Sunday, April 1, 2012

People


So what I'm learning is, there are a lot of nice people around. I'm also being reminded that I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to others. Couple that with the newness of my job and I feel pretty stressed in general. Thank goodness Spring is coming. Each sunny day I feel a little more energised.

I still need to figure out how to take care of myself. I'm still trying to build a new life and get out of this bubble. I'm afraid of illness, germs, people, loss and about me being broken in general. There is a deep seeded fear that no one will ever want me.

I thought after my bone marrow transplant I would one day get better and walk away from it all. Now I know that it's embedded in me forever. As an artist I can see good things in that, I can take my experiences and create with them.

Now I need to let people back in my life. I've always kept such a distance from people, I would never tell them anything about myself. I had a deep line drawn in the sand around me. I hope I can let that go and invite someone in.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Surviving the First Date

I went on my very first date in more years than I want to mention (okay 5 1/2) and I survived. I showed up to the initial meeting place to see a nice, handsome looking gentleman. It was such a relief when I pulled up. He was slightly early and stood up as soon as he saw me.

All the nerves I probably should have had didn't appear. It was much less awkward than I had imagined it would be and despite the unshakable handicap of being me, I feel like I did not do badly.

As someone who has had at least 15 years of nightmares of my wedding day, I felt no urge to run away. For me, that is epic.

My nightmares usually consisted of being at the church in my dress. It was usually time to walk down the isle and I would be frozen, trying to figure out how to get out. Sometimes I'd climb out a window in my dress, sometimes I'd be forced down the isle, sometimes I'd just be paralyzed in my layers of white tulle.

I guess I may not have mentioned it on my blog before, but I was married. Eons ago. That's how I ended up with my amazing children.

So that's enough about that.

Usually when I have gone on dates in the past, I have felt completely alien from the person I was out with. I would get an overwhelming feeling of loneliness which I feel a heck of a lot less of, by being on my own. The idea of tying yourself to the fate of another human being made me beyond uneasy.

So the utter calm and pleasantness of this casual date relieves me. I can actually see now that there are kind men out there. I knew they existed out in the wild in theory.

So step one accomplished. Upwards & onwards!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dating After Cancer

Hello stranger. Sorry to give the impression things aren't going well because they are. So good in fact, I never have time to write about it.

I feel a bit like Cinderella. It's completely crazy how life can flip on top of itself, in a good way as well as bad. Right now I'm experiencing the good at a furious magnetic pace.

I'm a planner and when all my life's plans were stomped on once again by leukemia, it sent the ground shaking.

I finished my degree but have been thrown back about 10 years, I'm seeing my 30's as a write off. Cancer is not the only giant bone crippling hurdle I've dealt with but I wish it would be the last. Life doesn't work that way though, does it. It just is what it is, good with the bad. Despite my planning personality I'm learning to go with the flow. Wrestling life into submission just isn't working.

So I got my sorry butt back to work about 7 months ago. Being ill and unable to work for 5 years in your prime hurts like hell. It stomps on your self worth until you feel like nothing is left. The truth of the matter is no matter what, you have to pick up and keep moving. That's the only way to take your life back. The only way.

I learned early on in life no one is going to come and make it all better, it's up to me. So I borrowed some money and bought a few clothes to take myself back in to my previous employer. It felt like a real gamble. I didn't actually know if I could physically deal with getting back to work, I didn't know if I could ever repay the money for the clothes. I didn't know if I would get sick and I didn't know if I would be out of commission for weeks or months again.

I took a chance, held my head high walked in. They welcomed me back. The next three months, though were spent at work or in bed. I learned to use the intercom to have my sons bring me food. I fantasised about being able to float through the house so I wouldn't walk because my feet hurt so badly. They have a respite room where I would lay until my break was over. I stand up, do a few stretches and walk back out.

After those couple of months I decided I could deal with a little bit more (who the hell knows why I thought that). The job was a part time casual position. So I applied to a place that had my heart. The job description was for a cleaner on the weekends.

I didn't feel worth the dirt I'd be cleaning but I figured I'd rather clean there than do something else at a place I didn't like. So I became the best damn cleaner they ever had. Seriously.

I made cleaning the space into a science. I had a certain rhythm and system. I was also covered in sweat, bright as a tomato at all times. I cleaned my heart out yet all the time thinking they were going to fire me. I'm assuming that was because I felt I had become completely useless. My esteem was in the toilet, so to speak.

