Sooo, this will probably be a long one because, well, I had no idea that I even had this out in cyber space and after reading all my old posts, it inspired me to relieve some stress. It's amazing what you forget along the way, a lot has been just flat out erased from my memory and I know I can never get it back, not while I'm awake anyway. So, here is a review of 2012...I finished my last radiation the last week of February and it seems as if that is where the real problems began. I had spent what felt like forever being sick and depending on other people that when I got the good news, I simply didn't know what to do with my emotions. I noticed right off the bat that I had absolutely no control over my emotions, I would go from happy to fuck the world in a matter of minutes and then never remember the fuck the world part. I tried to go back to work and my doctor pulled me back out because he was concerned that chemo had thrown me into early dementia which is prevalent in my family and after my grandmother fought and beat lymphoma she immediately went into full blown dementia. For a long time I believed that was what was going on and I went into a whirlwind of anxiety. I couldn't remember a single conversation I had with anyone and apparently that was a good thing because I wasn't very nice at least 30 minutes out of an hour, the other 30 minutes I bounced between crying and laughing...who knew that chemo could change your mental balance so easily, but it did. I managed to alienate everyone that I cared for in my life but had no recollection of doing so and then I found myself hating who I was becoming or at least who I was.
I ended up helping a friend run her bar and that is when things became worse, I had done so well with not smoking and being inside a bar for 12 hours a day just led me right down a path I should have never gone. Smoking 2 packs a day and drinking at least a 12 pack, but part of me felt like I was still running from something....trying to find some normalcy. I soon learned that a smokey ass bar was not the answer to my questions. My desire to be around people and be treated normal were soon squashed because my friend decided to announce my cancer to all of her patrons and suddenly I became some sort of mascot and fell into the bar regular crowd, which is something I haven't done in 20 years. And I almost lost the most important person in my life. And I can honestly say I wouldn't have blamed her. I hated myself and everything around me. I couldn't look in the mirror without seeing the sickly person that kept her head in a toilet, having to change clothes every 15 minutes. I still weighed 125lbs months out and had no appetite, so I couldn't stand the 'man in the mirror"
I worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield and while on medical leave they fired me, stopped my insurance and squashed my security. So, I made my doc take out my port and I stopped follow up maintenance care. I had to quit the Adderall they had prescribed to help my concentration and memory (they said that chemo brain kicked my ADD and OCD into overdrive) and my xanax to help with the anxiety...all cold turkey.
I had always had this issue when they flushed my port, I would get a lung infection everytime, very painful and it would require me to sit for hours getting fluids and antibiotics. So, after they took the port out I started noticing this pain in my chest, it was a pain that would start in my diaphram and move into my head making me pass out for minutes while I sat in a pile of cold sweat. Then one night I was woken in the middle of the night by this blinding pain, pouring sweat, throwing up and for a second they say I died. My heart stopped, my pulse dropped extremely low and my girlfirend had to call 911. They presented me at the hospital with a heart attack. They said my skin was purple when they picked me up...not good. The ER wouldn't hear me when I said I was a recent cancer patient and that I had multiple infections around my port and lugs, they discharged me with a diagnosis of anxiety only to call me hours later and ask that I come back because they found something in my lung. However, when I did go back they let me know because I didn't have insurance I should go to the free hospital to have this checked out...either severe plueresy or lung cancer...I never went because I wasn't going to face another diagnosis I couldn't handle. After that early morning it never really happened like that again.
We bought Jason Mraz tickets for his August show in Tampa and it was the most glorious trip of my life. We stayed at the Post Card Inn and I had been planning for months to propose to E. I had spent months searching for the perfect ring, the ring she wanted. 4 karat natural ruby in an antique platinum setting. I found it...after months of searching, it was perfect. So I proposed to her at that concert during his encore when he sang I Won't Give Up. She never did. The next day we went to the Salvador Dali museum and she bought a ring that replicated his painting of he and his wife's hands intertwine and she proposed to me right there, in front of the sign, in broad daylight. I'd never felt more special and I knew then she was definitely THE one. And we made a promise to each other then and there that in the next 5 years we would move to St Pete and enjoy our lives for good. A month later, she gets a call from her corporate office...we have created a position for you, they said, in Tampa. It was destiny and fate.
So, we drove down several weekends to look for places to no avail. We had called on several but because we were from out of town, no one wanted to even talk to us. So we decided that she would stay with friends in St Pete and I would stay in Jax until we could find a place. That last two weeks. And on December 1 we moved to St Petersburg Fl. how could you possibly ignore all the signs?
December 1 we moved into our place, I spent a month sending out over 200 resumes to employers and by the end of December I had secured a job. Really? Could the tides actually be turning? Are good and right things finally sprinkling over our path vs hot rock and thorns?
I started my job on January 8 and have been treated wonderfully so far. No one knows of my cancer journey so no one asks about it, for them I'm just some chick that moved from Jacksonville to St Pete...not a lesbian, not a cancer patient...just a person. Although a culture shock, it felt amazing. Then on January 15 Pinellas County passed a domestic partner registry allowing us to legally document our love and devotion. Really? Could things really be going this well for us? So, we set a wedding date. Sept at Post Card Inn. I'm counting the days.
So I guess what I learned a long my journey is that if you never fold, the world has a lot to offer. I worry often because of the spot on my lung and the new knots that have popped up on the left side of my neck, but you know what?, I will not allow it to ruin my 2013 and new start.
2013 is our year and I refuse to allow anything to ruin it. So here we are 1/19/13 and that was the short version of my 2012. Life is really wonderful (Jason Mraz song) and I wouldn't want it any other way.
And its been a long time since Ive blogged. My brain went to mush there for a while and it was all I could do to stay awake and function daily tasks.
Now, my last radiation treatment was in February, last chemo in December. My hair is growing back nicely and Im slowly starting to put on a little weight, although I wouldnt mind some of it staying away.
So, I took a running start at getting back to normal. Started back to work the same week of my last radiation. Started working on a new diet and new way of thinking about my health and what I want from myself. And I was doing okay at first, work has been the biggest struggle for me. I cant seem to retain information or remember conversations and its affecting my ability to perform. And I say that is my biggest struggle but the truth is, I dont know what is.
This is a time when I should be happy, jumping with joy and running full blast into my new life...but instead, I sit daily with so much anxiety and depression that I cant even manage to leave my home at this point. I literally feel like Im losing my touch with reality. I havent seen hardly any friends since remission, I get tired of explaining my story. I work so hard everyday to try to remain positive and thankful that I was fortunate enough to fight and win against a horrible disease that so many fall victim to, but I cant seem to find the positive anymore.
My relationship seems in turmoil. What I thought would make us so much stronger has seemed to cause a distance. Im sure she is dealing with her own emotions with all of this because for almost a year she did everything for me,supported me in everyway...and now all of a sudden I dont need her anymore. But I do, I need her emotionally,but maybe she needs that from me too and right now I dont know if I can give it and that isnt fair to her. So Ive contemplated ending the relationship...to free her from my misery.
I just want my normal back, I just want to wake up with a smile like I used to. To greet each day with eagerness and determination and positivity just like the old me.