Hello friends! Today I write you from my little warm loft with my small heater going, my Starbucks in hand and some soft jazz in the background. I am fairly certain I would not want to be anywhere else on this quiet Sunday morning saying welcome to November. It has been a weird week – really weird. This week we had a re-visit with Johns Hopkins, we had a follow up appointment with a specialist with me and then a few odd medical and unplanned things sprinkled throughout. The week went so incredibly fast – that I did not even have time to lament not blogging or a messy house or lack of sleep – we were just running from one thing to the next.
Monday I had a crazy busy day at work and then got my hair cut and colored that evening. It was nice to have some time to improve my look and bonding with my sister, since my she is also my hairdresser. This last month we also have been running in the mornings together – so I feel like with Katy I have a personal stylist/hairdresser/trainer all wrapped up in one! Sisters are a really funny relationship – they are absolutely your best friends while also being your toughest critic. Want to know what your butt really looks like in that dress or if you successfully pulled off the cat eye look with your eye liner….ask a sister. It can sting, but they also will never let you go out looking like a fool. Thank God for sisters.
Tuesday was another whirlwind day at work. We are re-branding, starting a bunch of new projects, and looking at a few changes in our team structure. Translation – it is getting B*U*S*Y! I am 80% really excited and hope to continue to grow in my role aka drink the heck out of the kook-aid (yup, I love a good team atmosphere and everyone diving head first into a project to really kick butt – so fill my cup to the top)! But I also recognize all these changes are going to require some shifts in my time, my work life balance, and how to keep up with my blog and contract work. Good thing I love planners….. 🙂
That evening I had plans to go home and clean, prep for the work, work on the blog and get my life back to neutral before a few days of medical shenanigans. Then my end of day bell rang and the office….and my to do list looked pretty scary, so I re-negositatioed my time and figured an extra hour at the office would be helpful, and then I will get home and rock it. But then my mom called. She needed someone to go with her to Costco to pick up the new electric fireplace they have purchased to install in their basement for the newest Ashburn resident arriving that weekend- my Ganmommy!! The family has decided it is time she live with family during the winter. Her memory is starting to fad a bit and her favorite activities – sun bathing, yard work, and walks around the neighborhood are all greatly diminished in the winter – so we need to make sure she still has a lot of people around for stimulation. So wrapped up what I could at work and headed to meet my mom.
Wednesday was Johns Hopkins Day and a trek to Baltimore. Normally this trip is only about an hour and half – but rainy weather and traffic, it was 2+ hours this go round and we were late. Unfortunyly we were only a little late, but Dan’s doc had to get to Dulles airport (about 10 mins from our house – all that travel and we both would end up at the same place) and was nervous about traffic himself so it was a quick appointment. Last month when we visited I told you the odd reality of living in two worlds. We absolutely still live that life and last month with Danny feeling so weak we wondered if we would not being living in limbo much longer. In fact during that September visit we got a green light to really start considiering what we will need to do to prepare for listing and transplant. Over the last 4 weeks we have done just that – considered it, talked about it, had Danny work on the checklist he needs to complete to list (medical testing etc) – but we never went too down the path because you just never know. A few years ago we were at this same point and they said to prepare for a transplant and move to NC, where our old transplant center was located. Well that never came to be and we had already survived that rollar coaster (ouch), and were not looking for a second ride. Plus Danny said with the medical world it is always “hurry up and wait”. Your lungs are struggling, you need a change…. but lets wait a month or two to see how you do. This is our world and we just have to live in it.
The report this go round? Danny’s lung function was up by a few percentages so looks like we are still good to keep on keeping on. Don’t stop thinking about transplant and don’t stop planning….but don’t feel the pressure to rush. Yup – hurry up and wait. We go back in early November to continue to monitor Danny’s health and transplant prep check-list progress, but until then, continue life as normal. Soon I plan to do a post that explains a little more about what all these updates mean and how we try and cope with this unique world. It is really hard to explain sometimes and when people ask “how is Danny” or “when do you plan to transplant” why I always start with “well its complicated”. Before I put on my martyr coat, let’s be real – isn’t all of life?? We all gotta put on our big girl panties at some point…..
