In the Air!

In the Air!
400 feet above the ground in Orlando.

Florida

Florida
Taking my first step towards a new life.

Virginia

Virginia
Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!

Graduation

Graduation
Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Hair again!

Hair again!
Growing longer each day

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

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Silliness

Silliness
Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

What Is Familiar Is Calming

This week I am back in Front Royal and made a big decision.  My original trip was going to be three weeks long but I was finding myself steadily getting more and more tired even while resting.  I called the airline and changed my flight back to Michigan to the 23rd rather than the 2nd.  Immediately I felt a total sense of calm and relaxation.  So I knew this was the right decision.  I am going to really miss that extra week with friends but at the same time, I can see now that three weeks was a bit long for me just now:)

So here I am in Front Royal around the places and people I have known longest and I was happy to see that here at least, while there has been change, there isn't that sense of being left behind.  Granted, time hasn't stood still here either but I think I had a deeper connection to this place that even though I've been gone a long time, I'm still a part of it.  

A friend of mine who runs a film company I use to work for summed it up for me.  Since I last saw them, they have grown into a new suite of offices and the business has really taken off with lots of new faces.  Last time I stopped by their office the other day, my friend gave me a really big hug and told me that I had been grandfathered into this new family!  I had to get out of there pretty quick because that one statement was going to bring on the water works for me!  It meant more to me then maybe he knew.  While life has moved on with them, they weren't leaving me behind no matter how long I was away.  That was just the way it was, like it was a forgone conclusion:)

I'm not in any way saying that other friends don't say the same thing and mean it whole heartedly, but there is a difference.  One I can't quite put my finger on.  I think the difference is because this place and these people have known me longest.  I went through a lot of growing up here and most of these people saw that or were a part of it.  

I joke with friends a lot about Front Royal but the truth is, this town and these people played a big role in my life.  They give me inspiration, encouragement and reminders...all things we need as life moves on.

Last night I had dinner with my oldest friends in town, Heidi, Mike and Cameron.  I met this family within a few months of coming to Front Royal when I was 18 and first starting Christendom.   They are the friends that no matter how much time goes by, it's like it has just been a day or so since you last saw each other.  Heidi is like a sister to me, someone I can confide things to that I wouldn't think of saying to anyone else.  


While I am leaving Virginia early, that choice has enabled me to do more here in Front Royal and reconnect with a place and with people who have seen me change in many ways over the years.  This last change, they know maybe better then I do that I've got this covered.  That this change is just another step through life.  That is a soothing feeling to me.  While I know I don't have to pretend to always be feeling great around any of my friends anywhere, there is a safe feeling about being in this particular place and around these particular people.  More of a home feeling.  

I'm happy to know that no matter how much life might change, where I might go and change myself, I can always come back here and know, even if all my friends have moved away, this place will always be a home to me.  Walking down Main Street, driving up Skyline, or just sitting in the park listening to the ever changing sounds of children backed by the never changing sight of mountains, this is home.  I know when I'm completely better I want to come back here even just for a few days to get lost on the trails that crawl over mountains and valleys.  A total sense of peace and happiness!  And I AM going to get there!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why DId This Pop Up Here!?

Being back in Virginia has been pretty great, but it is also making me face different things that I have just put off dealing with.  They aren't bad things really, but they aren't easy either.  It has been an interesting time of a mix of laughing, smiling, thinking and yes, even a little crying.  I think crying is just going to happen for a while.  I do feel better after letting myself cry though.

I find myself so incredibly happy to be back with my friends and even meeting new people:)  It feels so very good to laugh over jokes, silly things or even nothing at all!  Although i am also learning that, as a friend pointed out, I have been alone way too long!  It comes out in how I deal with being around people, especially larger groups of people.  I don't do very well.  I've had to have things a certain way for so long now that it is hard to break out of some of those habits.  It is also hard to admit that some of those habits I can't break out of just yet.  The pickyness of the food, the need to eat small meals throughout the day.  Not being able to be around large groups of friends for very long at all.  Still need to keep track of the water I drink to make sure I get enough.  And the resting.  Ah yes, the resting is still very important!

I suppose some of the harder parts is realizing that life really did stand still for me...but it didn't stand still for anyone else.  It's hard to wonder if that distance can ever really be closed again.  I know life will move on for me as my energy comes back (and it WILL come back!) but I am seeing it isn't the life I had tucked away in my mind.  A life that just picked up where I had left off.  That's a little scary actually.  Well, ok, it's a lot scary!  How do you deal with that?  Life moving on without you?  Where do you go when that happens?

