Feeling Good!


Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

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


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!

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

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Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Friday, September 30, 2016

My New Normal Day 44. First Presentation!

Today was a first for me!  I gave a seminar to the heads of departments at a very large resort in Orlando to help educate them on how to work with an organization of the blind who will be holding a weekend conference there.  It was really exciting!  I got to educate people on blindness and low vision and it was a really great group at the seminar!  Really good questions were asked and problem solving on how to make accommodations.

What I loved is that I did it alone!  And other than the occasional tendency to talk a little fast now and then when I got excited, I think I nailed it!  There are certainly things I'll do differently next time and I know I can always improve.  But for my first time presenting and speaking on behalf of my field...I think it went pretty great!!

Picture:  The meeting room I spoke in.  Tables shaped in a U with black covers and green seats with the table I sat at facing the open end of the U.  My laptop is on my table and a place card with my name and company written on it!  I seriously considered asking if I could take the place card with my name as a remembrance but kept it professional and didn't.  I have the picture!  LOL!

My New Normal Days 42 & 43. Making Plans!

When I was going through treatments one of the things my mom and I would do to help get through it is talk about all the things I wanted to do when I had the ability to hold my head up again.  We made a lot of plans to do things that mostly involved traveling.  Going to Laura Ingalls-Wilder's grave.  Go to Prince Edward Island to see the inspiration for the Anne of Green Gables series.  There were a lot more plans but those two are the two that have stuck in my mind!

Then I started to get better and I jumped into Grad school before I was even recovered and haven't really stopped.  My life was on a certain path, and it was a good path and has taken me to where I am today.  But I realized that I didn't do even one of the things I had planned!  Then, as I was sitting at my table planning out how to switch from a once a month budget to a bi monthly budget (harder than it sounds!) I realized I could start making those kinds of plans again!  And I actually already have!

I have a trip to see my parents in the works.  I am also going to be spending my birthday with friends back home in Virginia!  Christmas in Michigan!  I'm planning a short trip to St. Augustine (about an hour and half away) to see friends in November.  I'm going to see one of my brothers tomorrow.  I am going to be going to NASA (again, only an hour and a half away!) as soon as I have a weekend!  I want to spend a weekend on the ocean this winter!  I am already making plans to go to two different conferences in my field next year!  And sometime in the spring I am going to meet friends in NYC to see Anastasia!  At least thats the plan!  Lol!

And I am working like crazy and budgeting and doing everything I can to make it all happen!  And even if in reality only half of it happens...I'm so excited!  Because I am MAKING PLANS!!  The door that I thought had slammed closed in my face is opening again.  Sure, this fall is going to have some rough times too.  I have to get a new Oncologist and go through scans and tests and the anxiety of waiting for it all.  But in the mean time, I am setting plans in motion and living my life to the fullest!  Doing what makes me happy!  And who knows, maybe I will still make it out west to Laura's prairies and north to Anne's beautiful island!

Picture:  The shore line of Prince Edward Island.  Waves rolling against red cliffs with green grass along the top and blue skies with wispy, white clouds.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My New Normal Day 41. Hello Freaky Kitty!

First of all, I have to say that it isn't even October yet and for the past week or so I have been driving by a house near my office that is so decked out for Halloween it is insane!  Really people?!?!  Can we keep our holidays in perspective?  Or at least in the month it occurs!?

That being said, I freely admit that I have been finding myself looking forward to passing this house for one big reason...emphasis on BIG!  Among the MANY decorations on their front lawn, these Halloween loving denizens of the fruity crazy nut house who celebrate too early, is a GIANT, house sized, blow up Black Cat standing guard with a creepy, cheshire grin plastered on it's helium filled face!  Don't believe me?  Check out the picture below!  It's unfortunately placed hindquarters come to the top of the house's window!  Imagine waking up to that image every morning!

However, I need to thank the over eager decorators for supplying me with an image that almost never fails to put a smile on my face!  And so, as I drove by trying to get to an open road that would let me into my office parking lot (Michigan road work has NOTHING on Orlando for "what the hell?!" moments!), I slowed to crawl at the light and snapped a picture of the feline that has gone from a god like creature in ancient Egypt, and friend to all witches, to a monstrously scaled lawn ornament in modern day North America!  Roll over in your graves pharos, witches and cat ladies and then laugh at the ridiculousness that grins before you!

