Wishes, Dreams and Realities

The Future

Lately, I have been struggling to write. It seems I have all of these thoughts and these emotions, but I can’t seem to put them into words. I sit down to write and just stare at the blank page, pen in hand, waiting for inspiration to strike. I can sit for hours and write nothing. It’s agonizing. What do you do when you can’t put your thoughts into words or actions? I tend to sit and stew and worry about them. But I had a realization the other day. I am having difficulty putting my thoughts into words lately because all of my thoughts seem to be about the upcoming future.

Now, the future is scary enough, but as a person with a chronic illness, it can be terrifying to think about the future, because we aren’t always guaranteed one. We could be lucky and have our illness be controlled for the rest of our lives until the day we die when we are old and grey. Or, conversely, we could be a member of the unlucky, and suffer severe symptoms and side effects from drugs that leave our bodies wrung out and we die early in life. Because our days seem to vacillate between one extreme and the other, with us never knowing which end of the spectrum our days may fall on, it is hard to plan for any kind of future because we never know how we are going to feel, if we are going to end up in the hospital, or a coffin.

Lately, my thoughts have centered around my relationship with my boyfriend and our future together. We have been together for five and a half years and I love him with everything I have. We live together and I want to be with him forever. He has been my rock and I am always safe with him. My father just told me recently that my boyfriend asked him for permission to ask me to marry him. But there’s the rub. I have cancer. What guy wants to put up with that? And though I am lucky and do not have to deal with intravenous chemotherapy and radiation, I do take tons of pills each day and I get super cranky when I don’t feel good. I work in a customer service role in Human Resources, so I always have to be pleasant at work, even on my bad days, so my boyfriend bears the brunt of my displeasure at being sick as soon as I get home. I know it isn’t fair to him so I try to temper my reactions, but it’s hard. He says he doesn’t mind, but when someone complains all the time, people eventually get sick of listening.

We have talked about getting married and about having kids over the past few years, but everything in my mind changed with my cancer diagnosis. I found out that having children is next to impossible because it will always be a high risk pregnancy that can result in intrauterine death, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, stillborn babies and more. I used to have our future all planned out and I could see it clearly in my head. Now, that vision is fuzzy. Currently, I am in the doctor’s office every two weeks for blood work and followups to ensure that I am reacting to the oral chemotherapy correctly. I can’t travel unless I plan far in advance and get approval from my doctors. Thank god for good insurance, because my medicines alone cost close to $15,000 a month without it. With those kinds of bills, how can I save money to buy a house so we can move out of our one bedroom apartment? How could I afford kids? These medications are something I will have to take for the rest of my life.

So now, my wishes and dreams have changed. I have to focus on realities. I no longer want the extravagant wedding. I can’t afford it and honestly, all that I care about is knowing that my boyfriend and I are together. So bye bye white wedding and hello justice of the peace.I may not be able to have kids, so now I am thinking about adoption further down the road or possible surrogacy. I am not for sure planning anything beyond the next year, but I have ideas for how I want the next five years to go. Anything beyond that is blank. It seems morbid to some people, I know. My mother thinks I’m crazy. I can hear her now: “You have to plan for the future, otherwise what will you strive for?” Well mom, how about trying to control my cancer for now? I’ll worry about the future later.

And as crazy as that may seem, I feel almost….well, free. I am living in the moment more than I ever have and not stressing over the future or what other expect of me. I am no longer concerned with how others view my life. It doesn’t matter if anyone else approves of me, except myself. I am not worried about my career, or grad school, or saving tons of money to buy a house. It just isn’t as extremely important anymore. What is important is working to the best of my abilities on good and bad days, in whatever I am doing, whether its work, school, or relationships. All I can do is do my best and worry about getting through today to get to tomorrow. And today is a great day. Its beautiful outside with the sun shining bright and the smell of fresh cut grass. I have a good job, a fantastic boyfriend, a loving family, and great friends. The future is far off. I must admit, I am loving the now.

