A look back

I look back and see my world from a year ago.  I look and see how different it is from what it was.  I look back and see how much happier I am now then I was.  I look and see how hard it all was and then wonder why.  But now I have some of the why.  I see how much happier I am.

A year ago I didn’t know I had cancer.  I knew something was wrong.  I had felt that way for years.  But there wasn’t any indication and just tacked it up to me being a worry wort.

A year ago I was working myself to the bone at work.  I was stressed and grumpy when I came home to my darling kid.  I was trying to climb that work . I was trying to get as high on it and making as much money as possible.  Money was how I gauged where my life worth was.  It was how I had plotted how far I had come.  My divorce years before had left me in some very tight financial places.  I spent 4 years fighting tooth and nail to get out of that difficult situation.  A year ago I had just broken free.  Things were finally starting to turn around and due to a lot of work and scrimping on my behalf.

Then in April 2014 the world changed.  At the time I wondered if it changed for the worst to the tune of CANCER.  That horrible terrifying world came into my life.  I started thinking of wills.  I started thinking if all the work and energy I put into work really mattered at the end of the day.  I wondered if the stress I brought home to my darling Kiddo mattered.

And over the next 10 months the world changed gradually at time and drastically at times.  It was a horribly painful part of my life.  It was scary beyond belief.  I went through a terrible surgery that took a lot to heal from and then the follow up chemo and the toll it took and still takes from my body.

So what did I learn?  What am I only starting to see as positive changes to my life?

1. I found that the love of my life, my wonderful, darling Knight.  He has been my rock through it all.  This terrible illness has created a love for him that only something so trying can produce.  I have seen him in lights that make my respect and awe for him uncountable.  he has held my hands when I had tubes coming out of my body.  He slept by my side to provide comfort and help me sleep better.  He was my shoulder to cry on.  He was the one place I felt safe in the midst of the storm.  He was the one place that I could let all the walls fall and not worry about seeming weak.  He was the one I could call when I questioned why God was doing this.  I could voice my anger at God to him and not feel judged.  He was the one that drove an hour and half to bring me home cooked steak so I could get my platelets higher.  He is the one that sent me protective house shoes when I cut my foot open because of the numbness from the chemo.  The list can continue on and on. Without him and I having to walk through this terrible situation I would not have as easily seen the depths of his wonderful nature.  I would have seen it but this experience amplified and brought it to the light.  I am forever grateful for him and his love and care through this terrible time.

2.  Work is not the be all end all.  Climbing that corporate latter is not as important as it once was.  My job needs to be done.  I do my work to the best of my ability.  However I no longer stress myself out.  I do not give myself unrealistic goals and that scramble at them. Instead I do my job, but I leave it at work and do not bring it home.  I do not take the stress home or the resulting negative feelings from a bad day.  This is a huge change that happened but not intentionally by me.  It is one I am only now starting to see the effects of.  But it makes the rest of my life so much better.

3. My time with my kid is so precious now .  Before I was scrambling to get everything in my life done.  I stressed myself out to just live my life.  Now I try to find the joy with her and if that means the dishes don’t get done.  Well they don’t get done.  If the house is a mess, well then it is a mess.  Is she laughing?  Is she happy?  Does she feel safe and secure in my love?  Does she know that I will always be there?  Those are the things that matter.  And her and my relationship is the better for it.  She and I got to have the stay at home mom experience and she loved it.  She loved the extra attention and grew because of it.

4.  Money will come and go.  I used to have to count pennies to survive.  It was a tough time.  There was a time and need for it.  But I am still amazed at how being on disability for 7 months last year still worked out.  I am somehow still financially okay.  Many who go through this aren’t and yet I am .  God was very good through all of that.  So when I decided kiddo and I need to celebrate surviving a year of h*ll, well we decided to go to Hawaii.  It was her choice and yeah it might take a while to pay it off.  But I am not stressing over it  We are going to have a wonderful time and make memories that can’t be taken from us.  Horseback riding is another example.  Before I would have exclaimed at the cost and said NO.  Taking a leap and getting lessons for both of us has been one of the best choices I ever made.  I finally have a hobby I love.  I finally have an exercise I love.  It may have taken me 35 years to find, but I am glad I have it!!

