Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cancer-versary II

Today marks my two year Cancerversary. Hey, regardless of what you think about Lance Armstrong, I am still a fan. And it's his outlook about celebrating the day he was diagnosed with cancer as a turning point in his life that resonates just a little with me.

I haven't been blogging much this summer and I apologize for that. It's not that I haven't had anything to say. To tell the truth, I discovered that someone (or maybe more than one someone) is out there passing off my posts as her own story. And it made me angry. And I wanted to take down the blog and not give her the ability to steal anymore of my posts. But just yesterday alone, this blog got 176 hits so it is still doing some good and I am glad that I decided not to take it down. But I've been in radio silence mode. (And yes, I know that I should deal with her, but I just haven't had the time or energy's on my "to do list," honest!).

So, I thought I would give you a brief update on where I am at...

I completed the Iron Girl triathlon this summer!!! Thanks to the help and encouragement and talking me down from the ledge of two very dear friends. This is the post I am most sad not to have written this summer. I promise that I will write all the details about how much FUN it was. And I cried just a little when I finished it and I could hear the announcer/DJ guy say, "Shauna Yusko, you're about to finish your first Iron Girl triathlon. And you're a cancer survivor. WAY TO GO!" I get a little teary now just typing this.

I started a new job. Which I adore. In a school that feels calm and happy. Several people out there know what I'm talking about even if it is a little hard to explain. I desperately miss my Evergreen peeps because I thought that I would be there forever. But the energy of the building was just all wrong for me now. And this new school is great! And I get to work part-time. And it just feels like the right place to be.

Teenage boy is on track to graduate this June, even after his attempts to derail his life. We are turning into the month where it historically all goes wrong for him, so fingers crossed we get out the other side in one piece.  I'm not sure if it's the weather, the subconscious memories of the diagnosis, or what makes him start to spiral in October and not come back out until February, but we are really praying this year will be different. And that we finally have a handle on the beast that is depression.

I found my post from last year's cancervesary and thought I would just copy it here, because I still mean all of those words, and everyone still asks what it was like to get THAT phone call. 

I'm not sure that there is anything I would add to the "advice" at the end of the post. I still believe it all. If you aren't doing something that you love, with the people that you love, in a place that you love, WHY THE HELL NOT?! You should be happy! 

There is something to celebrate about every day...find it.

Forget the bucket list. Do the things that you've been meaning to do now! Start checking them off. I read a life-affirming book this summer called "Blind Spot for Boys" (by the amazing Justina Chen). And while it's a book for teens and the teenage narrator is the main character, it is her parents' journey dealing with illness, and another adult character's overcoming adversity to live her dream that really resonated with me. In it, the parents had created a "50 Before 50" list of things that they wanted to do before turning 50. But they never did because that gets in the way. And then the dad gets sick and they will never have the time to do those 50 things. So they pick the one big one and go for it. I do not want to be that person with all those things left to do on my list. I'm gonna go for it! And I started this summer with the triathlon. What's on your list? 

As promised, last year's post from this date: 

One year ago today I was sitting at my desk after school when my cell phone rang. It was my husband, telling me the doctor had called the house looking for me but wouldn't leave a message. (I didn't tell him at that moment, but that was actually the point that I knew it was bad news. When the doctor is trying to track you down IMMEDIATELY, it's really not a good thing). What felt like 5 seconds later, the surgeon was calling me with the news: cancer. And everything else she said after that word was, "blah, blah, blah...cancer...blah, blah, blah, surgery...blah, blah, blah." Seriously, it really was like the Charlie Brown teacher talking. You DO NOT hear anything after the "C" word.

I hung up the phone, sat at my desk for a moment, and then went home. Where I spent maybe 10 minutes trying to decide if I was going to tell Keith before or after he got into his GIANT truck and drove to referee a high school soccer game. I should've been nicer, but misery loves company, so I told him. And that was the beginning of our crazy cancer journey.  

I am still dealing with it every day and really not in the frame of mind to wax poetic about my thoughts.

But I have learned a lot in the last year: about myself, friends, family, what is important, what is NOT important...the list goes on. 

What I want to say most importantly today is that I have learned that life's too short my friends. It really is. And you should be LIVING the fullest...everyday. Always. 

Be happy. 

Say I love you. 

Be thankful. 

Don't take anything for granted. 

Do what you love. 

Don't wait for "someday." 

Oh, and eat dessert first.