Advertisements

Things I have learned

life

After the numerous health issues I have had for the past six years, especially a cancer diagnosis this past Thanksgiving, I have decided to list a lot of the important lessons I have learned. I feel like everyone can use a reminder of the good things that can come out of bad situations. I know on the days where I really struggle, these learned lessons are great reminders that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone remain your friend. All you can do is be the best friend possible. If they decide that they can’t handle you at your worst, they don’t deserve to be around for your best.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I want things to change, some things are just out of my control. (Especially the removal of certain tv shows from Netflix…I’m so disappointed)

I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend or family member is, they’re human and they are going to hurt you occasionally. Forgive them.

I’ve learned that it’s not important to have material things in your life, but it is important to have people that love you and that you can trust in your life that counts.

I’ve learned that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.

I’ve learned that charm and good looks can only get you so far. Knowledge and wit will get you farther.

I’ve learned that you can’t compare yourself to others, because no one has walked in your shoes. No one in the world has had the exact same experiences as you.

I’ve learned that it only takes a single moment to break your own heart.

I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. I am not there yet, but I will be there one day.

I’ve learned that you should always tell someone you love them as soon as you know. It may be the only chance you get to tell them.

I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you think you can’t. Don’t give up.

I’ve learned that we are responsible for all of our actions, no matter how we feel. Don’t let feelings influence all of your actions. You may regret them.

I’ve learned that you can only control your own attitude, not that of other people. How you react to a situation shows who you are. How they react shows who they are.

I’ve learned that passion is not always necessary in a relationship, because it fades over time. It’s better to fall in love with your best friend, because when the passion is gone, you have the comfort, love and friendship of another person to fall back on.

I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. While our service men and women are most certainly heros, they are not the only ones in the world. Sometimes a hero is simply a little kid standing up for another kid who is getting bullied.

I’ve learned that money doesn’t buy happiness. It can help, but there are so many stories of billionaires and celebrities being miserable even when they have all the money in the world. Money creates greed and it destroys relationships.

I’ve learned that my best friend and I can do absolutely nothing, not even talk, and still have the best time.

I’ve learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up. And those that you expect to help you up are the ones that walk away after you fall.

I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel to anyone else.

I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love. Long distance isn’t for the fearful. It is for the brave.

I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. I know people that are mature at 21 and others who are completely immature at 75. (talking to you dad…. (: )

I’ve learned that you should always tell children that their dreams are obtainable. Even if you don’t truly believe it, because no one should have their hopes squashed. Let them retain their innocence for as long as possible. The world is already hard enough to handle.

I’ve learned that your family isn’t always biological. Sometimes, they aren’t worth your time. Pick the people you want around you, and they will be your family.

I’ve learned that I have to forgive myself for the things I regret. It isn’t someone else’s job to make me happy.

I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief. Even if you feel like the world has stopped spinning for you, you must remember that everyone else keeps on moving.

I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I’ve learned that it is far better to be rich in love and friendship than it is to be rich in monetary ways.

I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned that all things in life constantly change – friendships, animals, school teachings…etc.

I’ve learned that sometimes, secrets can break you. It’s not always smart to always want to know everything.

I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. Art is a perfect way to determine this.

I’ve learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a loved one asks for help, you will find the strength to give more

I’ve learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being. Case in point, some doctors are horrible, and others will bend over backwards to show you how much they care.

I’ve learned that the people you care about most in life are what matters. Not material goods. Focus on relationships, not buying things.

I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve learned that its hard to determine which bridge to cross and which to burn. You will make mistakes with this. It’s never easy.

I’ve learned that you can be in a room full of people and still feel completely and utterly alone.

I’ve learned that we need to go with the flow. Trying to control everything just leads to stress and worry. It is detrimental to your health.

I’ve learned that life is about the journey, not the destination. Think about it, the destination is death. Life is for the living, embrace all aspects of it.

I’ve learned that people deserve a second chance. But no more than that. Remember that saying “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me? Second chances are great. Third, fourth, fifth and so on chances are mistakes.

I’ve learned that being manipulative may get you the things you want, but it will not give you the respect and love of others.

I’ve learned that helping others helps me. Not because it makes me feel better about myself, but because it gives me time to stop worrying about my own struggles.