Picture:  A house sized blow up Halloween cat among smaller blow up halloween decorations in the front yard of a house.

My New Normal Days 39 & 40. Getting Through Bad Days

We all have them, no matter what, bad days happen.  I think it is about how you are able to get through them and the people you are able to lean on.  Those days where it seems nothing goes right and then at the end of it you come home and for some unknowable reason, your key won't work in the lock!  And eventually you discover that was because the lock was changed and no one told you!

As far as I know nothing I did caused this to happen and more than likely the information about this (or a key to open the door) was simply forgotten to be passed on.  Maybe the person in charge of it was having a bad day themselves.  All I know was that coming home and not being able to get into my apartment ended up not being the straw that broke the camel's back for me.  It was my realization that I was initially looking to a person who couldn't or wouldn't give me the support I needed.  Last night Facebook was more important to that person I tried turning to than the fact I was locked out and upset and not feeling well.  Fortunately, another friend and a brother were right there to let me vent and offer some suggestions and make me laugh while I was growling in frustration.

Bad days are going to happen.  I guess I can take comfort in the fact that this bad day had nothing to do with cancer.  Its almost a relief to have a bad day that doesn't center around a life altering disease.  It doesn't make it any easier though.  So it really comes down to how we handle them.  I think there are a few ways to do this well.  First, turn to the people you know are going to actually be there and let you vent or check in on you.  Second, make sure there is ice cream in the freezer at all times! ;)  And I think most importantly, third, make the next day better.  Focus on the positive.  Find something to laugh about.  Look at the many blessings you have in your life.  And then take a deep breath, roll out of bed in the morning, and start the day new.  Realize you got through the bad day and that bad day doesn't have to take over any more time than it already has.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

My New Normal Days 37 & 38. FINALLY!!!

I was bummed this weekend because I had planned to go visit one of my brothers today.  However, due to my car slowly turning into a pool (leak to be fixed Monday!) the smell of mildew from the constant water on my floor has made my car just a little too much to tolerate for long periods of time...as I learned Friday after my third pull on my inhaler spending a total of 2.5 hours driving in Orlando traffic!  A two hour drive each way was more than my lungs could handle this weekend:(.

That being said, I finally, after weeks hunting and wanting to pull my hair out, I found a table!!!  That might seem small but let me set the stage a little.  One of the things that helps me relax is sewing on different projects.  I can have music or the TV or nothing at all going in the back ground and just get lost in the project for hours and I feel great!  I haven't been able to do this since April.  When I got down to Florida, I felt like I could finally get back to one of my ways to relax...once I could find a table.  This is when I started finding myself really missing my mini van and friends stronger than I am!  I had to pass on many a great deal because I couldn't lift the table on my own and I couldn't find a way to safely transport it with my little sedan.  And tying a table on the roof of my car, while the most often solution offered, was not something I was going to even try!

As I sat looking at my tablet this morning I continued my search through different furniture websites, looking for something that didn't cost an arm and a leg and could be delivered!  And there it was, a store less than two miles from where I lived with tables I could afford!!  With a puff on my inhaler I jumped into my car and headed down the road!  After walking through the bargain room a couple times with a very helpful sales lady, I landed on the table now nestled in the last open space in my apartment!  Lol!  My sewing machine is set up and after one quick trip to JoAnn's I will be able to get back to my sewing projects!

Picture: A large brown table with my sewing machine on it and pieces of different colored fabric around it.

My New Normal Days 35 & 36. Biker Chic at Heart!

One of the things most people don't know about me is my love for motorcycles.  I have wanted one since I was in high school!  No, I don't know all the different details about them and haven't actually had a chance to ever ride one (thanks to my little brothers telling their friends they couldn't take me on rides!) but I love them non the less!  When the engine roars to life I get a thrill down my spine!!!

