Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

This past Saturday marked exactly a year since the chiropractor felt a lump in my neck.  It's surreal to look back now and realize a whole year has passed.  This year will be full of "a year ago today"'s.  The 16th of this month will be 3 months since I've had chemo, and also one year since I was crying in the stall of a Wegman's bathroom.  I know a lot of people would expect me to be all "See ya 2013, don't let the door hit ya blah blah", but I'm really not.

Instead of seeing 2013 as the year I had to ask for help, I want to see it as the year I learned just how much help there was from so many unexpected places.

Instead of seeing 2013 as the year I had cancer, I want to see it as the year I beat cancer.

Instead of seeing 2013 as the year I faced a crisis pregnancy, I want to see it as the year we welcomed Avery Hope into our family.  Seriously...she's gone from this:

1 Day Old: 4lbs 4oz

To this:
She turned 5 months old on Christmas Eve.
She's closing in on 15lbs and eating and breathing LIKE A BOSS.

I want to look at it as positively as I can.  Is that easy? NO.  In many ways looking forward to 2014 is even scarier than looking back.  Do I have plans for 2014?  I guess.  Since I last wrote I've felt like I was in one of these:

I've been swimming and swimming and feeling like I was getting absolutely nowhere.  That makes it hard to make plans, or more accurately, to live up to the plans I made when all I could do was lay around and tappity tappity on the keyboard.

Sorry I dropped off the face of the planet.  It was that, or drown.  You don't really need me to tell you that the last 3 months contained Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  You have a calendar.  It's just that, I was also learning to be The Mom again.  I've been learning to be the Mom again in a totally new family than the one I had when I started chemo.  Everyone is older and we have new schedules and new needs and we also have a new baby.  I almost forgot about that part.  I was crying to Michael about what a loser I was because I don't have it all together now that chemo is over and he was like: "Do you ever have it together before a baby turns 6 months old?".  Good point.

Anyway, I'd like to continue to write here, I just don't know when or how to make that a regular thing, at least in the short term.  I just said to my friend Sarah that in 2013 I was just a passenger.  In 2014 I'm learning to drive again and I wanted to be a better driver than I was before.  I have to figure out this new Nella I'm walking around in and how she ticks.  I have to figure out how to live up to the gift of remission.  People have contacted me to ask if I'd be continuing this blog.  Some asked me to please continue this blog...seriously...I'm not even kidding.  I'm going to try, I'm just not sure how much I'll be able to write at least in the short term.  Most attempts of mine to write lately result in my brain being like this:

I'll keep trying anyway.
 I'm not sure if that means I'm persistent or have the intelligence of a Hamster.

Remission is weird.  Everyone thinks cancer is done but it's really not.  Not for me anyway.  Don't get me wrong, remission is a blessing and there are many who never get to this point and I am so grateful.  At the same time, remission doesn't mean I'm out of the woods.  I'm not considered cured until I've made it 5 years with no detectable signs of cancer.  I just had a follow up CT scan and I go for a check-up and to get the results Friday.  I have to live my life like cancer couldn't just pop back up anytime, and that's what I intend to to,  but it's hard when I'm still going for scans and check ups every few months.  I'm still living with the physical effects of chemo.  I wake up with nerve pain in my arms at least once a night and my circulation is not great.  I can't wear my wedding band because my hands are a bit swollen.  My cognitive function is still in the crapper.  My energy level is improving and the cognitive function is as well, just not as fast as I'd like.

In many ways it's like this cancer thing is just starting to happen to me because as the physical effects slowly disappear, everything that happened is starting to really sink in.  When I was in the middle of it I was just pushing pushing pushing through being positive positive positive and chirp chirp chirping that I was blessed blessed blessed when I wasn't asleep asleep asleep or loopy loopy loopy.  Now I'm trying to be Mom again and sometimes it just hits me all at once and I'm just like "DID THAT REALLY ALL JUST HAPPEN?!?!?!?  WHY ARE WE ALL JUST STANDING HERE ACTING LIKE LIFE IS NORMAL DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF CRAZY ASS CRAP CAN HAPPEN TO YOU AT ANYTIME??????  OH MY FLIPPING GOODNESS THE LAST YEAR SERIOUSLY JUST WENT DOWN LIKE THAT?!?!?!?!?!?".  And then I feel bad.  Because I'm in remission and I should feel happy and grateful.  I should feel light and free but instead I feel a huge weight of responsibility.  I need to live up to the gift of my remission.  That's what 2014 is about.  That's what every year from now on will be about.  That's what every year should have been about all along and should always in a way that reflects gratitude for the gift that is my life.

