Category Archives: sunflower

Throw back…

I have to admit, I’ve committed to a throw back. That’s right, actual paper and pen…a new journal for this lady. I find that keeping my laptop with me for all ideas and random thoughts doesn’t really work out, and I’m not dedicated enough most nights to stay up this late writing. On tumultuous weekends, like this one, it’s easier to just pull out my little journal and take a written escape or create a rant or just jot down my thoughts. I’m a lightweight when it comes to this journaling, and certainly don’t want anything negative online…I keep those thoughts completely to myself, in the journal. Not that it’s a negative thing to talk or write honestly but rather that my drama is just that, my own.

I admit that I’m finishing one journal before I begin the new one, at least that is the plan. The new journal is for my Florida trip, my getaway, my sunshine therapy…though I am itching to write in it. I need to get to Staples and get some fun pens, and by fun I mean gel pens. I’m silly like that…always wanting the new paper to have new pens. Or maybe, if I’m lucky, find a really fun color…that would be fantastic. I used to have a quill style pen that wrote in a lovely shade of purpley blue…that sounds so girly but it was the most gentle color, so friendly and soft, comforting like a pale blue sky. I ran out of ink for it years ago and was never able to find a pen to its equal. But I will find something!

So while I have been absent here online for a bit, I’m still writing. It’s the throwback type of writing though, looking inward while letting it all flow onto paper. It reminds me what it is I love about writing…the feel of the paper, the ink, handwriting. It’s what brought me to literature and writing to begin with, taking me back to my roots and a love I found as a child. Old school…maybe. Throw back…for sure. But first love…absolutely!

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What I have learned…

In the throes of unclouding and uncluttering my brain, I ended up figuring out something. As much as I want to overlook and give little value to my cancering process, it sits before me like an elephant in the room. It has slowed my life down to a fairly uncomfortable pace which is difficult for me to process…the slowing down has made me think a bit less of myself as I am currently not working…and in an effort to keep my spirits vibrant and fresh and strong, I began to examine where I am at.

As my story mentioned, my perspective has become very clear. I know that I am not satisfied with my current position or status in life. For a long time I have settled, played the game and done the right thing. I’ve been a good girl, a good do-bee, a good worker. However, at this point in my life there has to be something more, something bigger … bigger than just getting along, bigger than overcoming the cancer, bigger than my self worth being determined by a ticking clock (I mean working 8 hours a day, not a life clock.)

I return repeatedly to the life coach field, how that might look for me, what steps I can take now while I’m burning time at home. It means reconnecting with society, overcoming my own insecurities to get out and talk with people, finding the right certification programs to validate my services and direction, and being able to effectively navigate questions that I will be asked or situations that could use my skills, background, knowledge, etc.

To me, this is a valid and much needed field. It can provide guidance and direction, set goals and see incremental steps become success, and provide an outside voice/perspective to get someone through.

There has to be more … whether it is working with cancer patients, coaching new patients, providing information, serving as a life coach or a cancering coach, writing about all this or just creating newsletters for local events and charities and facilities, volunteering as a writer and photographer, or my dream job of opening a bookstore there has to be more. I know…perspective and focus are strong but details still need to be ironed out.

No More Excuses…

After spending much time on my “Healing Journey” I came to the conclusion that the story and information I was sharing was not actually what I wanted to say, so that project is going to be totally revamped at some point and shared at a later date. Bits and pieces of that initial story will be shared in the new version but in the meantime, I’m just coming back to write, share, and hear from friends whose voices I have missed.

When I say no more excuses, it’s me that I am speaking too, trying to will myself back to the point where writing each day becomes part of my regular routine. My mind flies constantly from idea to idea, thought to thought, and needs some decluttering from big to little. And so it is that after months of absence, I am taking back my WordPress space and reclaiming my online oasis.

My first bunch of thoughts involve where I am in my process just to update anyone who has been keeping track. Today finds me more than halfway through my chemotherapy process, with 5 down and 3 to go. After the final treatment, I am escaping to Florida to spend a month with my mother who lives in Daytona Beach for some much needed sunshine therapy and R & R. It is just me going … it will be the first time I have ever been away from my husband and boys for an extended period of time.