Friday, after work, I walked outside and saw two motor cycles parked next to my car.  I went over to chat with the guys by them as two of the three were people I worked with.  One of the bikes was an Indian and I had often heard my brother extol the virtues of that particular brand of bike!  After a little bit of chatting I got the nerve to ask if I could sit on it.  A little note about bikes, it is highly and strongly recommend that any bike you ride, you be able to sit on it with both your feet flat on the ground.  It isn't a rule every one follows but seeing as I want to be as careful as possible when I do eventually get my own bike, I have it firmly fixed in my head that my feet must be flat.  When you are only about 5 feet 3 inches, and your legs are not the longer half of your body, finding bikes low enough that don't sound like a bumble bee that just inhaled helium is a challenge!  Not to mention finding one with enough power to be taken off the back roads and on to highways!

Imagine my absolute delight when I settled in on this 1100 cc bike (I had been told I wouldn't find much over 550 cc that I could fit on) and not only was it comfortable but I also had both feet flat on the ground!!  It felt great and balanced beautifully when I straitened it off it's kick stand!!  I couldn't stop laughing and the guys around me joined in at my elation!  One even kindly agreed to take my picture so I could send it to my brother!  Lol!  I just needed some sturdier shoes and my helmet from my apartment and I would have been begging for a ride!!  It was the best way to end my work week!!!

Picture:  Me sitting on the bike with it off the kickstand, my sunglasses on and a huge smile on my face!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My New Normal Day 34. Things I Never Saw Myself Saying!

I often hear my friends with kids repeat back the things their kids say.  I see the man posts on Facebook and I often find myself wiping tears from my eyes laughing at what is said!  I realized today that I am starting to say sentences, that while not as funny, are ones I never thought I would hear myself say!

For example, this morning I was trying to explain the concept of crossing at an all quiet and waiting for any masking sounds to pass by.  In other words, listen for when there are no cars coming towards you and no other ambient sounds that could be masking the sound of an approaching car.  As my client and I stood patiently waiting for an over head helicopter to pass by I was annoyed to see it start to circle back around before the sound had faded enough to not mask a car.  As I watched it circle us a third time I made a comment on it and my client calmly informed me that there are often helicopters looking for someone in the area.  I then realized that the big, razor wired fence I pass every time I visit this client is in fact a prison!  And the helicopters are searching for people who belong behind the scary fence!  In my frustration, as the helicopter circled a fourth time, I yelled up at it "He isn't here!!  Move on already, I need an all quiet!"  As my client was laughing at my frustration, we were both astonished to suddenly see the helicopter leave it's circling pattern and fly away!  As we settled down after about a minute of laughing the reason for the helicopter moving roared over head...stupid airplane!

Needless to say I have never found myself yelling at a helicopter before!  I am sure the neighbors, watching the crazy blonde chic following their neighbor around, were considering calling some of the rulers of the scary fence to come and check out why she was yelling at the skies! I have a perfectly logical answer.  I need the police to go hunt elsewhere so I can illustrate an all quiet crossing for my client so they can safely cross the street without relying on their eyes!  I mean honestly, isn't that reasonable?!  Lol!

Monday, September 19, 2016

My New Normal Day 33. New Confidence!

One of the things of starting in a new field are the new opportunities coming my way.  It is a small thing really and part of the job but I'm excited.  I am going to be giving an educational class to hotel employees who will be hosting a conference for people in the Blind Rehab field.  As many of my friends can attest, I love talking about my field but it has always been to friends.  Yes, educating, but not to professionals outside the field.  This is the first time that I get to educate and help spread the word about blind rehab.   I am feeling good and confident and excited!!!  Can't wait to get more opportunities like this!

In the past, I might have been passionate about something but I usually kept that passion only among friends.  Now though, I have a drive that I didn't have before.  I have a confidence that I lacked in myself when it came to something I really believed in.  I still struggle with confidence now and then personally but when it comes to my work...all the passion comes out whenever I get the chance!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My New Normal Days 31 & 32. Some Day!

