It’s February!!! Which means I made it through January, not exactly my most favorite month. January is my diagnosis month, the time I spent a good chunk of the month in the hospital. And now, as luck would have it, the month I have checkups, scans and blood work – all things, which can make one come unglued.
Despite all of this…January gave me a couple of things that made me smile – time with my friends, doing things I love.Had you asked me a few months ago how I thought this month would go – I’d have told you to look for me in the corner of my bedroom, more than likely crying and angry. Did that happen once?? NOPE.
My diagnosis day will always be my diagnosis day, but this year, I gave it a big finger (ya know which one I’m talking about)…and took to the slopes. Some of my girlfriends joined me, and they made sure we were always laughing, smiling, had a drink in hand after the chairlifts shutdown, and I forgot about all of it….even if it was just for a little while. You see, I came back to the reality of things – scans, tests and doctor’s appointments (precautionary CT scan tomorrow morning, then I’m done until April, fingers crossed). BUT, for 4 whole days, I got to do something “normal”. Something that resembled the old me…and when I say “old me”, I’m talking years ago.
Fast forward to the last weekend of the month – ya know, the one where you have to wait after all the testing is done, until after the weekend when you see the doctor (ummm…3 days feels like 3 months) – I headed south to hang with my Texas girls! We all needed to see each other, and I got to meet Stephanie!!! The reason I HATE January so much, is the reason you see us together. Cancer united us, but cancer doesn’t define one of us. I always get asked, “well what’d y’all do??”, like we sit around and talk about cancer the entire time, or we don’t do normal people things. My response this time – we did what all Texans do, went to the ranch, drank champagne, shot a couple rounds on the 22 and hiked and had Mexican food, duh! – teasing!
Seriously though, we did all those things, and yes, we talked about cancer. Although none of our stories are the same, none of us have the same diagnosis, we can each relate to the other in ways that our friends and families can’t. And sometimes, that alone is enough…sometimes, it’s nice to talk, have someone nod their head, and not have tears in their eyes or a sad look on their face. I can talk, freely, Mandi, Brittany and Stephanie, can talk freely, and it’s nice. But let’s get one thing straight…it is a part of us, but cancer is not all that there is to us.
January, I will probably always have a love hate relationship with you – you are the month that changed life as I knew it. But I learned this year, that I have a choice in how I function throughout the month – I could have been a total B, done nothing and everyone would have understood, it would have been allowed. Instead, I decided to challenge myself and see if I couldn’t turn a crappy month into something that I could have fun with — and although I succeeded, there were still a bunch of tears. Without the 19th of January, I wouldn’t have had a fire lit underneath me, I wouldn’t have done things this month with people that make me smile, I wouldn’t have met Mandi or Brittany or Stephanie. So January, I’m not your biggest fan, and I probably never will be…but thank you, thank you for making me do the things I enjoy with people I love.
Here’s your challenge – what is your “January”? How can you take that “thing” and no longer make it a day you dread, a day that makes you sad, a day that you want to forget, and change it into a positive??? (ummm, trust me, I still want to forget that day exists, I’m just learning to manage how I address it. I’m not a master at this…I’m a work in progress)