Monday, March 12, 2012

Little Celebrations

Of all the things I am grateful these days, I am especially grateful that I won't be missing out on all the "little" celebrations that I look forward to every year. One at the top of my list is my God-daughter's baptism birthday.

I'm not sure exactly how the tradition started - I guess technically it goes back to the fact that I didn't meet her when she was born, I waited to come up for her baptism. So, instead of coming for her actual birthday, I've always come up a month later and celebrated her "Baptism Birthday".

Bean's "party" was low-key as usual. Just the family, her other God-parents, and one of their daughters came over for dinner. The night was inspired by her current love of Strawberry Shortcake. So we ate the namesake desset and had strawberry milkshakes after dinner.

The rest of the weekend was mostly hanging out - although the other big excitement was a trip to the library where big sister "Bug" got her first library card. This book-loving auntie was so excited to be there to capture the moment!

This year was especially sweet since I was just barely past the "restrictions" of my surgery recovery. And being with this family is always it own special kind of recovery - I love spending time with all of them. Thanks Lisa and Chris for letting me be part of your family!

I love you all!

Friday, March 9, 2012

One Word

Way back in December, I began seeing a number of posts around the web about One Word. Basically the idea behind it is to choice one word to focus on for the year. I hadn't heard of it before, but since I've never been much of a New Year's Resolution peron, I was intrigued. But of course, I was in the middle of waiting for my second surgery, so making a decision about what to focus on for the next year was almost impossible. I couldn't see anything in my life clearly past January 3rd - and the fuzzy future seemed likely to involve chemo, hair loss, and puking. But I was trying to hold out hope and I wasn't ready to re-organize my whole life around cancer. So, I just waited. And now that I feel a little more confident about what this year will hold (as much as anyone can be) I'm ready to pick my word for the year.

After much thought about what one word could sum up what I hope for this year, I settled on what I hope will serve me well for the next 200+ days.

Pursue [per-soo] Verb,
1. to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).
2. to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc.).

I can't say that I understand why certain things have happened to me...
or what I am supposed to learn from them...
or that I know what this year has in store...

But I know that I want to be more deliberate about how I live my life. I'm an easy-going, laid back, type B kind of girl - and I like that about myself. But I think I've let my "que sera, sera" nature get a little too out of hand. While I'm mostly content to take what life hands me, there are some things that I really do want for my future. And I'm ready to take charge of trying to get to them. Part of this blog will be to hold me accountable for the things I am trying to pursue in my life. I hope you will all continue to support and encourage me as I figure out how to do it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I didn't mean to neglect this blog for so long! In fact, I do have about a half dozen posts in draft form just waiting for me to get back to finishing them. But over the last four weeks, I've been enjoying getting back to "normal".

Until paying over $600 in medical bills and scheduling my first follow-up CT scan abruptly yanked me out of my denial.

For the last month or so I have almost managed to forget that I still have to live with having had cancer. I was exhausted and overwhelmed in the beginning, but got back into the rhythm fairly quick. After a few days of people stopping by and "checking in" to see how I was, everyone went back to just greeting me with a quick "hey" as they rushed about the office. I was grateful when I felt like things were settling down and I had picked up my life right where I left it.

Until someone would mention a song that I didn't recognize - because it came out during the months when I wasn't making my daily commute to/from work while listening to the Top 40.

Until I move in a certain direction and one of the long scars across my abdomen pulls uncomfortably - and I remember that I still have to be careful of my healing skin.

Until my mom talks about being enjoying her spring break from school - and we both remember how we'd planned for her to be back here helping me through my first round of chemo.

Until I caught myself thinking something had "just happened" - and then I realized that was over four months ago.

It is definitely a surreal experience to suddenly have cancer and then just as suddenly be cancer-free. And a few of my friends have even joked that they don't think I really ever had cancer. While I recognize that is mostly an expression of relief that I didn't have to experience months of chemo or radiation, the fact is that I did have cancer. And every time I almost forget it, there is a reminder.

So, while most of the time I am rejoicing in the fact that I am back at work and getting to take short trips to visits friends and family, there are those moments that make me realize that I won't be getting "back to normal". I am having to figure out a "new normal".

My new normal involves having to schedule vacations around CT scans and follow up appointments.

My new normal involves trying not to get frustrated when I work out and discover just how weak my muscles are after two major surgeries.

My new normal involves trying not to take anything for granted, while remembering that I am still human and get to have a bad day.

It is all definitely a surreal experience.