Last night I was scrolling back through my calendar.  It is on google now and I use it to record everything; health, family, work, blog, pets, bills.  Anything I think is important or even mildly relevant I record for prosperity.  One year ago this week I was just finishing up my trip to Chicago to attend BEA, Bookexpo of America, for the non-book bloggers it is THEE book industry event of the year.  It was such an amazing trip. Truly a once in a lifetime event for this bookish person.  A girlfriend from college graciously opened up her home to me which simply make the trip even more memorable.  It was the highlight of my year in 2016!

It was also the last good event of the year, with two exceptions; a return weekend trip to Chicago with my husband and another weekend trip to my college homecoming where I got to see another dear friend. Other than that my year kinda sucked.  There was the stress of the disastrous election, I was a Bernie delegate and ended up leaving the Democratic Party over the crap they pulled.  We ended our dog’s suffering and had him put to sleep.  Gave away my horse which hit my harder than I thought it would (she went to a loving home where she has horse friends). I lost my best friend, Tilla a small black cat who I had a once in a lifetime bond with.  She was truly was special and it crushed me to lose her.  After that, I lost my truck.  Which I admit I was a bigger baby about than I should have been.  It is only a vehicle and someday I’ll get another one…

That was when I started noticing health issues.  I had been spotting off and on but I chalked it up to stress and weight gain.  There had been plenty of both…  I did bring it up to my doctor and he talked me into getting a gynecological exam in two weeks.  Between appointments, I had the worst period of my life.  I bled so much I had to go home from work to change clothes!  I would feel the blood coming and just stand in the shower and bleed rather than attempt to wear anything to control the flow.  I knew it wouldn’t help.  I also knew this wasn’t normal for me.  So I told the nurse practitioner about it and she scheduled me for an ultrasound and did a biopsy right away.  You see I wasn’t very good about my gynecological exams.  This was actually only the second one in my life.  I was pretty bad about going to the doctor for most of my life.  Anyway.  Of course, it was cancer, even though the husband told me in the car ride for the follow-up that it wouldn’t be.  I was a bit worried because they called me and wanted me to come early to the apt.  Never a good sign.  A doctor doesn’t call you to see you sooner for good news…

That was just five months ago, almost to the day, I was sitting in that doctor’s office and she told me I have cancer.  I asked her to go get my husband from the waiting room because I was losing it and I did not want to explain everything to him myself.  I can still feel that emotion, the shock, disbelief of that day.  It feels like it was so long ago but really it wasn’t.  Only five short months.  Of course, it was right before Christmas so they couldn’t see me in Iowa City until after the holiday.   So husband and I went home and lived with the fear that I would die over the holidays.  Not that we celebrate them but still it sucked.

The next few months were a whirlwind of experiences and waiting.  Waiting for tests, waiting for surgery, waiting to recover, waiting to hear how bad it was, waiting for life to return to normal.  It was also a few months of not feeling like myself.  I still don’t totally but I’m getting there.  I need to stop using it all as an excuse to sit on my behind because I need to get moving again.  I hate this weak feeling and the only way to regain my strength is to start being active again.  But it is so much easier to avoid it…

So today I looked back over one of the most trying years of my life.  I’m so glad I went to BEA had that experience.  All of this has made me realize I need to have more memories like that.  Do things, experience things.  Worry less (like that will happen).  For now, though, I would just like a whole lot of nothing.  I would enjoy a few months of normalcy.  Of simply paying bills, working on the house, spending time with the husband.  Spring is my favorite time of year.  I love how the air feels and the smell of freshly turned dirt.  The longer days and all the green.  This year I feel a greater appreciation for it all and want to hold onto every moment that brings me joy.

Last year might have been awful but I survived.  I’m still here. Now is the time to decide what I want next.  To let go of that which no longer serves me and embrace what excites me.  The fight isn’t over.  I will have just under five years to go.  Menopause is giving me tons of grief but I’m still here.  I am alive.  I need to celebrate that and be grateful for not all are as lucky as I was.

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