There is a piece of me that already feels an element of guilt as our winter to this point has been brutal. In the same breath, I need the sunshine, the warmth of the sand under my feet, and the power of a new environment to strengthen my soul and reinvigorate my spirit. I worry that while I am gone roadblocks will erupt and cause drama that I won’t be here to resolve, especially with my sons. They are older and I have raised them well, but I feel that my comfort and presence is what assists them in making better and more informed choices…and I won’t be here to provide that. I worry that somehow makes me a bad mother, that I am being selfish in getting away. But…I am still going as my ticket has already been purchased.

It’s ironic that having come through the cancer surgery and now finding myself almost having completed chemotherapy that it is still not my own best needs I am looking out for. My life, aside from no longer working full time or at all for that matter, has not changed dramatically. I still do as much of the housework as possible…I still maintain the strong personality when drama or a crisis arises…I still put the needs of them all over the needs of myself. Even on my exhausted and challenging days I fight to maintain the stability in their world. It’s a mom thing I assume, the need to ensure the well being of the boys and household above that of myself.

The Healing Journey … Chapter 7

As I continue this journey and bide my time until surgery day, which is just 8 days away, I find myself still wondering about where this journey is taking me. For whatever reason, I am finding myself surrounded by women crossing into life coaching professions. One woman is utlizing her career planning and development background to begin a career in life coaching. Her strength will be that transition phase for people of all ages and helping those in need discover a course and path that best serves their personal and professional goals. Another young woman was blessed that her employer saw fit to provide wellness coach training to integrate with her role as a charge nurse. As she is an avid health buff and healthy eater, this wellness training and coaching opportunity is a perfect fit in her existing career path and a natural progression. The third woman, ironically, is my general practioner who is learning about finding the authentic self through personal and spiritual guidance. It’s fascinating that in such a short time, all three of these women have come into my life. And more than fascinating but encouraging, as I am a firm believer that surrounding onself with empowered women benefits not only personal goals but professional ones as well.

I have asked them all about their schooling and certifications, how they are planning to integrate their learning into their work places, and whether or not they will be utilizing these skills on a full or part time basis. For the two in the medical field, they truly believe that soon, life coaching will be a service covered by medical/health insurance as the price of coaching can be expensive and at the same time, it’s value is equal to that of therapy. Therapy has much value to those truly vested in it, but when one is looking for an expedient path or a path not psychologically based, working with a life coach is an excellent alternative. Case in point is the work being done by the woman in the career development path…this is simply utilizing existing skills that someone has, taking aptitude tests so as to see where the person’s skills lie, and embracing all that information to build a career path and/or destination through schooling and work.

Based on my own assessment of all this information, and my belief in today’s women needing a strong base and group of resources to pull from, I can stand firm in knowing this field has been brought to me for a reason. I have always wanted to provide a foundation type program to women in my area, providing connections and networks and opportunities for these women to become a part of in order to better their own lives. I am well connected in the staffing world, well connected with area employers, am comfortable talking with people individually and in groups, and believe my life experience has something more to offer than just my day to day data entry type work. That being said, I know that my journey is not only driving me to further my writing and photography, but to become involved in coaching.

I’ve begun looking into different coaching programs, different opportunities in the area, trying to determine if I need a formal degree in counseling to lend credibility to coaching, who my audience would be, and how I might connect with that network. As an avid reader, listening to the voices of strong women whose words have inspired and empowered me so many times, I believe that those words should not be spoken in vain. I know that those voices are all but yelling at me right now, telling me to listen to that inner voice and trust what it is saying, what feelings it is sending to my brain, and to follow in the direction I am walking. Through my news about breast cancer, it is as if my priorities lined right up, and long locked doors are opening before me as if they have always been open. It’s a staggering and empowering message of hope, dreams, and goals finally being attained.

