Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baby steps...

On December 31, 2011, when the nurse on the telephone told me I had breast cancer, it was a game changer.  My life as I knew it from that moment forward would never ever be the same.  Then, and for several days following that dreaded phone call, I had no idea where the road was headed and whether or not I would even survive.  The disturbing reality of cancer is that it takes many lives on a daily basis.  That last sentence is what rattles me to the bone every-single-day! With the age of social media, it's especially difficult to distance ourselves from the toll that the Big C takes in the lives of those we love.  We read heartbreaking stories on Facebook, donate to fundraisers and run in 5ks in support. 

At the time of my diagnosis, I immediately took a leave of absence from my teaching position.  In the two years and nine months since I took that leave of absence I had multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation as well as countless doctor's visits.  This is kind of a big deal for a 39 year old who had never been admitted to a hospital before. For almost three years, my top priority was to get healthy physically and emotionally and become the best version of myself for me and for those I love.  I learned more about myself during that time than I had learned in my 39 years prior.

In some ways it seems like that life changing phone call was just last week and in other ways it has been a very, very long road, mostly filled with baby steps to get me where I am right now...

Today I took another (not so baby) step when I returned to teaching.  I've been ignoring the looming start date for several weeks and today, it was here.  I got up extra early so I could sneak in a quick run before I left for my first day in 3 years.  As I was running, it suddenly hit me.  Walking back into work today doesn't make all the ugly stuff go away, but it does help to put some closure to it.  I am moving on and although it's hard to do, it feels good to start a new chapter.  Today's step still felt a bit wobbly; I continue to be a work in progress, but I did it and with the support of my family, friends and colleagues I think I'll be just fine. 

And then there was this "sign" in the high school bathroom after the orientation this morning.  I certainly appreciate the gesture among the f-bombs and other profanities garnishing the toilet paper holder.  At least the vandal was spreading kindness!
And finally, I can't let the day go by without wishing my beautiful BFF a very Happy Birthday!  Wishing you a fantastic, fun-filled and perhaps, slightly boring, year ahead.

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