Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Seeing the Light

I'm so happy and I'm not even sure if I will be able to put into words the gratitude I feel right now. I think about how difficult Life can be. And those difficulties can be singular or a plethora of  things with varying degrees of burden or stress. Obviously my most major Life altering ordeal came in the form of leukemia, relapse and stem-cell transplant. And once I conquered that Life hurdle, I needed time for my body to heal which resulted in resigning from my job after 12 years of dedicated service. And even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it was very difficult.

It was difficult because I no longer was a financial contributor to my family.  I felt I was more of a financial burden to my husband even though he never made me feel that way. And with those thoughts and feelings, it pulled me into a small state of depression. I felt as though my worth was questionable. I even questioned whether being alive was worth it because had I died, my husband wouldn't have to worry about supporting another person that comes with so much 'health baggage'. That 'baggage' including many ongoing doctor visits which involved travel expenses and sometimes, lodging. It included many varying medications that at times were quite costly. And it also included the physical stress of making sure all in his family were taken care of. And he did this all without complaint. He is an amazing man who through some of the most major stress of our lives, took care of his family.

So while in this small state of depression which I was fully aware I was in and chose not to mention my knowledge of this to anyone, I carried on each day. Each day I felt unfulfilled. I didn't exactly know what it was that made me feel this way. I knew it was something but I couldn't identify the source of this unfullfillment. I thought it was due to my temporary health setbacks, like my GVHD symptoms, but knew those were only minor in the broad scheme of things. I thought it was fear of moving forward and the possibility of relapse. But not until recently did I learn that that feeling of unfullfillment was regarding my lack of employment, my career.

There is something about having a job, a career, a sense of purpose and a sense of earning the money that you bring to your home. There is a sense of knowing your able to take care of yourself, your husband and children. And I for a long time, since my diagnosis which was a little over 5 years ago, I didn't feel that.

But now I'm pleased to say, I have it back!!! Yesterday, I received a phone call I've been waiting a week for and was offered a great opportunity at helping others in need. This couldn't be more ideal for the humanitarian in me. I will be in a management role similar to the one I had before my diagnosis but different as to the role I play in assisting others in need.

This is a clean slate. It's a new beginning. And I'm so looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I feel I have a purpose again. A purpose of being a professional, a purpose of being a financial contributor to my family and assuring that my husband and children will also be taken care of. Now my husband and I are a team. We're both taking care of each other and our children.

And now looking back through these past few years, that even when I thought I lost all 'hope' in whatever trial was thrown my way, somehow, I kept moving forward and battling through. The warrior in me is just as alive now as she was through my battle with cancer. My point is to never give up, regardless of how dark your days may be, dark never last forever. There is a light and I'm finally beginning to see the light.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life at the Beach

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved the beach and always looked forward to our yearly summer vacations. The best things I remember were the early morning walks along the waters edge, while the waves were lapping and teasing your feet as if it's begging or daring you to enter the water. There was always a peacefuless to those mornings. You could wander and for miles without even realizing it because you were so deep in thought for so many different reasons. For me, it was always about calmness, peacefullness, and serenity.

And now it's still all those things but more. And the 'more' I'm speaking of is my life post Cancer and stem-cell transplant.  I look at those earlier days and think things were a little easier. Sure I still had to contend with the humidity and the havoc it wrecked on my hair. I still had to lather up in sunscreen to protect myself from the rays of the sun. But now even though I'm still battling those same issues, it all on a different level. It seems I have more restrictions. I've learned that life with wigs is not so easy as I thought it would be. I had the naive notion that it would be like Jane Jetson from 'The Jetsons' where I would put the wig on, whether it be real or synthetic, and go on my merry way looking perfectly made with every hair in place. Boy, how wrong was I.  The ocean elements wreck havoc on synthetic wigs. It's like the kiss of death to a synthetic wig and as for real hair wigs, it's not much better. No matter how much I style it, it just like your normal head of hair and has a mind of its own. But where most people can throw it up in a ponytail or clip it etc, you are very limited as to the styles you can do with your wig. I thought it would be easy to throw on a ball cap but because of the amount of hair, it's difficult to tuck behind your ears without the risk of your ears sticking out and making yourseg look like an elf. Or you could just let it hang as is with the hat and risk walking around looking like the lost relative of 'Cousin Itt' from the Addams Family.

So what about going wigless??? If I were someone who hasn't been through cancer and hair loss, I would probably think the same thing.  But when you've spent months and even years without any hair due to being ill, the last thing you want to do is go through it again when your somewhat healthy. I've had enough walking around feeling like a freak-factor with people staring and even whispering.

It's still all a learning experience and truly, I'm still new at this so-called 'new normal'. I'm optimistic that I will get it figured out. It's just going to take some time and patience, and for any one who knows me, my patience is very limited. But i will try my hardest to stay positive because I've been through one of life's most difficult battles, and even though I carry many scars, both mentally and physically,  I am thankful of its success and this new journey.