So after just an hour of quick visits we were back in the car trying to make the trip home. The trip seemed bogged down with even more traffic this direction and mixing that with the usual meeting post mortem “how did you feel about what he said” – “what do you think we should do” and the “I guess we just keep waiting” followed by the “it totally sucks” ……. but this time around, in the midst of our normal post-transplant visit dance, we pulled off the highway to get gas and find coffee…… what we found – margaritas and the movies. Yup – we said screw it (probably with a few other colorful words) and decided to just have a little fun and stop thinking/wondering/speculating. And you know what? It was awesome. And I don’t just mean in the Jackie always says everything is awesome so of course this was awesome way…. in the we could not stop giggling in the movie or stealing kisses, just what we needed; truly awesome. We traded our normal fears and worry release from transplant talks to every once in awhile we would reach of these others hand and just squeeze…. sometimes words just get in the way and you gotta just say “we got this together” in another way. That night my head hit the pillow with a very happy memory instead of swirling questions and it was just what we needed.
Bring on Thursday…..and I was in the office in for a few hours before my appointment. Since 2010 I have had a lump in my left breast that was not a problem. But in the last few months it has grown and when I saw my doc a few weeks ago she said it needed to be checked, and for real this time. So I took myself to the radiologist and was immediately sent for my first mammogram….. long story short, it was bigger and I earned myself a first class ticket to a breast cancer surgeon specialist. Yup…. we had been rocked by the amount of change they saw and suddenly everyone was saying things like “we can’t confirm it is not cancerous”. For the last three weeks Danny and I were pretty worried. My heart had a whole new hurt for the millions of women facing this fear all the time. But today we would get an answer.
I was feeling a little nervous, but for the most part by the time we got to Thursday – we were ready. As a checked my work email from my desk an odd email came in form my dad (we work together): noting some “health episodes” he was having and that he had to go to the doc right away today. What the what? I dialed my mom’s cell as fast as I could and got a very cheerful “hello there!” – After freaking out, my mom explained that dad had been having some numbness in his arms and they just needed to check it out, but not too worry just go to my appointment. They had not filled me in because they were concerned I already had a full plate. NOT TO WORRY?? Was she crazy??? Yup – I worried. That whole day it felt like an elephant had parked its big ole butt on my chest.
Thankfully by 5PM Thursday afternoon we had been blessed with amazing news all around! My lump is not cancerous….has to come out due to size and growth – that can lead to potential complications – but no danger. The surgery will be even easier than first described. As we called my parents with this news, they reported the chest Xray, EKG, and blood work had come back normal for dad, and he would just be checking in with his regular docs in the coming days. That afternoon I went home, grabbed my sweats, my pup and hit the couch for a solid hour of sleep. The weight that had been lifted left me drowsy with relief, quickly followed by exhaustion. How grateful our family was to end this odd day with nothing but positive news, when so many people face the same fears and are left with the a completely different outcome.
Instead of ending this day with feelings of intense fear, worry for what the future holds, and desperate for answers – I ended this day so grateful for my amazing friends who are only a call and text away, for a family that makes my whole world shudder at even the thought of their hurt, and a husband who has learned the right words to say, when to grab my hand, and when to fill out my paperwork because my hand is too shaky. In the light of immense fears – I am left overwhelmed with the incredible blessings that make up my world. Wow – if that is not God calling you to your knees I don’t know what is – thank you, Lord….thank you.
This week was crazy and full of so much unexpected. But you know what, from this week I will remember the time I spent with my loved ones – not the destruction bad health can bring. The support I got from my friends in calls and texts and the many times Danny reached from my hand and said “its OK and I love you”. Those moments tell you above all else – your doing life good enough. I know, I know….. I am ALLLLL about the to do list, I plan and coordinate until I am blue in the face!! Perfection in the way of progress? O yea – party of 1!! But this week told me that dirty dishes are no exchange for helping prepare my grandma’s new home or laughing and whispering my way through a movie with my boyfriend.
Today as we turn our calendars to November 1 – two things ring true: first we are heading into holiday season and second the Bessettes are officially heading into a new season in life. Yesterday running errands, with my red Starbucks cup in hand, I saw Christmas exploding all over the place and both of our families are preparing for what is expected to be the most wonderful holiday season with some truly once in a lifetime moments. This week reminds me of the importance of choosing when and where to spend my time – and to never miss an opportunity to be with the ones you love. All the while this special time for family and friends begins, my work life is starting to take an incredible new shape. After two years of a lot of uncertainty and reestablishing myself, I can see some exciting new goals that I really want to embrace and run full speed to – for both my professional experiences and a chance to better support my family. Mix that with the passion I have for this little corner of my life on HALF and the personal goals I am constantly working toward (we got a runner folks)…. life is so very full – and how blessed am I that it is going to be full of what I am choosing instead of a victim of circumstance. Soak it in. Happy Sunday people and welcome November!
Thank you for reading and remember to make it a great day!