The Healing Journey … Chapter 6

As I am going through this process, I keep feeling my life beginning to change. Perspective seems to be changing for me, as though elements of my life I have felt to be crucial are no longer as important to me. All I want is to spend every free moment with my family, to hear them laugh and see their smiles, to watch my sons and nieces grow up, to crack inside jokes with my sister, and to spend time with my aging parents. I no longer care about work, which is horrible considering my insurance is through my work, though soon, my husband’s new position will be taking care of my insurance. There is much weight being lifted from my shoulders.

What I have also come to realize is that life is too short to spend doing what does not make me happy. I stare out the windows of the office on sunny days willing my day to move more quickly so that like a sunflower, I can turn my face to the warmth of the sun. I spend the entire day on the computer and the telephone, and while I am good at it, I’m not happy there. I am creative and have no creative outlet at work…I’m not complaining just making a statement. I have a great job, and am blessed to have one, but right now, my heart just isn’t in it. There has to be something, some way, that I can reengage in my life and have it supply money as well… where my heart comes through in a manner which allows success as well as some measure of financial income. I’m not shirking my responsibilities but keeping an open mind, much more open, on opportunities. My someday promises need to become today… time to make it happen!

In regard to my most recent testing, I did learn that I am not a carrier for the genetic anomoly referred to as BRCA… this means I am less likely to have a recurrence with this cancer, and more importantly, my boys and their lineage will not have to worry about this gene, at least not from our side of the family. That being said, that reopens the debate of removing one breast instead of two. My husband keeps saying, “Are you sure you want to remove both?” I don’t want to remove one, let alone two …. it’s a very scary thought no matter how you look at it. Major surgery is never a small task and now that I am no longer “young” it is even more daunting.

But I am sticking with a full mastectomy, and at some point in the future, having both breasts replaced. I learned, and may have mentioned, that as a smoker, I need to be tobacco free for 6-10 weeks before they will even consider reconstruction. Good lord … like overcoming this cancer is not enough, I now need to stop smoking as well? Don’t people know that smoking is tough to quit? Why did they wait until now, just before I have wrapped my head around this surgery to tell me? Doesn’t two surgeries seem more daunting and dangerous than just one? I know the argument…infection, skin breakdown, unhealthy skin trying to encompass new material. I get it , I truly do … it is no less daunting though knowing that there is another surgery to follow, to be healed and then start again, more recovery time, more missed time from work (another reason I need to work for myself.)

The good news, as I have stated is that my mother will be here, and because she will be here, my father will hover around my household as well. She will be the love and healing, he will be the strength. I am so blessed. I know that now more than ever. My sister will be the entertainment, my children the questioning expressions trying hard to not see a weakened mother, my youngest niece hoping to play nurse to her “best friend” as she recently described me, my older niece kind of hanging back, and my brother in law coming in and cracking jokes. What a great group of people to be surrounded by while recovering from major surgery … it will be a long process but one filled with so much love and adoration. I couldn’t ask for a better recovery team to be in my corner!

What I do know is that my onward and upward path has not dissipated but rather provided a rocky terrain. I’ve got to strap on my boots, trust myself and my balance, and move forward. Even careful steps are steps forward. I will not be slowed or discouraged. I will follow this path from beginning to end, growing more balanced and steady, more trusting in my ability and inner strength, learning more from guiding forces than the occasional obstacles that lay ahead of me. I feel encouraged by what I am learning about myself, feeling more confident about my path, and more positive with each step that my path has taken me to where I need to be in my life. I’m not always a Me First kind of person … and for the first time in a long time, I am wondering why I haven’t shown myself the kind of love and attention I show everyone else. Would my path have slowed if I had paid better attention? Could I have done something different? Regardless of those answers, the past is just that, past, gone, unable to be changed. What I can do moving forward is pay better attention, take better care of myself, and watch over myself as I do those I love. Having to pay better attention has forced me to slow down, reevaluate where I am in life, take in my blessings, and really begin setting priorities. I would not change a thing… one of those blessings in disguise kind of things!