Sunday, October 28, 2012

One year post chemo . . . and a new chapter ahead!

Last week it was my one year anniversary of being done with chemo - yahoo!  I can hardly believe that it was only a year ago that I had my last experience having those crazy potions infused into my body.  My life is truly better than it was before my diagnosis and I am so grateful for the journey that continues to amaze me as miracles unfold.  

I’m starting a new chapter in my life.  It is both scary and exciting to take this leap of faith and I know it is the right thing for me. I am leaving my job as a corporate recruiter to focus on my own business - Utah’s Matchmaker.  It is another way for me to  bring people together by planning dates and events for high caliber LDS singles across the USA - and even some in other countries.  I absolutely love it and until now, have not had the time to really take it to the next level.  Things have transpired in a way that allows me to make this happen at this time.  In addition to matchmaking, I will be keeping my foot in the world of recruiting by filling a few positions for companies I enjoy working with.  I am so excited to be my own boss and to have the flexibility to spend more time with friends and family and give back to so many who have blessed my life when I needed them most.

My last day with Cambia is November 9th, and my heart is a bit heavy - after more than 9 years with the company it feels a lot like a break up that needs to happen but tugs at my heart.  I know some may think it is just a job but it was a huge part of my life for so long and I feel a sense of loyalty that is hard to let go of.  I am thankful for the blessings that have allowed me to take this step, including many people who believe in me, even when I doubt myself.

So I plan to enjoy the holidays more than ever and help bring happiness to others who are searching for someone special to share life with.  I have 2 events planned called The Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidates - would love to get your help in spreading the word on this:

I still only have a few inches of hair to show off but I am thankful to have it and look forward to the time when I can pull it back or at least have a few more styling options :).  

I am feeling better than ever - emotionally and physically.  The last few challenges I was having in fully recovering from chemo have finally been tamed - some of them are too personal to share all the details but I will give a little here in hopes that it may help someone out there going through something similar.

During my treatment I wrote about “chemo brain” - a very real issue that cancer patients experience, where their brain becomes fuzzy and it is difficult to focus and process information.  It was nice to be able to claim chemo brain when I did stupid things but there were days when it was so difficult and I really didn’t feel capable of doing everyday tasks.  One of those tasks was driving - particularly on the freeway.  For months I struggled with this and had several panic attacks that I remember vividly on various points on the highway.  

Over the past year, even though chemo brain was technically vanishing, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from feeling the same level of anxiety that I had when I drove on the freeway during chemo - especially in the places where the panic attacks happened.  Friends were patient with me and have driven me places, listened to my frustrations and kindly coached me as I have tried various remedies to overcome this issue.  Finally over the past month I have been successful in addressing this fear and after months of driving the backroads for most of my travels, I was able to have anxiety free freeway driving this past month - yahoo!  There are still some ups and downs in this area but the progress I have made is amazing.

The other significant aspect of healing is very personal and has to do with my body being able to fully function as a woman.  I am so grateful for the miracles I have seen in my life throughout this trial and I know that I will continue to understand why I was given this opportunity to learn and grow in this way. 

I am not one to watch much TV but I started watching the series “Parenthood” last year around this time.  This season, one of the main characters is going through her own journey and treatment for breast cancer.  So much of what is happening for her rings true for me and it is validating to watch someone else go through many of the same emotions and experiences that I had.  I hope that I can use this firsthand knowledge to help others during their time of need in the same way that others have blessed me with their wisdom during mine.

So . . . I have one more phase of the reconstructive surgery that I will be doing on December 6th.  I know, I said I was done already - but apparently I was wrong :).  It is so minor compared to the others I have had - but it will take a couple of weeks to recover from.  One thing I didn’t understand, and perhaps didn’t really want to know is that even though the cancer treatment is over, the reconstructive part of the journey takes time and is done in phases.  I imagine it might be something like someone who is born with a cleft palate -  there are a series of surgeries that are done in order to cosmetically create the right look.  Even though I thought I was done with surgery, I am thankful that I am able to live in a modern world where we have the advanced medical procedures to create a very good replica of what I lost. So while the surgery I am having is not essential to my survival, it is important to me in feeling whole again.  

Today at church I was reminded of a favorite scripture where Christ heals a multitude of people.  One man pointed out a profound truth - that we are all healed by the Savior but it is not always as instantaneous as we might wish.  Instead it may be a gradual process that happens in a way that unless we are paying attention, we do not recognize His hand in it all.  Although the instant healing is miraculous and easy to recognize, the more gradual healing I have experienced over the past year and a half has taught me much more.  I am very grateful for the Lord’s wisdom in doing for me what I need instead of what I want.  I love you Lord.  I love you my dear friends and family.  

3 Nephi 17
6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with acompassion towards you. 7 Have ye any that are asick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or bleprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will cheal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. 8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your afaith is bsufficient that I should heal you. 9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their ablind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.