On Wednesday morning, I packed my suitcase, grabbed Uncle Fred and my favorite blanket and headed to the hospital thinking I would be there for five days. Two hours later, Dr. D came in the room and said we’d have to wait a week until I could start my fourth round of chemo. I was certainly not looking forward to being in the hospital for five days but I was ready for it. I had mentally prepared myself and there’s always a sense of “excitement” to start the next phase because it just means I’m one step closer to the end goal. So in a weird way, I was disappointed that I didn’t get admitted last week— not to mention, my bags were packed and I knew I’d have to unpack just to repack— the worst.
For eleven months, all I’ve been dreaming of is getting my life back— in particular, going back to work and being able to have a drink. I’ve said it time and time again, and that time is finally here. And it’s really, really….weird. Going back to work last week was overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. I was so thrilled to be back in the “real” world (however I’d argue that my life has been pretty real this past year) but I had forgotten that the real world isn’t exactly what I had cracked it up to be. Back to cube land, back to meetings, back to traffic, back to getting up early and getting home late, back to work clothes and no pajamas. I had gotten very used to my life revolving around cancer, revolving around being as healthy as I could be, focusing solely on myself and getting better. My days were lonely and boring but in a way, I had grown accustomed to it. So getting back into the grind of working is proving to be more difficult than I had expected. Everything just feels different. Physically, the day tires me out much more than it ever has and since I’m still going through chemo, there’s things like achey-ness and headaches that I have to learn how to just push through. What’s more is that my mindset has shifted so much from where I was a year ago. I feel so lucky to be here, so grateful to be alive and able to go to work. However, this feeling like I’ve been given a second chance at life is a bit overwhelming. I want to make a difference in the world and help other people as so many people have helped me. Instead, I do social media for a company that makes billions of dollars a year, so in reality I’m just helping the rich get richer. I am so grateful to still have a job but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around going back to a work life where nothing has changed while everything in my life has changed so drastically.
The beauty, however, of the working world is the pure bliss that the weekends give you. After one short week, I was quickly reminded of just how rewarding a Friday night on the couch with a glass of red wine feels. Wait, wine?!?! Yup! I am able to have some drinks again and it feels ahhhh-mazing! Saturday night we went to a bar for Mike’s birthday with a bunch of friends. As I was dancing around in the bathroom while I got ready, I realized how excited I was to go “out.” How just the act of doing my hair and makeup, something I’ve often complained about in the past, was making me so genuinely happy. I hadn’t gotten to go out like a normal 25 year old in almost a year and that night, I was getting to do that. It was SO fun to have fun.
The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of old experiences with a new attitude. And that attitude is gratitude. Gratitude that i’ve made it this far. Gratitude that I was able to go back to work, to have a drink with friends, to workout at the gym, to exercise at all, to eat normally again…that I’m able to have a life again. i’ve still got a long road ahead of me and a lot of work to do but I’ve come a long way. I’ve got myself a new normal and I’m just going to have to get used to it.
But what originally felt like a setback quickly turned into something I felt grateful for. Not only has the weather been absolutely gorgeous but physically I’ve felt better than I have for quite some time and therefore was really able to enjoy just being home and having some time to myself. I had plenty of energy which allowed me to work on a mothers day gift for my mom all day Thursday (before & after pic below… loved the way it turned out)! Friday night Mike and I went out and got pizza from our favorite place and caught up on some TV. It was a perfectly lazy night.
Saturday, Mike and I had fun day, plain and simple. The day felt normal and that’s exactly what we needed. My Grammy bought me a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts: Boston for my birthday and we hadn’t been able to use it. Feeling good, I got all dressed up and we headed downtown. We so enjoyed the museum, so many beautiful and interesting pieces of work. I especially loved an exhibit called “Think Pink” which examined the history of the color pink particularly in fashion. We saw Lucien Lelong sketches, Oscar De La Renta dresses and Louboutin shoes… I was in heaven.
Then we headed to Boylston, walked around for a bit to see all the beauty that’s Boston in Springtime and enjoyed an early dinner outside together. Came back to our home and watched the Bruin’s demolish the Canadiens on our comfy couch. Glorious day.
Today was special as well. I felt really lucky to be able to spend Mothers Day, not in the hospital as we had planned on, but at home in Manchester with my family. My Nanny was there. My sister was there. And of course my mom. If we had only had my Grammy there, I would’ve been with the four most important women in my life. I’ve been so blessed to have so many strong women surround me and show me what it means to be a wonderful mother. And since it is mothers day, I’ll tell you a little about my mom. She’s the best. She’s the happiest, most loving, funny, beautiful woman I know and above all else, she is my best friend. I’m such an unbelievably lucky lady to call her my mumma.
Sunday nights can get me a little bummed but tonight I feel happy and lucky that I’m in my own bed, watching the Revenge season finale knowing I was able to have such a fabulous weekend with a lot of people I love. If I would’ve been admitted on Wednesday, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy these past few days like I have. Everything really does happen for a reason.