Monday, April 19, 2010
For the past few weeks my town has seen glimpses of summer. It is normally cold and cloudy but, lately it has been sunny and hot! Which is extremely rare for this time of the year. Today was one of those rare days. I had radiation and was dreading it, especially because it was so nice out. However, the nurse let me sit by the window instead of laying in the bed. I had my favorite Starbucks in one hand and a molasses cookie in the other. From my window I was able to see the Ronald McDonald House. I could see a number of families playing outside in the gorgeous sunshine. I saw children playing on the toys and running through a sprinkler. Watching all of this I could not help but smile. It reminded me of my summers as a little girl. Just as I was about to talk about the weather to the person beside me, the nurse was coming in to unhook me. Time flew by! I wish it would fly that fast every week ha ha. Isn't it amazing how the sunshine can just put people in a good mood!
Friday, April 16, 2010
1. I cannot believe I am admitting this but, I am addicted to reality tv. I know most of it is fake but if a reality show is on the screen I can't seem to turn the channel.
2. I enjoy watching sports. I think it is because I grew up with two older brothers and many male cousins. Nothing says fall Sunday's better than family, food, and football.
3. I have a soft spot for cars. ha ha. I enjoy reading about new cars online and dreaming about getting them. My dad has a lot of patients for me cause I am constantly asking for a new car ha ha.
4. I hate it when people touch their nose! For some reason it grosses me out.
5. I am slightly ocd. I can't stand it when I am dirty or my house is dirty. I don't even care if someone else is dirty or their house(even my parents house), for some reason it is just me! So I take two showers a day and am constantly tidying.
Can't wait to learn five things about all of you! Happy Friday!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
1. What color do you wear the most?
I don't think there is one color I wear a lot. But it does seem like lately I have bought many blue and purple things.
2. Would you rather have $10,000 dollars or a dream vacation?
This one is hard, I would have to say 10,000 dollars. I have been very fortunate to travel a lot in my life so having the money would be nice.
3. Do you have a weird, quirky or unusual habit?
I have a couple, but I think the most quirky one is the fact that I cannot stand shaken up water bottles. So if I open a water bottle and the water gets a few bubbles in it then I need to grab a new one.
4. I really need to start..........?
Putting pictures in my scrapbooks! I have found a new love for making mini-scrapbooks.I have about six now but none of them have pictures.
5. What was the first blog you ever read?
6. Do you collect anything?
I have always had a thing for butterflies, and have received things with butterflies on them. Although I don't think its enough to call a collection.
7. Tattoos. How many do you have and how many are visible when you wear your "everyday" clothes?
Zero, but that is changing Friday.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I come from a comparatively small town. It seems as though everyone knows everyone, and no matter where you go you are bound to run into someone you know. Living in such a small community means that news has the ability to travel fast. However, after being back home the last two months, I have found that people either know about your situation and want to ask questions, or surprisingly have no clue what is going on. So, as I do my day to day errands and run into people I haven’t seen, my conversations normally go something like this.
Them: Hey Katie, It is really good to see you! Are you in town visiting?
Me: No, I am actually taking some time off.
Them, being nosy (I am a very nosy person, so I understand that they want all of the juicy details):
Oh, are you working or something?
This is where it gets tough. I can either tell them I have cancer, or lie and say, "Yes, I am trying to save money for school." I have yet to lie to anyone, so, I somehow find it in me to plaster a smile upon my face, desensitize my situation into something like a bad cold, and respond, "I actually just found out that I have lymphoma, so I am spending some time at home trying to get better.”
I look at this conversation and hate it. It is not that I care if the whole community knows I have cancer or not, because the truth is that I do have cancer, and keeping it a secret in this town would be very difficult. I would rather they hear it from me than from someone else. I guess the part I hate is the fact that I feel the need to put on a smile and act like it’s a bad cold.
What is my other alternative? I mean what would you do if you ran into someone whom you had not seen in awhile, and all of the sudden they broke down and said they were battling cancer? I mean, come on, plenty of people are battling cancer and surviving every day. Why shouldn’t I be strong?
