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.


Caroline said...

You go girl! It sounds like the life lemons you were dealing with have turned into some champagne and roses. Go have fun and flirt and enjoy your fabulous sounding new job.

Anonymous said...

The VERY TOP of your blog was the FIRST TIME I have actually LAUGHED when sorting through blogs . . . I am trying to make one of my own. I got my diagnosis on May 22, 2012. I am Mormon . . . but having someone else SAY WHAT I REALLY FEEL? LOVE IT! I would LOVE to say this to the woman who called to be my "patient navigator", my surgeon, my OBGYN, or ANYONE ELSE who keeps giving me these STUPID quotes about "my journey", etc etc etc. I don't know you but I just love ya already! I keep reading and all these people seem so resigned, or settled . . . I PISSED! I don't wanna be disfigured or bald! The doctors, surgeons, etc seem to think IM weird because I just don't take it like it's "okay"? Really?

BaldyLocks said...

You need to deal with your situation in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Doing it someone else's way, feeling how other people think you should feel is not honest and won't help you.

Give yourself what you need, laugh, cry and be angry if you need to. Life can be crap and wonderful at the same time. It's all in the moments.

I'm glad you like my blog. All the best to you and go kick some ass!

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