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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 It used to mean how mad I get when my favorite TV shows have been replaced by a basketball game that I couldn't care less about, but in 2011 it describes a series of doctors visits, re-arranged schedules, last minute baby sitting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!

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