Friday, September 14, 2012

Uplifted

I promise, I'm still here. Being back to work really interferes with my blogging time. But since the blog doesn't pay my mortgage and the school board does....well, you get the picture.

I am still in that euphoric stage in which I'm in love with my job and more importantly, happy to go to work.  Two weeks in and our class has settled into a nice little routine. I've got a great group of kids and I'm having fun.

I said goodbye to a friend today. It was a bit sad. A coworker. A large part of the reason he left was because of how he was treated by many of the other staff.

Perhaps I have a stronger empathy chip, I remember being the social outcast as a child. Perhaps it's because I see people for what's on the inside, not what they show outwardly. I'll tell you though, this particular friend, while socially awkward and occasionally annoying - I've never met someone with a bigger heart. He was thoughtful. At Christmas he gave me a bunch of bandanna's for my head since I was quite bald at the time. For the 7 months I was off work a week didn't go by that he didn't text or email to see how I was feeling. And it saddened me to see him treated so poorly.

But, he's moving on and hopefully to a place where he'll be treated with a bit more respect. For me, it will be a little quieter at work and a little less entertaining.

On Wednesday I had my 6 month follow up with my oncologist. Everything looks great and I'm still recovering nicely. Yesterday I went for my 15th round of herceptin. Only 3 more to go!! While I was there I was speaking to one of the nurses and she told me a little story.

One of the other patients there is a woman close to my age (she's 42) and she's got colon cancer. She was having a really difficult time; depressed, closed off, not managing well.  She read the journal I'd left in the waiting room (I tried to find a link to a post where I wrote about it but I can't find it right now - so long story short,  I put a journal in the waiting room at the chemo clinic and a note encouraging patients, their families, the volunteers, Dr's and nurses to write in it. I saw one at the radiation clinic and it was very moving)
Anyhow, this woman had read the journal in the waiting room and I guess it made her feel so much better - less alone. So she wrote in it too, telling her story and talking about how afraid she was but being the mother to 3 young kids she was going to fight.

The nurse said after she'd written in the journal it was like a weight had been lifted and she was a whole new person. The nurse thanked me for putting the journal in the waiting room.

It made me feel so uplifted - on top of the world. My whole intention for leaving the journal there was just that - so that everyone else who read it and wrote in it would know they were not alone in their battle against cancer.

Some people once they've beaten cancer don't want the title survivor. They'd rather say they survived cancer and be done with it. I guess it's all semantics but to me - I wear the title Survivor with pride. I worked hard to become one.

It's not to say I don't want to get back to my regular life but this is part of my regular life now. As a colleague says "You're going to play the cancer card?"

Yes, yes I am. Because I fought and won that right. I am a survivor. I wish everyone who fought cancer could say the same.

One day.

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