I struggled and struggled to seem normal, to function as a normal human being but I think I overshot it considerably. Soon they asked me to start on other things, again I did my best feeling like I was failing. It was odd, I had the feeling of failing every day I was there, yet was completely exhilarated by being part of the world again.

Next I was asked to write a blog post. Then I was asked to do some drawings. Suddenly I was no longer cleaning.

Now I am their 'social media star' as my boss put it the other day. My designs are being worn on fashion around the city, covering their store's wall, my photography is uploaded every day and my mind is officially blown. I feel like Cinderella, a blindsided Cinderella.

I rented a treadmill to try and shed some of this illness related weight. In two weeks I lost 11lbs by walking 10 mintes a day. I bought the first scale I have ever owned and thought it was broken and almost returned it. Luckily I weighed myself at the YWCA on my way to take it back and t confirmed that scale was sound. I swear I stood there in silence for several minutes just staring at the numbers trying to see if I had it right.

I think it's inevitable to feel low when you're hit with something as bad as cancer. It happens to the best of us. Again just get up and keep going, pretend if you have to. Pretend until it becomes reality. Having an extra 25 pounds on me was so hard for my psyche because I have always been such an active athletic person. I still have 15 to go.

So now to the dating. Fake it until I make it? My life went into a haze when I was 32 and now I'm 39. I'm attempting to pull myself up by the boot straps and... and what? I hardly know.

Dating seems so foreign to me but I know I would like to spend my life with someone. I feel like I've patched up some holes in my life, hopefully enough to be able to have a conversation with someone.

So I signed myself up for online dating since all the cool kids are doing it and I have two dates lined up this week. Two. Is it like riding a bike? You never quite forget how to do it? The problem with that is getting back on a bike was horrifying and my body did not remember how to do it. So I bought a bike and did it anyway.

And tomorrow I throw myself back into the pool. Damaged, older and fatter, I'll do it anyway. I hope it doesn't break what's left of my heart.

It would be nice to have someone besides my pharmacist to flirt with.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

I know I've been AWOL for a while. I've gone back to work and it takes up all of my time. I did manage to get a few days off and spent a day full of solace, painting the large canvas I had gessoed recently.


I had no intentions for the canvas. I just grabbed a bunch of colours, a few brushes and went for it. I find painting a good way to process events & feelings in my life. Things are so good now I can hardly believe it, yet there is a lot of pain and uncertainty in other areas.

So I got out my paints in the chipper colours and painted out my pain. Holding the brush, I dipped into my paints and felt the texture of the much used canvas becoming something new.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun Day

The mountain and I had a date a few days ago. We haven't seen each other much since I started working again but I plan on making it more. There's nothing like the view after my own two feet have taken me to the top.












Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Struggling

I can't believe I'm still struggling. Things are going so well, yet it doesn't take much for a complete setback. I guess it's not a complete setback but it sure feels like it.

I had my flu shot a couple of weeks ago but before it could kick in my son had bronchitis and gave it to me. I'm pretty good at avoiding illnesses that pass through the house but this one caught me. I lost my voice for 6 days and had the worst sore throat. I went off to a clinic and then a few days after that my Dr. They swabbed me for strep but I guess it turned out to be viral rather than bacterial. I have been immobile for a week. Partway through after being on penicillin for a few days without improvement I started to get scared. Not much scares me but my mind does wonder when I get bruises.

I never had bruises even though they are the most common symptom of leukemia. So when I get them they make me wonder. Unfortunately being sick this week has paralleled my experience of when I was diagnosed and almost died. I found myself keeping my phone with me in bed in case I couldn't get up and needed to call for help. I even felt afraid that I might die in the night. I'm sure all those that have had cancer can relate to what I'm saying. What seems on the outside to be an irrational fear, becomes very plausible in a post cancer reality. This last week has been too, too similar to what was almost my very last week.

So I was able to tell my Dr. my fear and she helped assure me that it's most likely a flu.

So now that I've survived the week, I feel tired because I know what comes now. It's hard to get my body back to being like it was after even a week of being sick. It's always uphill. Why are things always up hill these days? So yesterday I managed to wash my hair. Today I managed to get dressed and I'm hoping to make it out of the house for a walk. At times like this I want to run but I'm back to baby steps. God I hate baby steps.