Thank you all who reached out over the past few days after I shared the news about my mom. My heart feels so full. So many people—childhood friends, family from Japan, study abroad friends from England, former and current coworkers from all over the globe—reached out to say that they could be my outer ring of comfort (sorry, Maddie, your spots filled now), that I could vent to them anytime, that I could stay at their place if I just needed to get away for a weekend.
When you're just typing behind a computer in your bedroom, sometimes you forget how many people care about you and will show up when you raise a hand—or chirp a Tweet, or... okay, I'm trying too hard.
Anyways, since I've been a Negative Nancy in a lot of my posts (like titling my posts "Burnout" and "How to Make Working Remotely Not Suck As Much"—yikes, Alison, cool it on the theatrics), I thought I'd share some positive news:
Okay, that's all I can think of for now, but anyways, thanks again, and thank you for reading!
This past Fourth of July weekend, I spend most of it swimming.
I swam back and fourth from wall to wall, without any goal in mind. I just knew that it felt healing. The water was protector, a barrier from life’s problems. I could tune out the world and feel my problems melt away with each kick, feeling comforted and hugged by the water.
The whole weekend felt like that, avoiding reality. That’s why I love Ohio so much. It’s where my aunt, uncle, and cousin live, and it’s always so fun there. It's also where my older sister Kathleen lives, and she always makes me feel better.
But I knew the weekend would end, we’d have to come back home to Illinois and face the problems waiting for us there.
In June, my mom’s breast cancer came back. It first started out with a nagging cough, which we found out was pleural effusion, “unusual fluid around the lung.” They tested the fluid to find out where it was coming from—it could have just meant pneumonia. But the results came back with the worst-case scenario: Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (cancer that spreads to a different body part from where it started). What the heck?
My mom beat breast cancer 17 years ago when I was 3rd grade. Why the heck did it decide to just pop up again unannounced, like, “Heyo, remember me? I’m back!”
Word to the wise: when you find out your mom has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, do not go on the internet searching for answers. It will just lead you down a rabbit hole of panic. One helpful piece of info that I did learn though was that metastatic breast cancer is starting to be viewed as a chronic illness that you manage, and you can live 10-plus years with it. On the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network website, it says, “Is metastatic breast cancer a chronic disease? Not yet, but that is an important goal. As researchers identify more and better treatments, MBC could become a chronic disease like diabetes or HIV/AIDS, where patients can be stable on medications for 20 or more years.”
I've been trying to cope with this sad news in the best way I can. My sister recently told me about this concept called “The Ring Theory” (Note: It does not involved the horror film “The Ring” or crop circles or UFOs. Okay, let’s continue.)
Basically, it means that you can't vent to the person dealing with the trauma; you have to vent to someone outside of it. So I can't grieve to my mom; I have to talk about it with someone outside of the ring, like my siblings or friends. Here’s an explanation of “The Ring Theory” from Psychology Today:
I’ve been trying to follow this ring of grief, but it’s hard when you live with your parents and work from home, and the only one outside of your ring is your dog Maddie, and if you start sobbing at her, she’ll just give you a weird look and then go to the treat drawer.
So, where am I taking this blog post.
I guess a quote that keeps coming to mind is “Man plans, and God laughs.”
You picture what your life will be—or should be, when you compare yourself to your Instagram feed—and it all goes to crap. I've been itching to move out of my parents' house for months (I've lived here for 4 years!!!!), and it's been a real source of shame and embarrassment for me, whether I'd like to admit it or not. But now I'm grateful that I've been able to spend this time with my parents, and that I can be here to help out as she goes through treatment.
I guess to end on a sappy note, I'm just so grateful for our strong support system of friends and family. I'll just end with this great quote from David Sedaris.
I recently got a Polaroid Mint Instant Print Digital Camera as a sample, and I've been testing it out as I've been running errands, meeting up with friends, or hanging around the house. This camera is fun, lightweight, and a nice breather from iPhones and other high-speed tech. Since you have a limited amount of 2x3" ZINK paper, each photo feels special and intimate. There are also some other cool features — if you have a microSD card installed, you can download the photos to your computer.
There are a few downsides though, which can mostly be cleared up by thoroughly reading the User Guide. The camera isn't as intuitive as you'd think. The light on the camera flickers a few times, so sometimes I couldn't tell if the photo had been taken or not, and then I ended up taking duplicate photos or the picture came out blurry. Also, you have to make sure to include the blue color calibration sheet for the printing to work.
Anyways, check out the full product review below!