last Thanksgiving.

I have been feeling emotional the last few days, and I’m trying to understand why.  I think part of it is that I can put a year of fighting cancer behind me.  I can move forward into a new phase.  I also think this type of anniversary is bringing the whole experience to the forefront of my mind.
Lastly, I think a little bit of the emotion also may be the difficulty of assimilating back into normal.  When you have cancer, you become “special”.  Everyone gives you a break because you’re going through something awful.  People lower their expectations of you.  And that is a good thing because just getting out of bed can be an accomplishment when you are going through cancer treatment. 
But then life goes back to normal.  And the expectations are raised and you are not so special.  And working a 60 hour work week isn’t enough to even feel like you accomplished something normal, let alone special.  And it’s hard to make that adjustment mentally.    
I feel a bit broken still and I’m still mentally healing.  But after a year, no one wants to hear about it anymore.  And this is not an awful thing.  It’s just human nature.  Life goes on.  And so I smile and I stop talking about it, and I try to move forward too.  And slowly but surely, the smile is becoming more genuine.  And some days I go nearly all day without thinking about cancer. 

I have much to do, so I must stop this monologue.  There is a refrigerator to clean, and a house to get ready for Thanksgiving.  But I will try to move forward with a spirit of gratitude and joy.  Because those are the things that make us all feel special.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hair Progression

I have tons rattling around in my head that I need to post.  My mind is blown by the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer this month a year ago.  It's hard to believe and it's been a little difficult to comprehend all I've been through.  I'll save these thoughts for some big mega post in a week or two.  In the meantime, I'll show you what I do when I'm on conference calls that won't end!  I photograph my hair!

In early June I thought it would NEVER grow.

A few weeks showed quite a bit of growth!

At this point I was only wearing the wig about half the time.  It was July and HOT.

Here I felt like the little squirrely best friend from Fright Night.  Seriously bad hair in August.

Getting better in September, but still not enough to really style.

November - It has more curl than it did before!  I wish the front were as nice as the back.

November - Sad sad bangs...