|On top of the world - Shenandoah Mtns.|
Dear blog, please be assured that it’s not you, it’s me. Life can get busy and things such as writing can get put on the back burner sometimes. Do not take it the wrong way though, I still love you dearly.
This past Saturday was exactly one year ago that I had my first CT scan. I was terrified. Not because I thought I was sick (because at the age of 23 I surely thought there was no way I’d have cancer, this scan I felt was more of an inconvenience than anything else then) but because I would have to get an IV. I was such a needle amateur back then that the mere thought of one made me panic. Actually, I still panic at the thought of one but I am more used to it now. The nurse most likely assumed I was insane as I hyperventilated and broke out in a cold sweat when she sat me down to give me the IV. I will never understand how someone does that for a living without getting queasy. Just like how I will never understand how people eat cottage cheese and enjoy it, or watch Dancing With the Stars and enjoy it? I sat there in the waiting room with a piece of plastic sitting in a vein the crook of my arm for over five hours. I wasn’t allowed to eat until after the test and the protein bar in my purse started to sound as delicious as a plate of nachos. Of course Judge Judy was playing on the fuzzy television screen because who doesn’t like to watch a woman take her ex-husband to court for running over her cat before having a CT scan? Certain hospitals, such as one that starts with a B and ends with a ELLVUE, like to test not only your blood but also your patience. I believe that is the reason behind waiting over five hours for a ten minute scan. Afterwards I went with my friend Jessica to get something to eat. Well, more like devour because I had not eaten the entire day so an entire plate of hummus and chips was consumed within five minutes. We had a couple of drinks and then I went to my waitressing job exhausted and worn out from the day, but just going about my normal life. That is what I did for the next three months, I went about my normal and busy schedule because I had yet to be diagnosed as none of the doctors seemed to be concerned.
Now here I am one year later truly enjoying Autumn without that air of uncertainty suffocating me. I adore Fall in New York City. This past weekend I wandered the streets of SoHo and ran through Central Park taking in the beauty of the leaves changing color. I felt like I was on a movie set because the vibrant colors combined with the crisp weather were absolute perfection. The trees are enchanting basking in the sunlight against the blue sky backdrop but I enjoy them just as much at night because they glow under the store and restaurant lighting. The red leaves are glowing ember, the yellow are neon lit. The delicate leaves that have parted ways with the branches are strewn along the sidewalks as if they were placed there purely for decoration. You can call me a tree-hugger, I won’t be offended.
I do not know how this happened but somehow Thanksgiving is next weekend. The older I get, the quicker time passes by. Other than consuming three days worth of calories in a matter of hours (which I cannot wait to do, bring on the stuffing, baby!) Thanksgiving is also the day we focus on what we are thankful for and I can say with great certainty that this Thanksgiving I have A LOT to be thankful for, stuffing included. Really though, I am thankful for more than I could have ever imagined just one year ago. Last Thanksgiving I did not know what journey I was soon going to be taken on. Life has been wonderful to me lately. Let me tell you, God pays you back double for your trouble. Sometimes it is not in the way or the timing that you expect, but He does. The PET scan I had a month ago came back clean so now I am 5 months in remission. Nineteen more months to go until the chance of relapsing is significantly lower. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry occasionally about it coming back. It also still completely freaks me out to know I received these intense drugs a total of six times, who knows what kind of long term effects those can have? However, I tell myself it’s not welcome back. That’s right lymphoma, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Very recently I landed an incredible job, truly my dream job. I spent one Saturday night in October being really wild and crazy having a coffee drinking party at one of my favorite cafes. Only myself and my laptop were invited, it was an exclusive event. Actually, I spent a lot of weekends glued to my computer in September and October because I so badly wanted to find a job that I loved, particularly in the food industry. One where I could put all of my enthusiasm and energy to use. This job is inspiring, it’s exciting, and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I work with great people and I’m surrounded by countless opportunities. When I was going through treatment, chemo was always on a Monday. After I finished chemo I promised myself that I would never wake up on a Monday morning again with dread. I’ve stood by that promise, I am happy to wake up on Mondays!
I read a quote the other day from the lovely Kris Carr, “Life is meant to be sweet and savory, bitter and sour, and you deserve to enjoy every morsel of it.” That phrase really stuck with me, not just because it compares life to tasting and eating (because c’mon isn’t that one of the best things about living is eating?!) but because life as varying everyday. You will have your good days, you will surely have your bad days, but you are always given a choice to savor your day. I have been busy savoring my life. At least trying to do so as much as I can - there’s only so much to savor when I have a headache or am paying my bills. That’s life though, not every single moment is going to be exciting or fun. I am learning that the key here is balance. I used to live my life with such repetition and it left me feeling uninspired and worn-out. I love to push myself and work hard but I never rewarded myself for my efforts. It was always this “keep on trucking” mentality, like if I took a day off out of the seven days I used to work then I was being lazy. Do I sound crazy? It must be something about living in New York City, it’s always go go go. I often notice how fast I am walking, weaving in and out of the foot traffic on the crowded city sidewalks getting frustrated with the slow walkers (the tourists in search of the nearest T.G.I Fridays) and then I realize that I am in a hurry for absolutely NOTHING. I am practically running to my favorite cafe in a way that you would think I was going to win a pair of Louboutins if I got to my destination in ten minutes instead of fifteen minutes. I probably won’t give that habit up anytime soon because let’s be honest - I secretly love the challenge of walking fast through crowds, probably the same way a fast driver speeds on the highway weaving through the other cars. That feeling I would not know though, driving is not my forte. Don’t ever let me borrow your car or drive you anywhere.
In-between this constant all work and no play lifestyle I used to live, I was craving more space for myself and time for fun. I love to have fun, I always want everything to be fun because life should be enjoyed, but I certainly wasn’t acting on it. Now I attempt to always include at least one fun thing in my day everyday to break up routine. I always roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button about five times and then I partake in my usual morning routine of making my green juice while simultaneously watching a segment on the Today Show about “how to eat fast food and not get fat” or “why sperm banks are turning down red heads” or something along those lines, and putting on my makeup. Once I am on the subway I ask myself (not out loud though, there’s enough people talking to themselves here) what kind of day I want to have and what approach I want to take. I always feel it’s important to check in on myself every once in a while and identify what I’m feeling and why I may be feeling a certain way. It is easier to change my mindset that way and focus on something positive instead of getting caught up in my own thoughts of worry, stress, and all of those other disconcerting feelings.
Whether my day is sweet or sour, I'll be hungry for life.