Continue with an open mind . . .

Thursday, January 2, 2014

As I Lay Awake . . . {12/365}

As I lay here; my boy snoring softly beside me, I think about the upcoming week. 
The week of new beginnings. 
Fresh starts. 
The week I get yet more test results back. 

It's scary. 
I'm prepared for it this time though. 
Prepared for the ugly word. 
Prepared for the overwhelming feelings. 

What a lie. 
Can one ever really be prepared for such a thing?

I'm not. 
Not really. 

I won't be as absolutely frozen as the last time. 
But in no way am I prepared to hear that more of this ugly disease has invaded my otherwise healthy body. 

I have too many things to accomplish. 

Thanks to the last 6 months I've adopted a "wait for nothing" mentality. 

I have always wanted to attend university. 

I did the college route. 
Wasn't the same. 
It didn't give the same satisfaction. 
Although it was time well spent. 

I've always wanted to drive. 
To own a house. 
A new car. 

Just to name a few of the bucket list items. 

Monday begins the first day of my university journey; primary education. 
Only those who know me best would know that this isn't something I pulled from thin air. 

8 days from now I start driving school. 

Tuesday I head back to work full time. 
That house will be ours. 
Merry Christmas 2014 to us. 

2014 will be a year of big things. 
Great things.

It will be our year. 
The year we grab life by the horns and start living. 

Because if this journey is teaching me anything; it's that life is precious. 
Time is precious.

It is something I will never waste again. 

On waiting for the 'right time'; there will never be a better time then now. 

On waiting for someone to care; to show any more interest in your life other then what they can get from me.  
I'm through waiting. 
I'm through being used. 
I'm through making someone else a priority in my life when I will never be one in theirs. 

Want my help?
Want a favor?
Then be prepared to be involved. 
In my life.
Don't like those terms?
Ask someone else. 
I surely don't mind. 
It's your loss; not mine. 
Just remember when I say no; it's because of you - not me. 

I will focus my attention on those I love; those who matter and make me feel as I too matter. 

I will focus on us. 
On living out our dreams. 
Making sure each and every one becomes reality. 

I will focus on him. 
Of making sure he knows that I'll always be here. 
That unlike everyone else; I will never become too busy. 
Too caught up in frivolous things that he feels like a burden. 

I will focus on enjoying life more then the pay check. 
There will always be an opportunity to make money, to save money, but there won't always be a chance to live. 
To enjoy each other the way we can today. 
To live today. 
As tomorrow comes; today is lost to us forever. 
I want to exchange today for something great. 
Memories with him, family and friends. 
Moments to be cherished. 

So as I lay here listening to him sleep, I plan. 
For tomorrow, next week, this month and the eleven that will follow. 

Call me over achiever. 
Call me crazy. 
But I'll look back on my life with a smile on my face and no regrets; will you? 

"Live to win; dare to fail"


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013 . . . . {11/365}

Goodbye 2013.

A year filled with changes.
Some good; some bad.
All important.

January seen me changing career paths.
A contract pulled early.
The beginning of something big - I had yet to realize.

February seen me taking a step back - literally.
Back to an old job; slightly old habits.
A realization that I had made the right decision.

March allowed us a break.
To allow the wheels begin their motion.

Oh April.
It brought a wedding; for two people we've all been waiting to finally tie the knot!
It also brought the start of a very quick, terminal illness to my extended family.

May brought the end.
The end of a life stolen way too soon.
It was hell; a pure living hell - watching a man disappear in front of your very eyes.
It also brought with it a clearer vision of what I wanted or rather didn't want for my life.

Brought with it another career change.
I ended my time with a company I had once enjoyed.
To instead pursue a dream.
A dream of taking photographs.
Of preserving the moments in life that can be so easily forgotten.
A dream of working for myself.

It closed out with me receiving news of another kind - the lump in my neck had grown and was now joined by two small spots.
Surgery was now a reality; no longer just a possibility.