I think that’s where it truly becomes tough for me, and not so much the fact of telling the community or having the whole community know. It is the fact that I feel like I need to be strong. People constantly tell me “Be strong Katie, and hold your head high. You can get through this.” I believe this statement and I believe I can beat this, but truthfully I don’t know if I am this strong all the time and I don’t know how to get that across to people. In fact, it was not until a recent conversation with my ex boyfriend that I realized just how often I don’t feel strong.
The conversation started off with a simple “How are you doing?” I responded with my confident voice, “You know, surprisingly well. I feel okay right now and am just trying to make it one day at a time.” He responded “Katie be honest with yourself, I know when you are not doing okay, so don’t try and sugar coat it for me. So I am going to ask again ‘How are YOU doing?’’ I stood there silent and in shock. I have answered that question a number of times. It didn’t matter whether I was truly feeling okay or not it was just an autopilot response I use. So I looked at him and said without the smile on my face and fighting back tears. “I am scared! I tell people I am okay because I don’t know how to tell them otherwise without breaking down like this. But, then they act like nothing is wrong when sometimes I just want a hug and reassurance everything will be okay.” He then said to me, “You silly, of course they act like nothing is wrong. Even when I look at you and see you interacting with others and hearing your responses to that question I often don’t see the sick Katie that you are, I see the same old bubbly girl I have seen for years. How do you expect people to know you need reassurance when you hide it?”
He hit it right on the nose with that one. How can I expect people to lift me up in my times of need when I hide it?
So my questions to you are, how can you answer the everyday question, "How are you doing?" without losing it to someone you only kind of know? And how can you express to someone that sometimes you cannot be strong and may need a little reassurance?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, because I can't put my finger on how to deal with that one...
Monday, April 5, 2010
1. What year did you graduate high school?
2. Beach house or lake house?
I would have to say beach house. There is something about waking up looking out the window and seeing the waves crash against the beach.
3. Mac or PC?
I have a pc but I have to admit that I really want a mac book. The I-pad is coming out soon and I may just have to pick myself up one.
4. Did you wear braces?
Yes I did for about 6 months and hated them!
5. Would you rather cook or clean?
This is a hard one for me because it depends. I love cooking for a crowd but hate cooking just for myself. I also love the feeling of a clean house (partly because I am a little OCD when it comes to being tidy) but I don't know how much I really enjoy the cleaning part.
6. Which do you prefer... wordy blog posts or ones with pictures?
I prefer both, I love a good post with pictures that match whatever they are talking about.
7. Showers or baths?
I shower every morning, but if I am in the mood to relax then definitely a bubble bath with candles and a good book.
8. Whats one blog you read every day?
Silly mom thoughts- blog.lindsaymaddox.com
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This idea about writing unsent letters struck a chord with me and I decided that I have a few letters that I wish to write myself (see my first letter below). I encourage all of you to post an unsent letter of your own. It doesn’t have to be titled to a certain individual, but just writing it down can be very therapeutic!
Dear Life Giver,
I have never seen your face, heard your voice, know where you live, or really anything about you. However, I can say that even though I know nothing about you, I love you and owe you everything.
Throughout the twenty years of my life I have felt many different feelings towards you. Anger and confusion popped into my head during my younger years for not fully understanding how you could let me out of your life. I would often wonder if you lied about yourself during the process to ease the pain of letting me go, or if you ever looked back at me as I lay in the incubator minutes old, wanting for just a split second to reconsider your decision about sending your baby girl half a world away.
I want to know if you dream to know what I look like, like I have dreamed about you; if, every year on my birthday you think about how much I have grown and the person I am now. Do you have a picture of me or am I merely a distant memory? I desire to know the answers about how you came to your decision about giving me up or how you envisioned my future.
But, whatever the dreams and visions are of me are and whatever reason made you decided to relinquish your parental rights, I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My life is what any adoptive child could ever hope for. My family is amazing, supportive, and most of all, loving. Yes, at times we argue, bump heads, and I have been known in my younger years to scream “I wish I never was adopted into this family!” (Oh what a brat I could be and the tantrums I could throw!) But I would not change this family for anything.
