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Thursday, March 31, 2011


    So I'm sitting here in the cancer treatment center with Mr. Jones scrolling through everyone's FB posts. Lately I feel like my life has been inundated with other people's hardships. I find myself so worried about this one and praying for that one and feeling so bad for the other one. And here I sit watching the man for whom the sun in my life rises and sets face the most difficult thing he's ever had to, and the last person I'm feeling sorry for is MYself. "FML?" WTF?!.... Really? Maybe there's something wrong with ME. Maybe I'm delusional, but I just can't sit here and whine and complain that things are going the way I would want them to. I know I'm a freak. I'm not wired the way most people are; happy is my factory default setting. I wake up every morning feeling happy automatically. If there's something going on that makes me unhappy, it actually takes a few seconds after I wake up before I remember that my life at the moment is less than perfect. And even then, during the course of the day, I get caught up in my lesson or the of-color jokes of my colleagues or my 2 year old daughter saying "Are you kidding me?" and I forget for a minute or an hour or a 39 minute period that I'm supposed to be feeling depressed about my life. How can I?
     I teach biology. Every time I look around at the world in which we live, I am amazed at the perfection with which it was created. The more you understand about the intricate mechanics of life, the more amazing the world becomes. There is absolute perfection in the universe. The dynamic relationships of living and non living things. The way that certain flowers are specifically designed to be pollinated by a specific moth or butterfly. The way a single egg cell can become a beautiful child. The way that the a mother's body can create the most perfect food for her baby complete with specific antibodies tailor made for her perfect child. How we possibly can look at the intricate beauty of the universe and even for one second think that this complexity could be the result of a series of random accidents. Coincidence, "Are you kidding me?!"
     So at any given moment, I have to concede that universe was created with a plan far beyond my ability to comprehend. Where in this perfection do Mr. Jones and I fall?  Well it was no coincidence that I walked into that gym where he was sitting at that moment in his and my life. It was no coincidence in that night in 2003 when I took that 3 minute test that couldn't possibly be positive and found out my life was about to change forever. Nor is it a coincidence that I am sitting here watching Nurse Wendy push vincristine into the man I love's veins while he flashes his perfect smile and laughs about how "milk does a body good." We are all pawns in His master plan (And do I mean capital H-i-m). I actually feel excited sometimes with anticipation about where this is going to lead us. Cancer IS going to change both of our lives forever. We are meeting so many interesting and wonderful people. I wonder who else we will meet that will introduce us to someone who will show us something that will inspire us to...something. Something wonderful is at the end of this journey. Maybe it's a deeper faith. Maybe it's a closer marriage. Maybe it's a new appreciation for the simple things. Maybe it's just a better outlook on life. But make no mistake, my life is has already changed direction, and I am fully aware that I am not driving the bus. All I can do is open the window (so I don't get motion sickness) and enjoy the ride.
     Lately I have that Katy Perry song playing in my head over and over again, "BABY YOU'RE A FIREWORK..." (although, sometimes when I get to the "Boom Boom Boom" part the soundtrack changes to another song from 1987 with a very different message- but I digress.) I KNOW he will conquer this cancer, and I feel like I can conquer the world. And I WILL leave you all going AHH! AHH! AHH! You will NEVER see me post FML. Because my life is blessed. And maybe I AM a freak....but I'm a HAPPY freak. Don't you want to be a happy freak too?

      Hoping I made you smile and forget that you are unhappy....even if it is for just a minute. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to "go back to my room. So we can..." forget it, wrong song again.

Love, Joy and Happiness to you Always (....and foreverrrr each moment with yooouuuuu...I really need to stop..)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness: Am I tough enough?

I’ve been thinking a lot about inner strength. My life, as of late, has given new meaning to term “March Madness.” It used to mean how mad I get when my favorite TV shows have been replaced by a basketball game that I couldn't care less about, but in 2011 it describes a series of doctors visits, re-arranged schedules, last minute baby sitting requests, frenzied Google searches, mass text messages, and hour long commutes to spend hours in a waiting room. This is totally ignoring the fact that I have a full time job, two kids and a household to maintain. I keep looking for the fast-forward button of life. (I won’t tell you what my friend Jennie said she did with it.... apparently I’m not the only one who needs it.) And that’s just it, I’m NOT the only one who needs it.

I won’t keep you in suspense any more. For those of you wondering the results of Mr. Jone’s tests last month, the results came back cancerous. But its OK. It’s “only” lymphoma. In case you haven’t been told as many times as we have, “If you’re gonna get cancer, that’s the one you want!” That’s because it is considered “curable,” and treatments only last a few months. And that’s all well and good (you see that’s why I need that damn fast forward button), but it’s still cancer. He still has to endure being poked and prodded, undressed and felt up and then of course there is the chemotherapy which has not yet begun. Plus there’s the realization that he has cancer. I can’t really understand what he’s going through emotionally. I can only address my own feelings, and mostly I feel overwhelmed. I know in my heart of hearts that he will be fine. We will endure, and he will be well again. His hair should even be grown back by Christmas. Every night I pray for the strength to get through it. I pray for both of us.

I didn’t start this Blog to complain. Nor did I want to invite you to a pity party. My intention has always been and still is to inspire hope for a happy life. And in spite of all the insanity around me, I still feel happy. I still can’t help smiling. The two of us are sitting in the oncologist office laughing hysterically over rubber gloves. How can I still be happy? No, I’m not delusional. I am very aware of the challenges I am about to face. But it doesn’t change that fact that I have a beautiful family, a job I love, wonderful colleagues, amazing friends and a faith that is unshakeable. I have created a world in which I am surrounded by love. I don’t tolerate negativity; I disassociate myself from those people. I always find something to laugh about. I am fortunate enough to have friends who can make even the most awful things seem hysterical. (If I could only tell you what she said she did with that fast forward button!) Laughter really is key. Plus, I’m painfully aware that others around me and in other parts of the world suffer so greatly, and that it makes my issues seem less difficult to handle. We WILL endure.

Last week I had a moment of fear and weakness. I was talking with my friend John at work about it. This is a guy who has lived through great loss, a tour in Iraq, and more than his share of traumatic events. He said to me, “You’ll be all right. You’re tough.” I said, “Yeah, but I’m afraid I don’t know if I’m THAT tough.” He said, “Yeah, you are. I can tell.” A brief conversation. He probably doesn’t even remember it. But for some reason it replays in my head every day. I AM tough. I CAN do this. I can take care of Mr. Jones, and my girls, and my students, and my house, and it WILL all be over soon. WE WILL ENDURE!

And so will you. Whatever it is in your life that seems insurmountable. YOU can endure it. Find something to laugh about. Find someone to hold you. And in case you’re not lucky enough to have a good friend tell you.... YOU ARE TOUGH. YOU WILL ENDURE!

Sadly, I don’t think I ever will find that fast forward button. So I’ll leave you with a quote that one of my girlfriend’s recently gave us on a plaque. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Be well! Be happy! Be strong!

We Can Do it!
My name might not be Rosie, but I can still be rivitting!