Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

I chose that quote for my title for this entry (and the subtitle of the entire blog) because truer words have never been written or spoken.  Time and myself has changed dramatically since the end of 2012.  While aspects of who I was still remain, I am, for all intents and purposes, a different person. 

Cancer, no matter how treatable or small, is a scary mothertrucker.  When you've grown up as I have, it's not been a good situation.   But, really, when is cancer ever a "good" thing?  Never.  Don't answer that!  It's rhetorical.  Anyway, it's life-changing to be given a diagnosis of cancer.  Especially when that wasn't even on the radar before my gland was removed from my neck.  Docs went in looking for Wegener's/GPA because the symptoms and blood tests were pointing in that direction.  So, when the big bad C word came out, it was like my world up-ended.  I've always heard people talking about their hearing going fuzzy, the world becoming slightly tunnel-visioned.  It's a real thing, let me tell ya. 

So, obviously, in my situation with my gift of two simultaneous diseases, my life went from what is was to what it is now.  Before mid-December 2012, when a page for overtime went out, my brain saw dollar signs and I jumped at it.  12-14-16 hour shifts 4-5-6-7 days a week.  Working for several weeks straight, 8 hours off between shifts.  I would do that with ease.  We needed money, money was available in the form of overtime and I would do whatever it took to support my family.  I was forced into bankrupcy in my prior divorce and I was bound and friggin' determined to stay out of bankrupcy court for the rest of my life.   My husband and I learned the art of making the most of what little time was available. 

Days off weren't set aside to be spent relaxing.  Days off were seen as an opportunity to make more money.  My priorities were really, pardon my french, fucked up.  When I was here at work, I wanted to be home with my husband.  But, at home, I wasn't making money to pay our bills.  And, unfortunately, I couldn't find a solid middle ground where I was able to be home, but also able to make extra monies. 

Before December, I didn't value the little things.  I didn't value sitting down in my house and playing with the cats, or roughing up my dog, or sitting on my front porch while my dog searches for the just-right spot to drop a deuce.  My mind was always on what time it was, what time did I need to leave to get to work, how much sleep was I going to be able to get that night, if I went to bed right when I got home and slept for x-many hours I could get up and work out before going in early, how much money did I need to make, etc etc.  My mind was never settled.  I stressed ALL the time.  I stressed more than I needed to about the money.  I didn't NEED to bring home as much as I was, and when I did ... I plopped the excess on a credit card that I would turn around and use to buy lunch/dinner for work ... It was a vicious cycle that my own brain would not free me from.

All that I ever earned in busting my ass like I did?  A tax bill.  Yep, last year I owed $4500 to Uncle Sam, this year?  This year he wants 8000 of my money.  Had it not been for Cancer and Wegener's/GPA, I'd be looking to get my hands on all the monies this year to try and pay it off quicker.  Alas, my brain is free from the cycle ... I know what I need to do.  I'll make payments, and if I can't pay it off by the end of the year, maybe next year I'll have a return to apply to it.  I can't keep going like this.  I don't have the necessary write-offs (a house or kids) to make a dent. 

This year, it's been all about me.  Not by choice.  I'm not one to ask for help, need help, etc.  I'm a pretty independent person who just does things myself.  I'm the one who likes to give and do for others, never expecting or asking for things in return.  Life has made me focus on me.  I have to speak up for me sometimes, because I try to act like I feel 100%.  I try to laugh and joke around and have a good time because I don't want things to be all about my diseases.   (ugh, plural ...) I don't want people to see me and feel sorry for me.  So I keep smiling!!  Then people say "You look like you're feeling better" or "You seem to be feeling better".  Well ... no.  So, occasionally, mostly at home when I can't keep up the facade of wanting to seem normal, I get quiet or moody.  Dan asks what's wrong and I say "I feel like shit"  and he responds with "I know but what's wrong?" - so I guess I can't always keep up the "I-feel-fine" act.

I have to tell myself it's OK to put myself first sometimes.  It's not a selfish act.  I can't give 101% of myself to everyone else because if I die ... what exactly did I live for?   If I stand at the pearly gates to face my judgment ... will I be reminded that I didn't take care of myself?  Will I be told that I was given one body and I didn't take care of it? That I lived wrong?

Since I've been working these last couple weeks, I have already started to exercise the new rules for my life.  There have been sick calls and I haven't jumped on them to snatch up as much OT as I can before I leave.  I could easily stay for a 14 hour shift tonight, the hours are there but ... my health isn't there and I don't want to make this situation any worse than it is.

I'm not the same person I was in a lot of ways.  I'm still a fun-loving, dork, nerdy girl who wants to get in shape and enjoy life.  Maybe now, when I do get to start working out again I will actually lose weight because of the old sleep/happiness factor. 

Goodbye ol' workaholic ... hello cancer-free chick (soon)

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