Obviously 3 months out from the last time they poisoned me isn't the best time to expect myself to be writing a whole lot, exercising non-stop, or most of the other things I dreamed I'd do after remission back when all I could do was lay in bed all day.  I'll figure it out, bit by bit, and I'll try to share it with you when I can.

Happy New Year dear friends!


  1. We are still praying for you Mike and the family. Always know Good knows what's best for us all and all take care of you. We love you guys. Steve and Trish

  2. So glad to hear from you, 2014 will at least be interesting, though hopefully less eventful than 2013 :-)

  3. So happy to hear you are doing well. Nella, being a person, let alone a mom, wife, teacher, cleaner, CANCER SURVIVOR, etc, is NEVER easy. At least, not anyone that I've ever known! Everyone has glide over them, bump them, or go right dowwwwn with them. You are allowed to feel however you want to about 2013.....and 2014! For all the good there was in 2013, I am grateful. But for all of the bad....which it seemed there was too much of, "Check ya later, 2013!" Cheers to a 2014 that brings you and your family continued health, happiness, love, and your continued blog.......(cause I super love reading it)! Hugs and much love to you and your family, from me and mine. ♥

  4. Nella, I've always admired your spunk as a student teacher and your strong strength of spirit. Congratulations for your handling of this very difficult year. My sister-in-law has also been battling cancer and as a person close to a situation I realize how difficult a journey it is. Stay positive and make the most of each day with your lovely children and husband . May 2014 be a healthy and happy one. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  5. Happy new year!! We've been praying so much. You do what you need to do and update if and when you are able. We'll survive :) Love you!

  6. As someone who has been living with pain for 18 months, I encourage you to live one day at a time. Planning ahead can be discouraging, so just live and enjoy each moment as you can. It's great you're in remission. Enjoy it for today.

  7. Wow, I can't believe it's been a year! What a year you have had- what a miracle baby Avery is and you are to me!

  8. Typing w one hand on iPhone while holding fussy baby, but I just wanted to pop in to say happy new year! I love your writing and do hope that you're able to keep blogging in 2014.

  9. I love it. And I'm so glad to see you back! I've been thinking about you and hoping you're well. Best to you re: figuring out how to feel like you're on top of things again. (I'm sure you've been "Mom" all the time -- even when all you could muster up the energy for was loving your kids.)

  10. You SHOULD keep writing here. They don't have to be long posts. Short even one paragraph snippets would be great. Because sometimes people "tune in" here and learn a lot, but mostly that someone else is facing the same sorts of things, and they get insight and comfort by what you say. We all can be so isolated in the bad things that happen these days. Being able to connect and have hope matters so much.
    Honestly, when I've gone through some harrowing times of medical issues where death was a very, very real possibility, and maybe imminent, for my family member, looking back though the crises times made me realize how much God carried me (and them) through. Like you say, looking back you think, did I just really go through that, and did I come out the other side intact? How did THAT happen? And I realize, it was Our Lord keeping His promise of fidelity: He didn't promise there wouldn't be stormy nights when the boat looks like it's going to sink, but that He would get me safely to the other shore.
    Your new baby is BEAUTIFUL! And all the scary stuff that happened with all of it just looks like the disaster is in the rear view mirror. So realize, He helped you before, and He's going to keep helping you, and you can trust in Him for your whole life, because He's got you by the hand, and He's taking care of you, and your family. Trust. Trust Him for your future. Trust He has your children's future too. God Bless. Keep writing. It matters. ~ Bonnie


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