5.  Life is precious.  I enjoy life so much more.  I do see the joys in things I over looked before.  Life isn’t a time table that needs to balance out.  Instead it is something that is so incredibly precious.  Time with family and friends.  Time with loved ones.  Time doing things we enjoy.  That is what life is.  I am not taking such things for granted any more.  I  used to get stressed about almost everything.  I used to get worked up over everything.  And now, that is gone.  It isn’t worth the effort.  Nothing is gained by such actions.  I still have times where I struggle with it, but it is miniscule to what it used to be like.  And that makes everything so much better.

6.  I am stronger than I ever thought.  I never thought I could battle my way through this.  Sometimes it was by the skin of my teeth, but I did it.  I did it with the love of those that walked beside me.  But I did it.  I had to feel the chemo coursing through my veins.  I had to sit and feel horrible.  I had to go through the cold sensitivity.  I had to make the next step.  And I did it.  I FREAKING DID IT.  Hopefully this is the hardest thing I ever have to do.  BUT I DID IT!  And that is cause to rejoice.  I am so much stronger than I ever thought I could be.  I fought to be where I am and I am proud of it.  No oe will ever know the effort it takes.  Some have ideas.  Some saw the effort to take each step each day.  But I know what it was and I know what I did.  And I rejoice in it.

 

There is a bucket of gold at the end of the rainbow.  There really is!

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The Fear Of Falling

Last lesson stunk.  Tristan was annoyed with me.  I was annoyed with me.  I think my trainer was frustrated with me.  It just wasn’t a good lesson.

I think Kiddo’s fall a few weeks back shook me up.  The realization of the pending fall scares me.  I haven’t had my first fall and I know it is coming.  It is a fact that it will eventually happen the more you ride horses.  You will fall.  However, my fear of it is actually making the looming action more and more likely.

I jump at every little thing.  When Kiddo’s horse (Calli) spooked, and consequently caused Tristan to spook with me on his back, I squealed in fear.  Which of course that made Tristan spook even more.

Kiddo kissing Calli
Kiddo kissing Calli
Kiddo and Calli
Kiddo and Calli

My fear is making things worse.

But how many times is life like that?  Fear amplifying that which we have no control over.  Fear of things that haven’t yet occurred and might not.  Far making things 100x worse then they need to be.  Life is going to be falls and bruises.  Life is a bunch of unpredictable events.  Even when things in life seem to show patterns, nothing is guaranteed.  And all the fear does, is show us what could be the worst case scenario.  Fear causes failure before it even happens.  Fear shows us what we most hope never happens and makes it a reality, when it might not be.

The funny thing, or maybe ironic thing, is back when I was on chemo treatments, Tristan tripped.  At the time I thought “I am going over his head.  This is it.  I am going to fall.”  But there wasn’t any fear, it was all matter-of-fact.  I need to get back there.

So hopefully today’s lesson will happen, even with the extreme cold.  And hopefully I will get back up on Tristan and will enjoy every single moment, with no fear!

Tristan

Oh the Addiction

I find myself thinking constantly about my addiction.  I find myself wanting more time to be on the back of Tristan.  The problem is that over this winter I regressed on my riding skills.  During the fall I was getting good at posting.  My two-point was looking nice.  My posture was good.  My hands were good.  And now I stink.

I can’t find my balance while posting.  My fingers are flaying open just asking for a broken finger.  I squeak whenever he bolts unexpectedly.  I am this timid mouse on the back of a horse.

Between last week and this week, there has been an improvement for sure.  However, it is still not up to par with before Christmas.

I find myself wanting to lease a horse so I can spend an hour a day in the rink taking the time to get to learn how to ride.  The half hour lesson isn’t enough time to build up confidence and feel that I am improving.

I know with time it will feel natural.  I know with time I will improve.  I am just impatient for it to come.

And with each day, the addiction becomes stronger.  I read more blog about horses.  I read more about horse behavior.  I watch more youtube videos watching how posting is done.  However the one thing I want, I have to wait another week to have and that is another lesson.

So here is this horse noob’s handsome lesson horse.  Handsome Tristan.

Tristan

“Let The Wild Rumpus Start!”

Today I get the best of the best good news.

Today I find out the results of my CT Scan

After waiting since yesterday to hear back from my nurses at oncology.  After sitting on pins and needles and making myself worry into “Maybe things came back bad, maybe that is why I haven’t heard back from them.”

