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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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nothing Has Changed and Yet Everything Has Changed.

So I realized that I haven't written on here since last May.  A lot has happened since then.  I moved back in to my own place back in Kalamazoo and started Graduate school.  I learned a few weeks in to the semester that perhaps taking 18 graduate credits less than a year after chemo was not the brightest idea in the world. After laying in bed for two weeks with a combination of the flu and complete exhaustion I had a talk with my advisor and eased up on my credits and extended my program to two years.

Last semester was an eye opener for me.  First of all, my brain is still scrambled from the chemical bath it took for three and a half months.  Not as bad as it had been but still not good.  I also discovered that my learning style has changed quite a bit!!  On top of that, my eyes are acting differently now.  Nothing has changed with them really but they get tired so much easier now!  Very frustrating!  My sensitivity to light and also specific kinds of lights has gone up a ridiculous amount and I am learning new ways to deal with that.  Explain to me why every public building in the world has florescent lights???!!!  Add to all of this that while I am now on HRT's, the symptoms of menopause have not gone away completely.  Exhaustion still hits when I push to do new things like get up at 6:30 in the morning and head in to Practicum.  I love what I am learning there and am really excited about this semester, but I am also back to taking naps in the afternoon!!  The lovely bursts of heat and cold are still coming, although in all fairness not as often.

I guess I was hoping once I got back into the real world, all of these things would disappear.  I've managed to have three clear CT scans and my three month exams come out normal each time so far. I was hoping that these good results would be the magic wand that made all the residual effects disappear.  But you know what?  I'm exhausted every day.  I toss and turn many nights trying to sleep or trying to get cool or warm up.  I sit in class feeling like an idiot sometimes unable to get the words I know to be the right answer to come out.  I still get indescribably terrified whenever I have to see a doctor.  Every time a friend of mine gets pregnant or has a baby I have this mixed feeling of being so happy for them and wanting to just curl up and cry.  Oddly enough, the safest place for me, for a few minutes, is when I walk back into the infusion room where I had chemo and see my nurses.  When I am there and see them, for those few minutes I can actually see the progress I've made through their eyes.  I can relax and let go of being strong for a few minutes.  And when I'm able to do that, I feel this incredible relief!  I don't cry, I don't freak out.  I'm actually laughing the whole time I'm there!!  After that visit I feel like I can go back out and keep moving forward.

Despite everything that hasn't changed, so much has changed!  I have to remember that.  I can do so much more than I could this time last year!  I don't require a wheel chair to get through an airport anymore!  I have hair on my head again and it looks halfway decent:).  My wig is permanently put away!  I can read more and actually retain most of what I read!  I can talk on the phone and not become exhausted after only a few minutes of conversation!  I got a 3.90 GPA my first semester back in school!  I'm getting up early in the morning and going to what is basically a part time job while also going to classes and doing the required home work.  I am actually planning a future in a career that means a great deal to me personally!    So many really good things are going for me in all parts of my life.    I am meeting wonderful people in my program and gaining new experiences every day.  And actually, more often then not I am really happy!  

I think that is the biggest change.  I'm happy again.  Sure, there are moments when I get discouraged and anxious and scared.  I don't think those will ever go away completely.  But then I walk into my classroom building on campus and see a classmate wave me over to the table everyone is sitting at or I get a call from a friend who has a unique ability to make me laugh no matter how bad I feel.  Or I get a text message that makes me smile and I can put everything bad behind me and just be happy.  I think that is the most important change, being able to be happy with the life you are now leading.

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