2017 was a doozy, probably the worst year of my life to date. 2018 has been quite a different animal. Yes, there have been some hard days and the adjustment to living life after the traditionally active treatment (i.e., IV chemo) has been rough at times; at the same time, we’ve finally figured a few things out …
- We’ve re-discovered that living life closely with family can have ups and downs. As many of you are aware, after my diagnosis in 2017, my husband, two kiddos and I moved from Orlando to Miami, Florida to live with my parents. Living close by is my sister, who also relocated to Miami from New York, my other sister, who already lived here in Miami, and my youngest brother, who already lived here in Miami. Having this much close family time for the first time in decades has brought it’s own challenges and navigating those issues as adults is very different from when we were kids.
- We’ve discovered that as soon as things seem stable and quiet, things change! One of my sons has been in three different schools in 2018. None of that was his fault and he’s in the best possible place for him now, but the movement during the year and the time he spent outside of school while in the throes of toilet learning were … challenging to say the least.
- We’ve discovered that while cancer has changed the fabric of our family in big ways, we are all the same people underneath. As we’ve reclaimed some normalcy in our lives, we’ve seen glimpses and clear pictures of what is different and what remains the same. So many important things are still the same.
- We’ve discovered that both old and new friends can be just as important and meaningful. Old friends know who we were before cancer took over our lives but have a hard time understanding how much has changed. New friends know all about how cancer has irrevocably changed our lives but have a hard time understanding who we were before those fateful words. Both sets of people are important and need to be prioritized differently.
- We’ve discovered that being a part of the right community is important for the whole family. It has taken us a bit of time to find that community, but I think we have found a place where we are all supported and we can be friends with other families. A “play date” with a bunch of boys is a little different from “play dates” with girls, but we’re figuring out how to make it work for everyone.
- We’ve discovered that I find just as much to do to keep myself busy being a stay at home mom as when I was working. Its different hours and my priorities are far different, but finding my place in cancer advocacy has been an important part of feeling useful and productive.
At the end of the day, family is the most important. At the end of the day, the boys being healthy, learning to be authentic and growing up with the values we consider important is so key. If we can help others along the way, then so much better. Here’s to ringing in 2019 with a much better outlook on life than 365 days ago!