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!