OI have been looking around for pictures to hang on my wall lately and hit a little pay dirt over the weekend!  One of the pieces was a canvas print of what I think is a Venice canal with buildings.  I have a dream to be able to travel Europe some day and this print is a reminder of that for me. :)  It is something to work towards and save towards.  And now that I have a job again, the possibility just got closer!  So falling asleep and waking up to this print on my bedroom wall helps keep me motivated to get there!  Then I will be able to replace the print with a picture i take that is full of my own memories!

My New Normal Day 29 & 30. Routine

I started a little weekend ritual before I left Richmond of going to Panera for breakfast on Saturday mornings.  I grew to LOVE the quiche there!  I have been back and forth since I got down to Florida but I finally found a Panera that I can get to in ten minutes from my new place. :)

I have noticed in the past couple years since being sick that I really depend on routines.  It's not that I can't be spontaneous anymore, it is just feels like I need to be more organized and prepared.  I like having a plan for most things.  Surprises are still nice but I have noticed that if I don't keep a routine I forget things even more easily.  And that is just incredibly frustrating!!

I have the option of finishing some of my work at home, such as reports and the like.  I can't bring myself to bring my work home for two reasons.  The reason I use at work is I like to keep a separation between my work life and my personal life.  Which is very true.  But if I also spread out where I work from just my desk at work to home....I'm not sure my post it note organizational pattern that works GREAT at work will travel well!  Lol!

I guess it is just my way of dealing with the memory problems that were left as a parting gift from the chemo drugs.  Something I hate having to say because when you don't look like you have gone through chemo people don't always understand.  So I use my routine to stay organized and get things accomplished. :).  Definitely not how I was before it all but I am learning new ways to fit everything into my New Normal. :)

My New Normal Days 27 & 28. PTSD is Real

Three years ago I was going through chemo.  That comes to mind still very vividly and when it does all I can think of is "what if it comes back?"  As soon as that thought crosses my mind its very hard to not relive everything that happened.  It's really frightening and overwhelming when it happens because in that moment I am back in the infusion room, laying in bed feeling like my life was just not ever going to be the same.  A year ago I spent some time talking to a counselor about this and some other things.  One of the things I was told was that these flashbacks are not out of the ordinary for someone with PTSD.

When I heard that I actually didn't know what to think.  And it has taken me a year to completely be able to accept that I do have PTSD.  I felt that something like this was too big for what I had gone through.  In my mind PTSD was associated with what soldiers have to deal with after going to war.  They made such large sacrifices and I sat in a chair with an IV in my port.  A year later though, I actually find some comfort in know there is a reason I can't push the fear away all the time and the memories are so incredibly vivid.

I know I don't have it as bad as so many others who have gone through all of this.  But I also know that it is often hard to accept.  And it isn't something I think is talked about that much.  I had a moment hit me recently and I was just standing in the bathroom swishing Listerine and suddenly all I could think about was how I couldn't use it during treatment and the next thing I know, it all came flooding back!  I started to freak out and breath hard and cry uncontrollably!  I was back in the hospital and then the infusion room and everything seemed to come back all in a few seconds!  Thankfully I was able to turn to a friend who just let me talk until I calmed down.

The odd thing is, I can talk about what I went through with a complete stranger and have absolutely no reaction.  But when I'm alone the most random thing seems to trigger these moments.  They aren't often, thank goodness, but I think its something we need to talk about more so these moments maybe won't be so scary knowing others are going through it too.

My New Normal Days 25 & 26. Gag Reels!

I have been without internet since moving to my new apartment and have been watching some episodes of he Big Bang Theory that I found on sale at Walmart.  I love finding things to laugh over and I about fell off the couch watching gag reels on the DVD!  Lol!  It felt good to be laughing!  What I love about the gag reel is I have worked some on films and I remember the many, many times where uncontrolled laughter took over the set!  Just smiling over the memories it brings back!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My New Normal Day 24. A Delicious Change!

I realized today that I have had yet another taste buds change!  Normally this means food that I have really liked is no longer something I can stomach.  However, this time it is the opposite!

