For those of you just joining me, let me recap the last few years and the origins of this blog: In 2011, I finished grad school with an MAT in English Education. Because we graduated in August (awkward time of year to begin a teaching job search), my dad and his partners let me work at the family law firm in the interim. In November of that year, I started to get all manners of sick. Night sweats, vomiting, weight loss, congestion. I assumed I had bronchitis because I didn’t want to be a panic-monger and believe what the WebMD was telling me.
After a miserable holiday season, my dad’s paralegal/my friend demanded my dad send to his personal physician (who’s also his best friend). Long story short, they found a shadow, and I find out a few days later I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. And fade to black.
Obviously a lot more happened. This blog alone chronicles the initial cancer journey. When I started the blog, it was meant to be a voice for young-adult cancer. Sadly, it’s only now becoming a thing, and there still isn’t a lot of data or research on what my long-term prognosis is. Thankfully, the odds of the lymphoma not coming back are in my favor. The treatment was rough though. After some horribly aggressive and painful chemotherapy and radiation, I’m now more at risk for breast, lung, and thyroid cancer.
The blog’s original title was created by someone (me, in case you were confused) who believed “victory” simply meant curing the cancer I had at the time, and liked the punniess of the title (I was on a lot of heavy medication). Almost a year and a half after finishing treatment, “victory” means… Well, I’m not sure exactly. I know my cancer is cured, but life and my spirit aren’t.
I have a nice therapist, excellent friends, a good Sunday school class, a much better relationship with my dad, and no excessive amount of hospital debts. But I still suffer from insecurity over my future, and my body took a beating. My body is really what led to the rebirth of this blog.
As you can imagine, chemo and radiation can be bad enough in themselves. My tumor was 14 cm by 12 cm before we caught it and managed to damage my lungs, my heart, create hairline fractures to the breastbone, and paralyze a nerve down the left side of my body (resulting in a paralyzed vocal cord and left diaphragm). As a result, I feel like I haven’t been able to take a deep breath since November of 2011 and I’ve also put on about 50 pounds since college.
A close friend invited me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding in October of this year. As things stand now, I’ll be the only single bridesmaid, as all the others will be married by that time, or are married now. I don’t mind being single at a wedding; I just don’t want them to look at me and think, “Well, obviously.”
2013 wasn’t bad per se, but my only standard to make it a good year was “Don’t get cancer again.” Hence, my new definition of victory has become creating a life I can be proud of. I’ll be chronicling my job search for a teaching position, my weight loss victories, and general musings as I blunder through life. Armed with a trainer, more cookbooks than the CIA, and this fine blog, 2014 will be the year of change.
|True story: This was my fortune from my lunch cookie today.|
I don’t plan on most entries being this long, don’t worry. And if sarcasm and cynicism aren’t funny to you, I am not your blogging soul mate.