I’ve learned that having low expectations can be good because sometimes high expectations can never be reached and then you will always be disappointed.

I’ve learned that honesty is freeing and as a result, you don’t lie. When you don’t lie, you don’t have to worry about remembering the lies you told.

I’ve learned that being brutally honest doesn’t always win you friends, but people will respect you for it.

I’ve learned that I have to live now, not worry so much about how I will live in the future. The future is not guaranteed.

I’ve learned that not everyone understands sarcasm. Be careful about how you say things.

I’ve learned that being an asshole gets you no where in life. It just makes it so that you are forever alone.

I’ve learned that you need to consider all advice given to you. If you don’t want advice, don’t ask for it, especially if you won’t even consider it. People will eventually get fed of with giving it to you.

But most importantly, I’ve learned that I need to change how I view failure. Failures help make you great. As long as I am breathing, I am not failing. I am simply finding ways to do things that do not work.

You are more than beautiful

So, cancer sucks. Diabetes sucks. Lupus stinks, Multiple Sclerosis is horrible, and fibromyalgia is miserable. All incurable diseases are overwhelming, depressing, and heartbreaking. And sometimes, the disease itself isn’t even the worst part! Often times, the side effects from the medication used to treat the disease can be worse than the symptoms of the disease itself. The side effects can make people feel worse than normal, make them feel useless, unattractive, and helpless. This can lead to severe depression and anxiety which can affect all of the relationships in our lives, both romantic and platonic.

But even through the horrible side effects, the miserable diseases, the bad days, the worse days, and the good days, there is one thought that must remain. YOU MATTER. YOU ARE A GIFT TO THE WORLD.

beautiful

 

Even on the worst days, where it hurts to breathe, and you don’t want to move for fear of pain so overwhelming you could pass out, you are beautiful. Even on bad days where your hair is falling out, your body aches and you feel like no one could ever find you attractive, you are beautiful. When you look in the mirror and can’t find anything to love, trust me, there is someone out there that will love all of your faults, flaws and imperfections. Perhaps its a family member, a friend or a significant other, but someone will love what you don’t. But please remember that you don’t need these people to be strong. You are strong all on your own. You can deal with pain and irritations that would put the average person in the hospital. Your tolerance exceeds anything normal, but you survive. You keep pushing every day. Even when it scares you and you want to crawl under the covers in bed and hide for years, you are courageous.courage

 

Courage is not overcoming something, or acting like it doesn’t hurt, like it doesn’t bother you. Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens you or strength in the face of pain or grief. Simply waking up in the morning with the determination to get through the day to wake up the next morning is a courageous act. This is true strength, true beauty. But courage also allows you to feel fear, to feel anger, and to feel depression. Do not hide from the emotions. Embrace the release that crying can bring. Embrace the fear, for that is what will allow you to conquer it. Being afraid doesn’t mean you are inferior or weak. It means that you recognize that there is something bigger than you that you may not understand or know how to fight, but courage is trying to understand and fight anyways.

Do not let anyone tell you how you should feel. Do not let anyone tell you how to heal your own heart. Do not let anyone judge you for how you handle your illness. As long as you are breathing, you aren’t failing. Remember that. You can do this. I believe in you. You can fight, you can do more than exist. Don’t worry about how others may react to you. Just be authentic. Be 100% you. No one else in the world can do that. That is how you stay true to yourself and that makes you beautiful. It makes you an inspiration and a work of art in a world of monotony. Be unique. Be eccentric. But above all, be you. Don’t change for anyone.Don’t let anyone make decisions for you. Choose your own path. And remember that even though you may suffer from an illness, that doesn’t change who you are as a person. You are not your disease and your disease is not you. If someone in your life believes that, cut them out of your life, because you don’t need that kind of negativity. The world is already a scary place, but negativity just makes it worse. Try and surround yourself with beauty. It will get you much farther than pessimism and cynicism will. Continue to be courageous, strong and beautiful. Because you are, and there is nothing anyone can say or do to change that. You are not alone, and you are not worthless. You matter. You are more than beautiful. You are a star.