The middle of a Summer I decided to spend with the man of my dreams.
To dedicate simply to us.
To do nothing, but awake each morning and spend the day together.
Doing everything or nothing.
Didn't matter.
We were together.
We weren't living for the almighty dollar; we were enjoying each other and learning what truly mattered in life.
Each other.

The summer of us continues.
 Surgery to be booked.

Surgery #1.
Tests, doctors appointments and checkups start to fill my days.
I go under the knife - all is well.
I come home and start to put things behind me.

Some karmic god had other plans.
News of the Cancer comes.
I start to question most things in my life.
Most things; not him.
He is my rock.
My anchor.

November brings with it more appointments.
More tests.
A date for surgery #2.
Then a delay - a nasty chest infection.

December brought surgery #2.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fear . . . {10/365}

We all live our lives with fear.
Be it spiders; mice; heights; small spaces - just to name a few.

I never knew true; absolute fear until very recently.
When sitting in a doctors office receiving news that a test result showed several nodules on my lungs.

It didn't sink in right away.
I tried to focus on the positive things.

But two days ago; I felt pressure on my chest.
It was hard to catch a deep breath.
The fear hit me like a ton of bricks.

I kept busy.
It's almost Christmas; I took on as much as possible.
Doing so many things for others.
In part, for my own selfish reasons.
To hide the truest of facts:
I'm terrified.

Absolutely terrified.

Not of being sick.
But of being robbed of a life I have just barely started to live.
About not waking up and looking in his eyes again.
Never walking down the aisle on my way to becoming his wife.
Never holding a precious new life in my arms as they scream their first breath.
Never again simply being curled up on the couch with him on a cold winters day.
Never again sharing a laugh at the simplest of this things until our sides hurt.

8 years.
Over the course of those 8 years we have become each others world.
Where one doesn't begin and end; just exist together.
It works for us.

It hasn't always been easy.
We've struggled with things; we are human.
But through it all we just grew stronger.
We've stood by each other, when at times it seemed like the world was against us.
When one of us would make a decision, the other was 110% on board.
We didn't necessarily agree on everything, but we supported each other through it regardless.
We are each others strongest ally; cheerleader; supporter; muse; sounding board; best friend and rock.
When everyone and the world had become too busy; we've had each other.
Together we can get through anything.

 So when the words of my doctor finally sank in, my first thoughts were of him.
Not me.

He restores my determination simply by existing.
I looked at him last night and began to think.
I have to remain positive.
I have to beat this.
Whatever it turns out to be.
Because I can't lose a future that consists of this man.
A future that will, without a doubt, be amazing.

So I keep my tears for when he's not home.
As I type these words; they flow.
Some times my whole body will vibrate with sobs; I take a break; compose and type.
Because here is my outlet.
Here I can let it all out and not have to worry about burdening anyone.
Here I can cry a river and feel like I'm not drowning.
For us; I'll beat this unknown.
I'll win the fight against whatever has decided to invade my body.
For us.

"All my life; All my love; All for you."
"You are the reason I became stronger, but still you are my weakness."


Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm Gonna Love You Through It . . . . . . . {9/365}

Because it hits home . . .

When life as you know it ends . . . {8/365}

October 22, 2013.
The phone rang.
ENT Consultants it read.
The call we had been waiting for.
The call I'll never forget; if I live to be 100.
"I apologize for not calling yesterday, I still hadn't received the reports . . .
. . . there was cancer . . ."
I listened to the rest of what he said.
I couldn't call it a conversation; that would have required verbal participation on my part.
I had no words.
Across from me sat a man trying to read my face; gage my reaction.
Apparently I gave it all away.
I ended the call after receiving yet another apology for the having to deliver bad news.
I simply sat.
28 years old.
I had cancer.
No.  This simply didn't make sense.
I was healthy.
All levels were perfect.
I was numb.
There was no way to wrap my mind around this.
We sat in each others arms and let the tears fall.
There were no words spoken.
There were no words period.
I now had to tell my mother that her only child, of just 28, had cancer.
Just 24 hours after she had been at the hospital with chest pains, where she was told to avoid stress.
How does one cushion that blow?
 I couldn't.