I get to hear from my nurses “The test is clean.”

I am officially CANCER FREE!!!

 

“Let The Wild Rumpus Start!”

wild rumpus

cancer warrior

Happy News – No More Colon Cancer

Today I find myself with very happy news.  Today I find myself in disbelief.  Today I find myself being able to say I kicked Colon Cancer’s butt.

Today was the follow up colonoscopy after my surgery and then chemo.  As I walked in, I told the attending nurse what my Dr. said to tell her, I told her my story and that I was anxious.  Next thing I know, I am comfortably sitting in the stylish hospital gown with some very nice “happy drugs” running through my veins. Then in I go to the procedure room to get the rest of the fun drugs.

My first statement upon waking up was “Was there anything found” and the nurses told me right away they didn’t find anything except some suspected scar tissue from my surgery last year.  *cue water works*.  After 10 months of battle I could look into my Knight’s eyes (of course he was there by my side, because he is AWESOME like that) and say “WE beat it!”  And I say “we” because without his love and kind support, I do not know that I could have done this.

Thursday my CTscan for the rest of my abdomen is scheduled.  But for me, that is just a box to check.  I am not anxious about that test.

So today, I can officially say “I am in remission. We kicked Cancer’s butt!” 

cancer warrior

Ask and You Receive, Just not how you expect.

With the looming colonoscopy, I prayed for distraction.  I didn’t want to think of positive vs negative outcomes.  I didn’t want to think of the day of not-so-fun prep.

Well prayer answered.

I have spent the week dealing with insurance calls, researching cars, finding a car loan and eventually choosing a car.  Kiddo is planning a party at my house, with limited planning from me (rather me just being told how many and … “oh you are providing supper right?”) just now a lot of looming cleaning.

I have been insanely busy.  What looked like an open week has been packed full every single moment.

But the unexpected blessings keep flowing in.  The totaled car compensation from the insurance will cover what I owe on it.  I have managed to get a really awesome deal on a car I have been wanting for years.  I managed to negotiate even the car loan (I stink at negotiation of such things).

Somehow this has all worked out. There is a hand of God guiding this.  And all of it was in ways I never expected.  And the most amazing part is that I have been at peace through everything, even the accident.

Now I just pray that it will continue through till Monday after I find out the results.  Here’s Praying!

Anticipation! I.E. I can’t wait, horse-time!!

Life has been tense for the past few days.  Lots of external stress, a pending colonoscopy (to hopefully confirm the cancer is gone with no new polyps), and a car accident last night taking my car temporarily out of commission.  And now I can not wait for my hour spent with Tristan a beautiful/handsome horse.

My buddy Tristan from July 2014
My buddy Tristan from July 2014

He and I will spend our time working through our lesson.  It will be a time when all else disappears. It will be a time to just relax into it.

When I gave Kiddo the birthday gift of Mother-Daughter Horseback Riding lessons every other week, I though it would just be filling every little girl’s innate love of horses.  Instead I find her and my life slowly starting to revolve more and more around horses.  We look longingly towards more time with the horses.  We can’t wait for each lesson.  Now I find myself trying to find ways to push the lessons towards a weekly frequency.

I can see us leaning towards leasing horses once we are more experienced riders.  I long to be able to take her and I out on trail rides with the horses.  I know we are not to that point yet, but I want us to get to it.

horse love

I find myself looking up videos of horses.  Googling for articles on the physical benefit of horseback riding.  I remember my first couple of lessons the strain my legs felt.  It is a great source of expended calories.  It is overall a wonderful experience.  Plus there are huge mental benefits of the activity.

The lessons were one of my highlights during chemo, and I enjoy it just as much if not more, now that I am back to “regular life”.  It is still a joy.  I have fallen in love with a horse that I see every other week.  The fondness that I feel for him is unexpected.  I bring treats for him every lesson.  And now he knows which pocket to search for the apples or carrots.  He gets cross with me when the treats are done.  He tries to get the treats before the lesson even begin.

Even the fear of my first fall (which is still pending) doesn’t prevent me from riding.  And a fall from such a tall horse is a very daunting thing.  The rewards far outweigh the risks.

Tonight is my next lesson… And let the minute countdown begin.