I want to especially thank you for not being selfish. I think about my life and I don’t know if I possess the strength or courage to let my future children go. But you did it with grace, strength, and hope. You had no idea where in the United States I would end up, and lived with the idea that you would never see me or know anything about me.
As I am faced with all of these new obstacles in my life, I have realized that everything happens for a reason. I believe one of the reasons why God chose me to be adopted is to be able to overcome this part of my life. He had my whole life mapped out in His hands: He knew you held the power to give me away, that my new country has the resources to help me deal with my cancer, and that my family possesses the strength, support, and love I would need throughout my difficult times.
For those reasons alone, I thank you.
I think about you daily and hope that you know your decision to give me up was the best decision you could have ever made.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Fun, energetic girl seeking new friends around their early twenties …
Okay, I love my friends to death, but I am hoping that maybe after this post I can finally let this issue go.
I have many amazing people in my life. I have always been blessed with loving caring people, but I find that they tend to only stay so long. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who have stuck by my side through the thick and the thin, but I am finding out that people my age are just plain selfish!
Throughout my life, I have always tried to be a giver; stopping off to grab coffee for a friend before meeting with them, buying dinner, giving flowers as little pick-me-ups, and trying to stay connected even if we didn’t go to the same college. Yet, as I am facing my hardships, I am wondering where the friends are who want to give to me during my time of need?
(That sounds kind of selfish, and when I do those things I don’t like to take anything in return. But... it would be nice to be surrounded by people who want to give like I do.)
I have found that during this time, I haven’t had anyone around my age to turn to. Yes, I have an amazing group of older friends that love me and are there for me, but, they all have families and I don’t want to be a bother or another added stress in their busy lives. It would be nice if I could just have some true friends around my age to chat with.
It has been a harsh reality because I have always kind of known in the back of my mind that they were “selfish” and used me but it didn’t occur to me how much until this trial in my life. Honestly, when I receive bad news or just need a shoulder to cry on, I have found that I don’t know where to turn. I would like to call my friends but 1. They don’t answer or return my calls and, 2. I have found that I may not really know who to call during my emergencies because I don’t know if they will be there or not.
I realize that I am at a different place in my life than the rest of the people my age. I also have come to terms with the idea that they don’t know what to say to me because of what I am going through. All of that is okay and I have tried my hardest to accept it. But I am still waiting for that group of friends that will carry me in my times of need and laugh through all of the changes with me.
(I know silly right?! After all through blogging I have received so much support, why would this be any different?)
This past week has been a difficult one. I found myself facing an array of mixed emotions, one minute I would be happy, sad, and then turn angry. I was shocked that someone’s emotions could change so quickly over nothing! I mean literally nothing! Earlier this week my mom and I were watching 13 Going On Thirty laughing and talking, she then asked me what I wanted for dinner said “I don’t know” and stormed out of the house feeling completely upset and angry.
I never leave the house when I am upset or arguing with my parents, nor have I ever gotten that angry when asked what I wanted for dinner. Normally, I jump for joy because I know it will be something I like!
So as I drove in my car, crying hysterically, I realized why I have been so on edge. It’s that my life is falling apart around me and I have no control over it!
(Warning for the next part)
While driving around all I could think about is what peace I would feel if I was to be hit by another car right now. (I am not suicidal so please don’t think I am. I could never have the guts to hurt myself or someone else. However, the idea of final peace and stability felt overwhelming.)
I have faced more tragedies than most see in a lifetime and with these tragedies come consequences or effects that impact my everyday life. Most of which I feel I may never overcome and it SUCKS!
Visiting friends this past weekend really got to me. I was happy to see them, don’t get me wrong, but it really put it into perspective that my life is not what a normal 20-year-old life should be. Visiting them gave me a feeling of being alone.
Now, I know what you all are thinking, “Alone?! Come on, you have a wonderful loving family surrounding you and a number of people praying for you…”
But the truth is, that is how I feel! My friends are so busy with mid-terms and their lives that I feel like I am standing behind them waiting to be pulled up to where they are. I never get calls or texts from them anymore checking to see how their days are going or how I am doing. I know they still care, but the feeling still lingers over my head.
