|Meet my angel, Lee & her handsome son (who recently won the Middle School National Wrestling Championship in Virginia Beach and has been a varsity HS wrestler since 7 th grade!!) Had to brag on Lee's behalf cuz that's pretty darn cool!!|
June 9, 2013
Another 4 AM Wake Up Call
Sleep doesn't come easy for me. For well over a decade now, I've been plagued by sleeplessness. The vicious cycle began thirteen years ago when my son Noah was born, or as I call him, my naughty non-sleeper. It took him several YEARS to sleep through the night, at that point I began shifting into my job stress-TMJ-teeth grinding phase. I finally corrected that sleeping disorder by finding a new job. It wasn't long and my sleeplessness shifted into the deteriorating marriage-teenage children-sole provider stress type of sleeplessness. Which soon gave way to the divorce-heavily burdened by related financial strains-single parenting-sleeplessness. All of which circles around to where I am now with my job stress-family worries-changing dynamics of my personal relationships-chemo ridden sleeplessness cycle, otherwise know as my Midnight Malaise period.
I'm slowly learning to make the best of my sleepless times. SLOWLY. I admit that the hypnotic lure of social media can easily suck me in at 2am. Sure, I try to conceal my addiction, iPhone in hand, covers drawn over my head. Even in my self aware, electronically addictive state, I know this isn't giving me any solace long term. But it is a process. I'll slowly work to exchange my online preoccupation for something more substantial. Scouts honor!
However, some nights when my head is wrought with worry, I take to my email and correspond with my Angel, Lee. She is a blessing. Just knowing that at any given time I can reach out to her, no matter what my circumstance, is comforting. Not only is she there, she gets it. Truly gets IT. There seems to be an intuitive bond between those who have walked the hot coals of cancer treatment. A brethren or sisterhood of sorts, that has this magical handbook to help us new-bees work through the process. For instance the other day, or I should say, late night at 1am, I reached out to my Angel Lee just to touch base. I knew she just spent a long weekend with her husband in Rhode Island celebrating their 19 year wedding anniversary AND her 1 year anniversary since her last colon cancer treatment, two fabulous milestones! I was curious to hear how it went since at this point in my treatment, I really do enjoy living vicariously through others!
Lee updates me on her fabulous weekend. And without knowing my inner struggles or perhaps all-knowing of my inner struggles, she offers me a bit of unsolicited sentiment to chew on. It's no secret that big, life changing circumstances alter who we are and how we perceive the world around us, forever. The part that can be hard to swallow is how those life changing events can also alter our relationships with others. As any good angel would, Lee clearly sensed this struggle with me as she offered me the following perspective.
My friend Gary, a lymphoma survivor, introduced me to Imerman Angels and we constantly talk about being blessed. Sounds strange that such a horrible illness could be a blessing but it truly changes you. No matter what type of person you were, you'll never be the same......but in a great way. The struggle strengthens you. The pain makes you enjoy the pain free time so much more. You'll appreciate your friends and family that have stepped up, especially the ones you never expected to. With that also comes disappointment in the ones that you thought would, but that changes YOU. I will never walk away from anyone for any reason. Small needs are just as important as big ones.
As I lay here wide awake at 4am during my shittiest week of chemo thus far, I still manage to feel blessed. I am incedibly humbled at the thoughtfulness of family and friends who continually reach out to me with love, support and prayers. In turn, I am seek understanding as I part ways with those who do not have the capacity to travel on this journey with me, learning that it their burden to contend with, not mine. I thank God everyday that I have this solid rock of a man by my side, loving me unconditionally, cheering me on, lifting my spirits and keeping me grounded in reality so I don't slip away into a dark and twisty place. My three children give me purpose and the strength to fight so I can witness their future greatness, big or small, it's all greatness to this Mama!