Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Unsent Letter

While spending time with a friend the other day, we were talking about writing and she turned me on to this site called Unsent Letters. The site is full of letters people have written to various individuals. (Their future selves, pets, unborn children, dead relatives, etc.) Some of the letters were serious, some were sad, and others so silly they made me laugh so hard tears started falling from my eyes.

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.

Photo Credit: Pregnant Belly by merlijn72

Monday, March 15, 2010

New friends wanted!

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.

Photo Credit: 3 Friends_5 by lusi

Damn Emotions

So I know I have REALLY slacked on my blog this week, but the truth is I was nervous for what I am going to blog about today. This post is going to be long and sound like one huge pity party, but if I don’t talk about it here, then how am I going to get it off my chest?

(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

Bucket List

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

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
  • Skydive
  • Hold a snake
  • Get a tattoo
  • Learn something new
  • Say sorry to someone I hurt needlessly
  • Run in a 5k
These are not huge unmanageable tasks, but they are all things that we have dreamed or thought about. So, instead of dreaming or thinking about it we decided that we are going to tackle them. I encourage you all to write down things you want to accomplish. The list doesn’t have to be very big, but you may surprise yourself with the things that you want to set out to do. I would love for you to leave a comment about something you want to do before you die and maybe I will have to add it to my list. I look forward to reading all of your adventures!
Photo Credit: notebook light by fall_lynx

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Changing Directions

I had a bit of a breakdown this afternoon. I had to make a few phone calls to my doctors regarding appointments. The calls were pretty much routine but after the last one I just started sobbing. I don't want this disease to be a part of my life! I don't want doctors to be a part of my daily conversations, nor do I want to constantly be thinking about how healthy I need to be. I don't want to think about the vitamins, protein drinks,energy bars needed to build up my immune system. I don't want to commit to the 9 hours of sleep I am supposed to get every night. I am 20 years old for crying out loud! I enjoy the crazy college hours and the midnight junk food runs. Yep my life has turned upside down.

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

Gee Willikers

Wow I cannot believe how much support I have received simply by starting this blog! I originally wanted to start my blog to keep my family up to date with the latest news and to inspire others during the difficult times they may be facing. I never in a million years would have imagined this many views, followers, or touching comments. It is amazing that so many people whom I have never met are thinking about my family and me. It is an inspirational reminder to me of what goodness lies within people.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Death Gossip

This is the story of rumors and gossip that, like rumors and gossip often do, went very, very awry.

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.

Okay, go.

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