So I picked up that phone.
The words just flowed.
As did her response: "No . . . oh my god no . . "

My response to those who wanted to come over was that I wanted a few hours to process the news.
A few hours I thought would be enough.
The hours and days that followed weren't enough.
Not nearly.
 I started to think an entire lifetime wouldn't be enough.

This word.
This disease.
It had attacked our family so many times.
But the sensation when it's you.
There are no words to describe it.

Life as we knew it had ended.

"You never how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have"


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Invaluable . . . {6/365}

I believe we all have moments in our life in which it hits us as to how vulnerable we really are.
We're human.  Not invincible.  Fragile.
I had mine.
I had neck surgery 13 days ago.
It was an experience that made me reflect on things a little more clearly.
I'm a realist with a side order of optimism so I went into this knowing the surgery was necessary.
There was no avoiding it.
So I held my head up, plastered on a smile and went on about my day.
News of the pending procedure wasn't something I shared with many.
I didn't want the attention.  I'm so totally not an attention seeker.
I also, truly, didn't want to talk about it.
The decision was made.
I just wanted it to be behind me so I could get on with my life.
But some things could not be avoided.
Someone needed to know what my wishes would be if something were to go terribly wrong.
Did I want to be an organ donor they asked.
Would I be okay with a blood transfusion if need be?
I had no idea.
I'm 28 and healthy.
These are not things I had given much serious thought to.
I just didn't see the need.
And now I had no time to think; they all just wanted answers.

I got through it all with my boy by my side.
He was terrified and I refused to let mine show as to not make his fear worse.
I kept my brave face on until they strapped me to the operating table.
Then the tears flowed.
I couldn't leave them behind.
I needed to come out of this.
Once I woke up, I knew I could handle it from there.
I just needed to place my faith, trust and life in the hands of several incredible doctors.
I had never been so scared in my life.

And I woke up.
Everything hurt and I was nauseous.
But I woke up.

They gave me medication for the pain and nausea and the haze lifted.
I was awake.
I was alive.

I was never more relieved.
Pure ecstasy.
That's all I had prayed for.
It's all either of us had prayed for.

Upstairs I went to be greeted by the very relived faces of my boy, mom and grandma.

Determination kicked in.

I was going to get through this with flying colors.
I had seen my mom through so many things; I knew I had this.
I was the daughter of an ultimate fighter after all.

Less then 24 hours and I was sent home.

Things were stiff.
I was weak.
I was frustrated by my inability to move as I could be.
But I was alive and I was home.

I slept on the couch.
He slept on the floor next to me.
For 9 days.

I kept pushing myself.
Little by little.
I simply would not accept the lack of motion.

'It hasn't even been a week!'
'Let yourself heal'
'Don't be so stupid!!'
'Let me help you!'

I heard it all.
I pretended not too.

I knew my limitations.
I would just push a little more everyday.
Just enough so that the mobility came back without the need of the pain medication.
I hate medication.
I avoided it at all cost.

Within 5 days things had already started to heal over.
The stitches were stuck as a result.
How does one complain about healing too fast?

This girl didn't.

I continued to push.
A little every day.
I continued to eat whole foods.
Lots of water and juice too.
I was getting through this.

We're now at 13 days post op; there is little to no scarring and the bruising is almost completely gone.

I now sit awaiting the test results.
The results that will tell me if this is truly behind me or if this was truly just the beginning of my own personal health battle.

His fear is back.
Mine is not quite so strong this time.
After the past 13 days I have realized just how strong I am.
What I'm made of.
What I'm capable of.

Whatever those results bring; I know I'll come out the winner.
Because I'm the daughter of a fighter.
Because I have a man who loves me unconditionally.
Because I'm stronger then whatever those papers could hold.

'You never know how strong you are; until being strong is the only choice you have.'