I was going through a box of old files today, looking for some paperwork someone game me a while back, and was both surprised and touched when I came across a packet I had compiled when I was first diagnosed with cancer. I didn't even remember this, but I had evidently collected all the cards, gifts, and letters I'd received from friends and family at the time for the purpose of keeping my spirits up. Tonight, again, I was touched by the support of the people around me and the difference the love and support has made.
I am so blessed. Maybe I don't say that enough. Maybe, even worse, I don't realize it often enough. But it's true, and when I realize it, I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude.
I was just having a conversation earlier this week and mentioning that over the last year, I've slowly become a little angry- way more than I ever even realized until I started working around kids again- and I'm glad to be back in a place where I know just how lucky I truly am. That's what I love, what I've always loved about kids: they keep you so grounded, so in touch with how human you are and how humble you need to be, and, of course, there's their endearing honesty, too. It's good to have those reminders back in my life. It's good to be able to work with those that keep me so healthy.
With that thought, I begin to think, for the first time in a while, about the future, about possibility, and about walking through fear to a new, better side of life.
Maybe the most important thing I've realized through all of this is that none of us will live forever. We act that way, we pretend we're invincible. And that's why when you find out you have cancer, you have friends that drop off the planet: because the reality of it is too much. But was the goal ever to live forever? No. That's not really what we want. And it's not the goal. The goal is to create something bigger and better than ourselves, and to hope that whatever that is that we can create will live longer than ourselves. If we can do that, we're doing pretty good.
It's been a busy week- I went to a 20's and 30's support group meeting at Gilda's, "graduated" from the teaching program (they even mentioned how I'm finally out of the wheelchair for the most part), have been putting together a portfolio for job apps, started with the Achilles Track program, and am beginning preparation the party next month.
It's exciting, and I'm ready for the change. For the first time I think EVER at Gilda's, I felt like I was offering something positive to the group instead of just venting, and it was nice to be giving back, to be contributing something positive for once.
I've been reading a lot about the end of treatment and the effects it causes mentally, because I'm down to four vials as of today (How awesome is that?), and the final countdown is on. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself for being proactive about this, and I think it's gonna really help ease the transition back into "normal life" by being involved in so many other things.
When I met with my Achilles Track coach, Carlton, we walked together for 30 minutes, discussing things I need to be careful of as I try to get back into a routine and what my goals are. He was really positive and encouraging, and I liked him instantly. I'm glad he's here to help in this process.
The walk made me pretty sore: way more than I ever would've guessed. There's pain in my hip and ankles, my back and my jaw, and I've been taking Vicodin for it; but we think a lot of it is chemo, which is great news. Carlton is even hopefull that by October, I can probably do my first 5k!
I'm glad the whole school process is over, although it has been great, and, believe it or not, I'll miss seeing a lot of the people every day. It's been so good to get to know people here in Dallas that are like-minded: progressives that believe that teaching is more than just a job. I can't explain to you what it's like to think what my classroom will be like, the changes I can make as a single person in the education field, the way that knowing I have the power to education people feels. To be able to introduce high standards again, to influence others, to implement a change and a culture of power.
Okay, on my soapbox again. My bad.
Speaking of, I watched The Corporation tonight, and then immediately signed up with the local Green Party. A real motivating film, an extreme eye opener, that I suggest to everyone, and not nearly as slanted as Fahrenheit 9/11, even though it does provide a lot of insight into our nation's dark side. Remind me again why I'm not in Canada?
I guess that's it for now, kids. I'll keep you all posted on the party, so start making preparations now to be here August 19th. I've heard from a lot of internet buddies that they won't be able to be here, but they're going to be toasting in spirit that night. That means as much as anybody else being here, especially those that have braved Interferon on their own.
Keep up the good fight all, and I will, too.