September 4th marked the seven month anniversary of my brain tumor resection craniotomy. WOW! I cannot believe it’s been that long ago now. There are times that it seems like it couldn’t be that long ago, but then as I look back at all I have been through physically, it seems about right. I am so grateful for the recovery that I have had so far.
I have had the chance to reconnect with some old friends, formed a closer relationship with God, been at peace and stopped being such a worrier. (If I had known that my diagnosis would lead me to not having anxiety and worrying constantly maybe I would have wanted cancer sooner. Okay, not really!) There are life lessons to be learned no matter what path we go down and I feel like I’m getting my dose of shit happens , but you cannot let it consume you and the beauty of my life far outweighs this illness and all that comes with it.
As I do look back over these months, I won’t say that I have regrets, but there are things I wish that I had done or wouldn’t have done or things that hadn’t happened, so this is me using my blog as therapy today. If you’d like to get comfy in a chair and pretend that I’m laying on your sofa, feel free to break out a pad to jot down notes and psychoanalyze me. I welcome it!
- That everyone had a support system like I do of family, friends and community. My heart is so full of gratitude and love. I cannot even list all of the kindness that has been bestowed upon my family and myself. There is always someone there for us when I ask or even when I don’t ask. My heart breaks for those who are ill and do not have this kind of support. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. You all make my fight worth it!
- That I didn’t have to have the conversation with my seventeen year old daughter that the long term survival rate for my diagnosis is very slim statistically. It truly was the most painful thing to watch her reaction because she was hurting so much and scared. You’re supposed to be able to hold your kids and comfort them and assure them that everything will be okay. I wish so much that’s what I could have done for my sweet girl. She is such an amazing young woman. The way my kids have handled everything has just made me mirror a lot of their optimism and strength.
- That my family and friends didn’t have to go through this. They worry about me and love me so much. It is quite flattering that so many want me to be around for a long time. I know there have been plenty of times in my life when my mom probably wished she had the funds to send me off to boarding school or times my husband wished his business trips were longer.
- That I would have separated my personal life from my professional life. During the midst of all of this I was working on my web series that I created and wrote. Things were really picking up with the film festivals and getting ready to release it, but things got delayed and meanwhile the news spread very rapidly through the Nashville film community even though I only told a few people. I wish I had thought it through and asked them all not to share that I had this damn tumor. I appreciate the people that still reach out and want my notes on their scripts and films and want to collaborate. It does seem that so many think that I am incapable of working or I guess they think I’m lying on my death bed. But, oh well that has freed me up to work on a project that I have never felt more passionate about. I want to film a short documentary that will hopefully bring awareness and I pray funding for more childhood cancer research. I will share more on this in the near future.
- That people would stop saying, “Oh, I shouldn’t be complaining about this in front of you”. Please complain away. If you are irritated and need to vent then please do. We are all human. You think I don’t get pissed off when I walk into my kitchen and see fingerprints all over the stainless appliances after I just cleaned them all. You can complain about your aches and pains. When it comes to suffering and you’re in pain we don’t need to play the My Pain Is Worse Than Your Pain game. There isn’t a competition. If I’m with you, it’s because I chose to hang out with you or speak to you on the phone and it doesn’t need to be all about me and my cancer.
- That I hadn’t lost my friend to Colorectal Cancer a few days ago. She was such a huge support when my mom was diagnosed last summer and then when I got my diagnosis, she was such a cheerleader. She told me to never give up. Her daughter is the same age as Penelope and I cannot stop thinking of her husband, her children, and all of her family and friends. She just always had this easiness and bright smile and our community was very blessed to have her in it. She will be missed by so many. Her words still fuel me to keep moving forward.
- That you all have peace in your lives and learn to let go of a lot of added stress, anger, resentments, anything that is holding you back from enjoying your life. Embrace each day with a sense of renewal and be grateful. You only get one chance at this life. Live it fully, laugh often, and don’t be like the old me; the worrier. Worry less. Worrying gets you nowhere.