I've never been a fan of berry flavored ice cream. I know, I'm crazy! But the other day I found something really interesting. Dove bars with raspberry sorbet inside!  Normally I would've passed by without a second glance. But for some reason this time I stopped and stared at them for a full minute! For some reason that sounded unbelievably good to me!  I grabbed the box and tossed it in my freezer.  When I first had one, the taste was so amazing! I normally don't like dark chocolate, however, the combination of the dark chocolate and raspberry sorbet was delicious!

Thank you taste buds for finally giving me a delight!  Lol!

Monday, September 12, 2016

My New Normal Day 23. New Evenings!

I had to laugh at myself tonight. I was thinking of what to do tonight as I drove home for work and I realized that I don't have to do homework anymore!  Lol!  It's been a long time since that wasn't the case!!  

First every evening in the last two years of undergrad was homework. Then that rather unpleasant year of feeling sick most evenings. Then two strait years of grad school and homework!!  Now, I know I still have one more certification exam to pass and I need to keep up on journal articles and the like.  But I don't have any more papers to write, books to read, assignments to do or classes to study for!!  Lol!  

I've been so focused on trying to get a place to live and get my new job under control that I forgot....I can just relax in the evening!  So I have chosen to watch Dr. Who for a while and then curl up in bed and fall asleep reading for fun!  A lovely, relaxing evening before another busy day of work tomorrow!!  Feels good!  Really good!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My New Normal Day 22. Remembering.

9/11. A date I don't think we will ever forget. I remember that morning I was working as a nanny and a call came from the kid's grandmother just after the first plane hit. From that moment on, with a few trips to the phone to try to reach my sister on Andrews Airforce Base, I stayed in front of the TV. 

I've noticed I have a hard time remembering things from my life pre chemo (and post chemo) without pictures. I can remember after looking at the picture the moment of the picture and sometimes a few things surrounding it. More often then not I get events and times confused. A lovely parting gift from chemo. But that day 15 years ago I remember in terrifying detail.  

I can close my eyes and see the blue of the sky that day and feel the cool breeze outside the house. I can see the second plane hit live on television. I can see the buildings crumble and still feel the fear, sadness and shock.   I can see the Pentagon with a giant gash in it and a burnt and scarred field in Pennsylvania. I watched the pictures go up on the fences and walls of people looking for loved ones.   I panicked because I couldn't get my sister, only an hour and a half away from me in Maryland, on the phone. I dialed and only got a busy signal.  Fortunately, my mom in Michigan was able to get ahold of her and make sure she was ok.  I know I cried throughout the day and watched the parents of the kids I helped take care of try to explain what none of us adults could comprehend. 

7 years ago, I remember sitting in my classroom in Illinois listening to the Social Studies teacher read from their book about 9/11.  I couldn't believe it was already in a history book. Even today it still feels like it just happened.

Why does trauma stay with you?  Why am I able to pull up the memory of where I was on 9/11 in detail and that whole day?  Why can I remember in frightening detail the scary and painful moments of my diagnosis?  Why can I still sometimes feel that poke of the needle going into my port that isn't there anymore?  Why are the moments I want to pull into my mind in detail so hard to remember?  I know a great many happy events have happened but the details and memories of so many seem to exist in a fog. Just beyond a sheer curtain that distorts it and confuses me. Why does fear break through the chemo brain but happiness is harder to recall?

Maybe this is why I take so many pictures. Those pictures help me push aside that sheer curtain clouding my memory, even if it is just for the time I'm looking at them. Then the memories are happy ones getting through. I'm not saying I want to forget about things like 9/11 and my hospital stays and treatments. All these things helped form who I am today and spur me on to continually do better and help others.  I'm saying I want to work on adding happy memories to my mind. And if that means taking a thousand pictures to help me recall that moment, so be it!  To all my family and friends out there...just get use to the camera capturing happy moments so I can remember them:). 

And as for those sad moments that never fade, my heart and prayers go out to all the people and their loved ones fighting cancer. And my heart and prayers always go out to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and all the days since...the victims, first responders and the men and women in our military as well as all their families. You will never be forgotten. Not even chemo can take away my memory of your sacrifice.  

