Throwback Thursday: My People

img_0995-1Typically, Thursdays are for throwing it back to something that was posted on the blog, I’ve taken us back to some of my very early posts from four years ago, I’ve kept us in the same month a couple of times, but today I was at a loss. Today, a blog post came up in my Timehop, it was three years ago today that I posted 20 Questions: Sisterly Love. I had thought that I would do a series on the blog where I asked the people in my life the same 20 questions, this was the only piece in the series.

When scrolling through my posts to take me back three years to find 20 Questions, I passed My People. I stopped and smiled. Through a rough couple of weeks those same two people have been the individuals I have turned to in an effort to remain grounded in positivity. They continue to be a pillar of support in my daily life.

It occurred to me yesterday that I cannot remember my first interactions with either of “my people”. I don’t remember how they went from people at work to people that I recognized as someone I could talk to and have a relationship with, but I can’t imagine my life without them. Either of them.

To keep my gratitude for them alive, I’m throwing it back to June for Throwback Thursday today with My People. I may even resurrect The Kindness Challenge to keep me rooted in my gratitude and kindness during this time when I seem to be rooted in frustration and exhaustion.

Here’s to my people – they are simply the best!

The New Normal: Five Years Later

EJFP ChaptersYesterday was five years since Justin’s original diagnosis of lymphoma. Five years. 1,825 days. It seems crazy to think about what has happened since August 10, 2011. I remember that day, vividly. We woke up from our sixth overnight in the hospital. Justin was two days post-op for his mysterious artery entrapment syndrome. My parents had cut their vacation short to come home to help me take care of things while Justin was in the hospital. I was focused on getting home. We were happy because we knew it was Justin’s release date, but irritable through the hours of waiting to walk out the door.

The medical assistant finally arrived, he was one of our favorites. There was one final scan Justin needed to do before they literally pushed him out the door. I wish I could remember his name. As he was getting Justin ready to take downstairs for his final test a young doctor walked in. He was the hematologist that had been referred to us after they discovered the enlarged lymph node in Justin’s abdomen. A biopsy was just a precaution.

“Justin is thin and I’m sure his lymph node just LOOKS bigger on a scan.”

I honestly hadn’t even thought about the biopsy results, no one made it seem like a big deal. Our focus was his leg and rehabilitation toward walking again. But here he was, this doctor I can’t describe as anything other than an awkward hipster looking man that looked no older than I was at the time. I was 27.

“So I’ve spoken with the lab and it looks like we have an “unofficial” diagnosis of non-hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma. It’s not confirmed yet, but that’s what it looks like. This is what we consider a watch and wait situation so my office will call you in October to set up an appointment.”

He handed me a stack of papers that looked like they had been printed from the internet. I looked down and the third word on the page was “cancer”.

“Do you have any questions?”

I was dumbfounded. Frozen. This can’t be real life. I looked up at him from my little make-shift bed and smiled, with panic in my voice I said “um…I….well…no, I guess not”

“Okay, well if you think of anything let me know. Good luck with physical therapy.”

And he was gone. Never to be seen or heard from again.

The medical assistant continued to help Justin transition to the wheelchair to take him to his final test. Realizing he was still in the room, I looked up at him and took in the look of shock on his face. He was just as shocked as I was. We made eye contact for a moment and he snapped out of it. This man that I can’t remember the name of witnessed one of the biggest moments of our lives. The moment that everything changed and I can’t remember his name. I think of him every once and awhile. I wonder how he is and if he thinks about that moment too.

That was the day that I learned to hold in my emotions and control my tears. To think through things and hold off on exploding until I was in an appropriate space. It was the first time I understood what people meant when they said they felt “numb”. It’s a very accurate description. I was numb, tackling what I could, one day at a time.

August 10, 2011 was a lifetime ago. I am a completely different person than I was when I woke up that morning. I have watched Justin go through two additional occurrences of lymphoma since then. Five treatment plans. Two anaphylactic reactions. Countless blood tests and CT scans. Hours of of sitting in waiting rooms. Days, Weeks, Months of being numb in order to make it through the day. Thawing in the comfort of people that are trusted and allow you to melt just long enough to relax and move forward. One day at a time.

Somewhere along the process of getting through Justin’s original diagnosis, I started this blog. It took some time, but eventually I wrote The Last Normal Day. The story of everything leading up to our first night in the hospital. I was so exhausted that I never really finished the story. I wrote The Last Normal Day Part Two but I was so sick of telling the story at that point that I couldn’t form the words. Five years later, I found a way to form the words. I thawed a little bit this morning writing this. It felt good and was much needed.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Throwback Thursday: The Corner Office

I have been writing, in some form, for most of my life. Whether it be in an actual notebook or out in cyberspace, I have always found comfort in taking thoughts and putting them into place on a page. Until recently, I haven’t used any particular method with much consistency. I have countless half filled notebooks that were to serve as daily journals, and spent four years sporadically writing on this blog. Since I have taken the time to make writing a daily part of my life I have felt so much more connected to the world and as if I have this creative outlet, just for me. I can’t lie, seeing the readership and community around The Corner Office increase has be so incredibly amazing. On a daily basis I am shocked by the number of people reading, liking, commenting, and sharing. It’s rather humbling.

Three years ago, when I transitioned the blog “Still Standing” to “The Corner Office” I had no idea where it would take me. I was inspired by my little office space that I created in our new home. It was the first time since I had left my parents house that I had a space to call my own. I felt so grown up. Around the same time as our move, I received a promotion at work and with that came my own office. I now had two spaces that were mine to create in, to think, be productive, and keep moving forward. It seemed only natural that my online creative space mirrored the now two spaces that I got to call my own.

We are throwing it back to August of 2013 today, almost 3 years later, to the post where I introduced everyone to The Corner Office.