Archive | March, 2014

Cured?

31 Mar

Sometimes life landmarks just sneak up on you. Today marks the five-year anniversary of my final cancer treatment, which is more than just a number on a calendar; this marks the day that I am no longer in remission. I am officially cured.

I should feel happy right?

I do. I feel lucky and strong and healthy and accomplished, but the day is incomplete without my partner through it all. Of course I am speaking of my mother. I look back on my illness and all I can see now are the months of her by my bedside. When I was in the hospital she would spend many nights curled up in a tiny ball on the chair next to me in spite of my insisting she go home to her bed. I always meant it when I said I would be fine on my own for the evening, but when I would wake up at 2am in pain, seeing her asleep nearby, I felt relief.

On the hardest days, when I was really sick of being sick my mother would tell me to close my eyes. She would run her fingers gently along my arms and up to my hairline and she would say, “imagine it is years from now; you are healthy and happy and your life is far away from hospitals and doctors. You will look back on this time and you won’t remember exactly how much it hurt or how long it lasted, it will become a blip on your radar. You will eventually struggle to remember the moments you thought were so painful you could never forget.”

She was right. I remember the bone marrow biopsy that I swore hurt more than anything I had ever experienced, but now my memory isn’t of the pain. What I can recall is her face through the bars of the hospital bed, her always cool tiny hands clutching mine and the expression of a love so deep that she felt my pain through it. Looking straight at her reminded me that my life was still going on and some familiar things remained. Because of her, my memory of that procedure is not a bad one, but rather a moment where we were together and connected. Someday I will love my children this deeply in part because of that five minutes where I saw her, caring, selfless and desperate to take me away from it all. She just looked me right in the eyes and squeezed; I cried and she cried and then it was over.

I never thought then that when I reached this day she wouldn’t be here with me. We talked about spending the day going out to eat and laughing and not talking at all about cancer. I should have planned something for the day so that I could appreciate what a milestone it is, but without her I cannot truly celebrate the way we had expected. I am cured in the moments when I think about how lucky I was to get that time with her, I would do it all again if it meant I was near her.

Today is just one moment in time. In several hours it will be over and I begin the next chapter of my life as a healthy twenty-something without the worries of CAT scans and check ups. She and I got through it together and for that I am forever changed. When I look back it will all be a blip on the radar, but everything that she was and all the things she did for me will define my thoughts and actions always.

 

Full Time Job Hunting

20 Mar

Applying for full time jobs is a full time job… only horrible.

  • At a full time job I get paid money for my time and energy — applying for a full time job full time I spend money on icky things like resume paper and interview outfits.
  • At a full time job I have a place to show up everyday where people are glad to see me — applying for a full time job full time I show up at Panera to try to befriend with the teenage workers and realize I will never be cool with them (my long-term goal is to get a free asiago cheese bread hookup).
  • At a full time job I am given guidelines and tasks to be productive — applying for a full time job full time I set my own guidelines and tasks such as, “put on pants today” and “I can eat food once I’ve sent out 5 resumes”.
  • At a full time job I make friends and collaborate on projects with like minded people — applying for a full time job full time I have built a relationship with the dog while seeking advice on cover letters and discuss peace treaties with the cats regarding their sitting on the computer keyboard.
  • At a full time job I get to go to office parties and events— applying for a full time job full time I choreograph dances to the entire Frozen Soundtrack and celebrate things like National Ravioli Day and my half-birthday.
  • At a full time job I feel a sense of accomplishment after a hard days work — applying for a full time job full time I feel like I accomplished nothing tangible after a hard days work so I solve a crossword puzzle to feel like I am winning (Monday puzzles only when trying to achieve this sense of defeat).
  • At a full time job I get health benefits that are handled by human resources — applying for a full time job full time I learn the ins and outs of the Health Source RI webpage and by that I mean: the website takes me in circles and then laughs in my face when, after four hours of filling out the same boxes it tells me the site is undergoing maintenance and will be down until after the deadline to apply (seriously, I heard it laugh).
  • At a full time job I am up for promotions and hear praise from the higher ups when I accomplish my goals  — applying for a full time job full time, upgrading my Pandora account for 99 cents is my only promotion and when I accomplish my goal to apply for at least 10 jobs a day I hear, “You are awesome and we hope you will consider applying for other positions with our company in the future but we are going in another direction this time.” So that is a little bit like praise right?

I do feel a sense of pride that through all of this I push forward and continue to search for that elusive, “you’re hired”. I am getting to know my abilities and strengths on a whole new level and I have found there is nothing I cannot accomplish. My grandmother often says to me, “every ‘no’ is a step on the path to the job you were meant for”.

Each “no” will make that final “yes” endlessly valuable to me.

  • What a daily work meeting looks like at my apartment

    What a daily work meeting looks like at my apartment

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