That feeling especially hit home while driving to dinner last weekend with a guy I had been kind of seeing for awhile. We were sitting in his truck discussing where we saw our relationship going, given that he is now farther away.
As we were talking he said “I don’t think this could ever work because you have cancer and I can’t be there for you the way I should. I just need to focus on school and not worrying all the time about you.” I instantly blurted out, “Armadillo!” and started crying.
(I have no idea why I yelled armadillo it was the first thing out of my mouth but I was my way of saying stop you’re going too far!)
That single statement from his mouth made reality hit. Hard.
What 20-year-old guy would ever want a girlfriend who is battling cancer? Honestly, I cannot blame him. If the roles were reversed, I don’t know if I could do it either. With that, the feeling of loneliness popped into my head again. I realized that I am no longer surrounded by my friends or people my age and am unable to get close to someone all because I have this enormous “C” stamped across my forehead.
I also realized that through all the new health issues, I have stopped dealing with my emotions that surround my rape. For the past few months, I have been so consumed with everything cancer, I have stopped dealing with my emotions that follow the incident. I almost feel like I have taken steps backwards and am at the same spot I was a year ago. I no longer talk about it, and feel like the memories control my life. But I found this week that no matter how much I act like it doesn’t affect me it does!
Even though we are a state apart I find myself looking for him everywhere I go. On Tuesday, I went to the local grocery store and someone was wearing the same baseball hat he had. At first, my heart sank and I thought it was him. Luckily, it wasn’t, but I now find myself avoiding that store. I refuse to even drive near it.
I hate the fact that I cannot get his face out of my mind. I wake up every morning fearing that today could be the day I will come face-to-face with him.
If I learned one thing this very emotional week, it’s that I am not as strong as I like to think I am. Yes, I have faced many tragedies over the past year and am trying to make the best out of my situation, but between all of my emotions I have realized that my life is crazy and at times just plain sucks.
Thanks for reading this very emotional non happy-blog I promise that this week will be better!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
It was a busy one for me, that’s for sure. I decided that this weekend I would take the time and visit some friends I haven’t seen in a while. So, I hopped in my car and drove the long six hours across state to their school.
It was a bittersweet feeling, being at a college. I miss the college life and surprisingly the stress that comes with studying for exams, but I was also happy that all I have to focus on is getting better and not finding time to study for my next set of tests. While visiting with them and filling them in with my current situation, they started to ask me some interesting questions. Questions like “Do you regret anything in your life?” or, “Do wish you could change something?” the questions seemed never-ending.
At first, I was offended by what was being asked. How could someone think the worst of my situation and then go on to ask if I thought I lived a good life or not? But then I realized they were basic questions that any young twenty-year-old would probably ask if their life was suddenly turned upside down the way mine has been.
As we continued with our conversation, we started to talk about things we wanted to accomplish in life and things that are important to us. We began discussing the idea of making a list of things we wanted to accomplish. So, for the next hour we sat and each wrote out our own individual lists. I have heard of bucket lists before but never realized the importance of them.
Each of us made our lists for different reasons. For me, it’s a list of twenty-five wishes, hopes, and adventures. Some of my tasks I never pictured myself doing and others just seemed like exciting new experiences. Others made them as a path or guide for where they wanted their lives to go. Here are a few things that showed up on our lists:
- Dance in the rain
- Write little notes every once in awhile to the people I love
- Hold a snake
- Get a tattoo
- Learn something new
- Say sorry to someone I hurt needlessly
- Run in a 5k
Thursday, March 4, 2010
After my little pity party I realized I needed to try to switch my attitude from negative to positive. I decided I am going to set little goals for myself to keep me moving forward in a positive direction. In the past I felt like my opinions were not important. When friends would ask where I wanted to eat or what song do I want to listen to in the car my answers would be "it doesn't matter," "you choose," "I like everything so you pick." So, my first goal is to delete these phrases from my vocabulary. If someone is asking for my opinion they clearly want to know how I feel or my take on the situation so I am going to give it. I think that being respectfully assertive will make me a stronger person and more interesting as well. How's that for a start in a positive direction?