Never forget 9/11/2001

Saturday, September 10, 2016

My New Normal Days 20 & 21. Settling In & Relaxing:)

Yesterday I finished moving my things into my new place and today I think I bought out the dollar store to stock up my kitchen!!  Lol!  It's still in much need of decorations but I'm getting there!

It's a little funny because I'm completely wifi-less for now and am kinda liking being partly unplugged. I still have my phone and data but I'm finding myself more focused on what I have to do and relaxing a little more.   

I'm going to be getting wifi in the next week but I think I'll purposely unplug from it a little more. There has been a lot of stress lately in my life and I've been trying to find ways to help lessen it some.  Not having that draw towards my computer helps a little:). So here is to relaxing and unplugging...says the person posting a blog!  Lol!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My New Normal Day 19. Back on the Road Again!

Today I started going out to see clients again. I'm finally starting to feel comfortable in my job by going out and DOING!  I feel like I'm doing more when I'm out on the road going to my clients and working with them!  

I know paperwork is the inevitable part of every job but I am always happy when I can be done with that part:). My car is cleaned out and my music is turned up and I'm out with clients and teaching and laughing and encouraging!! Love my field and the direction it is taking me!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My New Normal Day 18. Big Winged Thing!

There is a saying that "Everything is bigger in Texas!"  I'm adding to it: "And their mama's are from Florida!"  The bugs down here are a bit ridiculous!!  

This evening I was literally blocked from getting into my apartment by a giant, winged, black, flying monstrosity that may or may not have had a stinger!  It was flying drunkenly around in front of my door and he had the upper hand for sure!  I was not about to try to brush Bubba aside to get in because I think he could have taken me!  

Eventually his drunken tango took him bobbing up to the second floor and I could get to my door!  Every day is something new and different down here!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My New Normal Days 16 & 17. I Found an Apartment!!!

I have never had such a hard time finding a place to live before!  But as of today, I have secured a cute, little, itty bitty apartment not far from my office, in a good neighborhood and newly redone on the inside!  I had to pass on the in-unit washer and dryer but I'll live!  Lol!

I've never lived in a studio before but I'm going to learn the true meaning of streamlining here!  I love how it looks on the inside but it is very small. So I've decided it is my reversed TARTIS...smaller on the inside than it is on the outside!  I can't wait to get in there and put my touches on it and make it more homie. 

Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and encouragement!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My New Normal Day 15. Bad Day to Good Evening.

Today turned into one of those days that makes you want to just curl up in bed for the day. I started out strong going to get some breakfast and just kind of looking around the area. Still trying to get to know the town. However, Orlando is so huge I really don't think that is possible!

Then I got into what I suppose could be called a text message fight. Something that just dragged me down. Something I don't know entirely how to deal with.  I went home, curled up in bed, and called my parents. Fortunately my mom and dad were able to help pull me out of my funk.  Enough so that I was able to pull myself together this evening and go to church.

For so long church has been the place I've gone to to calm down and deal with things. I'm Catholic, although for the past few months I've not been a very good one. I've been feeling myself fall away and I think that has contributed to me having more bad days like today. 

One of the things I love about my faith is something called Eucharistic adoration. Where you can go in to a little chapel and have some face-to-face time with God.  I haven't had that since the beginning of April and I'm feeling the lack of it. The church I went to back in Kalamazoo had a small adoration chapel. I often find myself there when I was having emotionally difficult days like today. It's hard not having one of them around me anymore.  But I still have church. I still have mass. And tonight I sat in the church and opened my eyes. I saw that I didn't like a lot of the things that I have been doing.  I saw that I have been pulling away from my faith and I realized that this was quite possibly why today has been so bad.  

I saw I was pulling away from my faith and constantly finding fault in the churches around me as an excuse. And the more I did that the more bad days I started to have.  I use to always lean on my faith for strength and guidance and it's never let me down. Some time along the way I stopped doing that. Tonight though, I started to slowly lean back on that faith and I felt a giant weight start to lift off my heart. It isn't totally gone yet but my day went from bad to good in the one hour I spent in church. I've never been a praise and worship music kind of person but tonight, every line of every praise and worship song sung seemed to be speaking directly to me. 