Being around people again like this has also made me see a lot of insecurities I never knew I had.  I have only been surrounded with kindness and love and support while I have been here...but I still feel like I'm on one side of a line and everyone else is on the other side, watching me.  I see wonderfully confident women who look beautiful and full of life.  I see handsome men, strong and kind and good.  And I'm almost sometimes afraid to try to step over that line back to their side.  I never know when something is going to hit me in such a way to make the tears just come gushing out no matter how I try to stop them!  I want to be around them, talking and laughing but also am hesitant in a way I don't understand.

I was really surprised at how I reacted to returning to the young adult group I use to be a part of.  So many faces I didn't know but all these people and more had been praying for me for so long!  I wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart...to somehow convey to them just how much their prayers held me up and the numerous little miracles that were the result of all their prayers!  I was barely able to get my name out and a short "thank you" before this feeling of fear almost over whelmed me!  I tried so hard to focus on the talk my friend was giving that night but phrases and words just brought on a wave of things I have tried hard not to think about too much and just overwhelmed me!

They were studying the book of Tobit and a mention of Tobit getting married and having children nearly threw me into tears.  I started looking around and saw all these beautiful women who could have kids and the men around them who probably wanted that!  It just brought it crashing down on me that I can't have kids!  One sentence!  It brought on a whole slew of insecurities about myself around other people!  It was ridiculous!  I'm pretty sure every person there would tell me they were unfounded...yet there they were!  Rather big and ugly too!

So while this trip is the much needed break from Michigan and everything that has happened there, I think it is also going to be a time for me to maybe start trying to deal with these things that have been hitting me at the oddest times!  I would much rather just hold on to my friends, laugh, talk and yes, rest!  So yes, this trip is turning out to be a mix of easy and difficult.  But I suppose that is life...or at least my life:)  I wonder if anyone else has had these problems with insecurities, fears, and inability to control the tears.  Ok, the tears are just a part of menopause but the rest...really?

I suppose I am asking for more prayers then:)  I have to deal with all of this eventually.  Perhaps a safe place to start is surrounded by friends:)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Home Again With Friends

Last Friday morning I landed in DC at Regan and took a deep breath as I walked outside.  I was HOME!!  True, it is just a visit...but a visit that I have been holding on to since last spring.  For months I was thinking of that moment.  Dark nights, dreary days, tired days, sunny days...scared, strong, weak...through it all I kept on thinking that at the end I will be able to go home to Virginia for a visit with the friends I have missed for so long!

I did push a little too much over the weekend but my adrenaline was pumping and nothing was  going to slow me down.  Finally, Sunday I was at a brunch that friends gathered at and realized...I had hit a wall.  So curled up on my friends bed in her room, friends came in one at a time to just sit and visit, talk, laugh, hug and just spend some time together.  I realized as ridiculous as I felt laying on that bed, I had some pretty amazing friends who were pulling for me and just as happy to see me as I was to see them!!  I am beyond blessed to have them in my life!

Monday was a day spent resting...for which my body was profoundly grateful!!  I have discovered that while I am getting my energy back slowly each month...I am really not use to being around more than a few people at a time!  Talk about sensory overload!  But as difficult as it is...it makes me happy at the same time!  I might be overloaded and get tired faster....but at least I have those people around me again that makes me tired!  It is a pretty good trade off!

Each evening friends have come by with dinners and their wonderful company!!!  Sitting and talking or watching a movie makes my life feel as normal as it is going to get for now:)  A taste of what it will be in hopefully a few more months...just without out the laying down:)

Last night I was introduced to an Appletini!  So VERY good!  Girls down at the hotel bar laughing, having a drink and just having a good time!!!  Again, life as I remember it!!!

Tonight I get the chance to thank a lot of people I don't know for their unending prayers and support through this whole thing.  I am excited, nervous and scared all at once!  Trying to fight the urge of just hiding once I get there!  But I want to meet these people and thank them...then sit back and watch as much of a friend's talk on the book of Tobit as I can.  Praying God gives me a little extra energy to last a little longer tonight with so many people around me!

Can't stop smiling...and hope that continues!!