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
It started with a comment made to my friend in the grocery store last year. "Tell Katie not to drop out of college, she has far too much potential," she said. "She'll throw her life away." My friend didn't really know what to do with that information. Little did she know the hell I was going through at school. This was post-rape (see My Incredible Story) and I was miserable. I hated school and told a guy friend so. (Let's call him "Jason.")
Jason went on to tell his mom about me hating school. His mom then told my friend to convince me to stay in school when they ran into each other at the store.
Have a headache yet? It was a mess of mis-communication blown out of proportion. It was only a taste of what was to come after my cancer news surfaced.
A little back story: Jason loves me, but the feeling is not-so-mutual. He and I were good friends, but anything beyond that and it was just weird, like fitting a square peg into a round hole. He just didn't get that, though.
Jeez, it makes me angry just starting this story.
Jason is close to his family and talks to them quite frequently. He went away to the same school as my boyfriend and I (which was weird too... he would try to flirt with me while I was around my boyfriend. Get a clue, dude).
When he found out about my cancer diagnosis, he was on the phone every night with his parents crying. He sobbed that he didn't know how to take the news.
Okay, so maybe he was really bummed for me.
Quickly, he started getting attention from my bad news. There were a few people I hadn't been able to tell about my diagnosis on campus that he took upon himself to inform. He dissolved into tears while giving them the news, making it his drama and all about how it affected him.
He even skipped his final, telling his professor that his girlfriend was dying.
But more than that... Girlfriend?!
Yes, I had initially gotten a bad diagnosis, but I had also told Jason that it wasn't the final diagnosis nor was I his girlfriend or ever would be.
He apparently chose not to hear that. He began Googling all of the information about Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. If you've ever Googled a disease, you know that you tend to see the worst pictures and read about the very worst scenarios. So, it's no wonder that he was so crazy beside himself with grief.
If it had ended there, that would have been fine and excusable. But it didn't. He proceeded to tell his mother about how bad things were for me. She, in turn, started spreading all of this as fact to other acquaintances of mine and my families'. He joined with her, spreading incorrect information about me and what I was going through, all the while making it out to be far more dramatic than it was.
The stories evolved and spun out of control. Eventually, they got back to my parents.
My mom encouraged me not to talk to Jason any more about my health and I told him so.
Still, he didn't get the clue.
His mom went to the school where my aunt works, pulled her out of her classroom (during class, mind you), to tell her that my dad lost his job and that we were going out of state to start intense cancer treatment because things were looking dire for my situation.
My aunt got upset because she thought she was out of the loop. She called up other family members to ask if they had heard. That rumor escalated, people started worrying and feeling hurt that they hadn't been told about what was going on with me. All that time, no one was calling my family or me to verify information. They didn't want to burden us.
I absolutely understand that, but man, do I wish they had called us first before it got so out of control.
At one point, the rumor got so blown up, I was essentially on my deathbed and entering hospice.
So, my parents were dealing with the calls from family and calls and texts from friends and acquaintances who had been told by Jason and his mom that I was in dire straits. Needless to say, it was an added stress to our family that we could have lived without.
I understand that Jason and his mom thought they were being helpful and acting concerned. However, when it turned into their own gossipy story that they could derive drama from, it became less about concern for me and more about the reaction of the story.
My mom called up Jason's mom and asked her to stop spreading information around because it was entirely incorrect. Her response to my mom?
"What do you want me to do? He's calling me crying every night, devastated that Katie's not talking to him and filling him in."
So sad for Jason, right? You know, because my mom doesn't have more things to worry about than Jason's feelings. I dunno, like, maybe her daughter who has cancer?
The moral of this story is this: Please, check you facts. Seriously.
Whew. I hope for this to be an inspirational blog, but sometimes I just have to vent. Guess the ups and downs go with the territory, huh?
Photo Credit: Gossip Girls_1 by lusi
Friday, February 26, 2010
I love this quote and it succinctly says exactly what I want all of us to get out of this blog:
"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
There's a tidbit for this moment to ponder over. Enjoy.