Tag Archives: cancer fucking sucks

2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

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The Best Kind of News

It was rainy and dreary on Tuesday. My Mom and Stepdad had just left, I was starting to get sick and I had to work in the afternoon at my new job. My new job where I am still fighting the voices in my head that keep telling me they will find out I am awful and will fire me. The voices that are telling me the other shoe will drop ANY MOMENT. It was not shaping up to be the greatest of days for me.

Lucky for me, I knew I had a package from Ashley at the post office, so I was off to pick up the glorious, well-timed box. I was ready to kick ass and take names too, since no one had even attempted to deliver it.  I was riled RIGHT up and was in NO MOOD to deal with any bullshit.

Then, while I was waiting in line, I got a text from my Dad.

Spontaneous tears.

He had a CT scan last week to check on the size of his lymphnodes (Since he has lymphoma, that’s where the cancer is. There and in his bone marrow) and was at the cancer clinic to find out the results and to get his fourth (out of six) round of chemotherapy. Well, excuse the capslock but – EVERY SINGLE NODE WAS LESS THAN 1CM IN SIZE! This, in comparison to August when a couple were EIGHTEEN CENTIMETERS. Less than 1cm people! That’s like |      | this far or something. Oh my good god, would you have been able to hold back tears on that one?

That’s not all.  Once I finished sobbing at the post office, I got a text from my Dad’s girlfriend who said that his chemo drugs were now GETTING PAID FOR. So, my Dad, who has no health insurance but will be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars – just got his chemotherapy drugs paid for by the drug companies. As someone who thinks drug companies are evil bastards, I have never, EVER IN MY LIFE been so grateful to them. Dad will still have to pay for the scans, doctor visits and so forth, but the drugs are most expensive!

So let’s recap this. Halfway through his treatment program, his lymphnodes have drastically reduced in size, meaning the drugs are working as they should. So, so well. Ontop of this, he is getting financial help from the drug companies (who get a tax break for doing so) and his financial burden will be lessened. Well then.

I know that many of you will cheer and celebrate this massive victory (so far) with me and I honestly am so grateful for you all as well. You have made the last few months not only bearable, but full of love and support and comfort.

Thank you friends.

I just…you guys. I can’t express to you, just how grateful I feel on the eve of Thanksgiving. Yes, I am sick and grumpy but damn. I have a job that is already helping with my mood and self esteem and is making me feel like a worthwhile human being that is strong, capable and able to do anything if she just takes that first step.  And the best part – My Dad is doing so dang well and I just love him so much. He is kicking cancer’s ass and is keeping such an awesome attitude while doing it.

I hope that I am as strong as he is some day. I really do.

Prayers

There is so much in my family right now that weighs heavily on my heart. If you could spare some good thoughts, prayers or some love right now, we would all be so grateful.

My Mom’s little baby, her dear, sweet rescue pup Sam had surgery yesterday on his MCL. He is at the vet overnight and will come home tomorrow afternoon. He has a whole list of exercises that my parents will have to do with him daily, not to mention weekly visits to Doggie Physical Therapy. He is only 5, so hopefully this will increase his quality of life, but it’s a long road.

My Dad is finishing his third round of chemotherapy. He is 4 days post treatment and is starting the upswing after 3 days of feeling like crap. He is so strong you guys, but I still worry so much about him.

My husband’s coworker, Frank, passed today. Frank was in remission from prostate cancer until a bit over a year ago. He was one hell of a guy, a bartender that taught me to love gin and tonics again and never let my glass stay empty. He was a jovial face and someone I always looked forward to seeing at the hotel. Frank also saved my husband from getting even more hurt the night he was injured at work. Alone on shift, he was sucker punched by a jackass he was evicting from the bar.  Frank, came out from behind the bar and took the guy’s legs out from under him, potentially saving my husband from further harm.  It makes me so sad, he will be missed.  Everyone have a G&T for Frank.

My Aunt’s cancer numbers have come back high. Last winter she was just beginning her fight with a very bad case of ovarian cancer that had long gone undetected. Multiple surgeries and treatments left her in the clear this summer. She will be going in for an MRI this week so we will know more soon. They knew it wasn’t IF it came back, but WHEN. Still, pretty scary.

Lastly, my Grandmother is aging, as happens. Her friends are passing. Most recently, her closest friend had a stroke and died suddenly. Now, next week she will be traveling to see her younger sister in Alabama, most likely for the last time. Aunt J was such a sharp woman, in intellect, wit and tongue. She has had some struggles in the recent past, most recently ending with a diagnosis of severe dementia. She was moved to a care facility in Mobile (she lived her whole life in Birmingham), her house was sold and her ailing dog had to be put to sleep. She sometimes knows what is going on, sometimes not, but has never asked about her dog. My Aunt will be flying in from California to take Nana to Alabama. I can feel Nana’s pain and sadness, the heaviness and worry in her heart, even when she doesn’t speak it.  It’s so sad, but due to Nana’s aging, I do fear this is the last visit she will have with her sister, and I am sad.

Lots of heavy stuff folks,  without wven thinking of my own struggles.  So much hurt, fear and pain. I love you all for the good thoughts, love and prayers. Thanks so much.

May your families be healthy, strong and together.