So thank you Lord for helping me turn an emotionally draining and stress filled day into a good night!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My New Normal Day 14. Yes. I Screamed!

Everyone told me it would happen. That it was inevitable and it doesn't mean your home is dirty. I saw a HUGE cocroach in the kitchen!!  Yes, screamed!  A couple times I screamed!  And I couldn't figure out what to kill it with!!  I can't kill a little spider...forget a giant cocroach!!  Then it disappears down the side of the oven!  I'm re scrubbing already clean counters and still shivering!!  May I say...I'm not sure how use to this I will get!

Friday, September 2, 2016

My New Normal Day 13. Keep on Crying!

I have had a lot of goals lately!  From finishing my program and getting my diploma and my certification and started a new job and moving halfway across the country, life has been pretty full! 

Then today I got a phone call from my mom. She let me know I got something from Western Michigan University. It was my actual, physical diploma. She started to read everything that was written on it and all I could do was sit at my desk at work and cry!  Even as I write this tonight I'm starting to cry just thinking about it!  

I tend to blame the unbalanced hormones inside of me for all of the tears, but the truth is crying is good for you!  I held in so many tears in my life especially, when I was sick.  I always wanted to be strong for the people around me my whole life! But I have learned that crying doesn't mean you're weak!  Crying is your body's way of releasing everything built up inside of you.  And sometimes once I start crying its incredibly hard to stop! 

I remember one night last November begging my boyfriend over the phone to help me stop crying because I was hurting so much from losing a friend to cancer! I wanted him to make me laugh so I could shove those tears and that hurt deep down. And he told me to just cry and let it all out. That sometimes you have to cry it out, you can't hold it in all the time.  He was right. As much as it hurt, I needed to let myself cry for my friend and myself and for everyone dealing with this disease. 

And crying doesn't have to be sad! I texted my younger brother telling him that I couldn't stop crying when I got the picture of my diploma today. He just replied that it was because I was happy!  It wasn't the unbalanced, synthetic hormones, it was me just being truly, deeply, unbelievably happy to see a physical manifestation of all my hard work!  One piece of paper that stood for so much to me!  Three years ago when I got my Bachelors diploma in the mail it was waiting for me the day I got home after my hysterectomy.   This time, I don't have cancer, I'm not jumping from surgery to chemo. This time my diploma came and I'm on the other side of the country starting a new career!  These are definitely tears of happiness!!

So keep on crying. Don't hold it in. Let it out! Tears of sadness or tears of happiness, just let them out!

My New Normal Day 12. Support Groups.

I think we all have those days where everything is going so smoothly and great and it's just been a good day. And then something like a song reminds you of something or someone that isn't around anymore.  Or an event in your life that took everything you had to make it through. Then everything just kind of comes flooding back, all the memories, the ones that make you laugh and the ones that make you cry. 

When I was going through treatment I couldn't bring myself to find support group. For some reason it frightened me. But after treatment, going through recovery and then grad school and now coming to where I am now, I don't know what I would have done without the support groups that I found. They truly understand what a new normal means. I don't look like I was ever sick!  And that's really hard because even though I don't look sick and I don't feel the way that I used to feel anymore I still don't feel like me 100%.  

And when you try to talk about this to someone who hasn't gone through it you can hear the sympathy in their voice you can see the sympathy in their eyes and the love they have for you and that does mean a lot, but sometimes you need that empathy that these groups give. 

You can go to any of the Facebook pages and just let loose about something that's scary, happy, life changing or life altering, big or small. Or you can celebrate with them! From big things to small things to frightening things to amazing things! These people are here for you as much as you are there for them!  Complete strangers are instantly bonded together from experience.

I want to give a big shout out to all the amazing people on the support groups that I'm a part of! Your words of celebration with me when I go through something great is something that I can never thank you enough for!  And when I'm frightened, scared or just overwhelmed by everything that's happened and is happening and might happen or won't happen! You are there!

I encourage anyone going through any life-changing experience, whether it's cancer or something else, that when you're ready find a support group of people who understand, encourage, celebrate, and hold you close in friendship.