Friday, October 28, 2011

Change of Plans

Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the windshield.

Yesterday, unbeknownst to me, I became the bug.

I got up and got ready for my job, just like I do every day.
Shower, dress, pour the coffee, drive in, start up the computers, and... BAM!
The next thing I know, I don't have a job any more.
Their reasoning?

"Failure to adhere to corporate accounting policies."

What in the hell does that mean?
If there was a problem, wouldn't I have been told, or questioned, or reprimanded, or ...SOMETHING??
I received nearly a dollar pay raise over the past year, and had never been written up for anything.
I didn't see this coming.

Then, I got to thinking...
I am scheduled to start taking part in the company's profit sharing program on Tuesday... Nov. 1st.
Could that have anything to do with it?
I have no idea.

All I had was some lame excuse, and a boot out the door.

Then, I talked to my ex-boss today, and I find out that there has all of a sudden been a lot of activity at the branch where I worked. I won't go into too much detail, because the rest doesn't directly apply to me, and I don't want to air everyone else's business... but come to find out, some of it is actually linked back to when John tried to commit suicide!!

Are you kidding me??

That was months ago.

I wish I could call him right now and tell him how he as affected everyone else's lives around him.

So, I'm over that place. Even if they were to call me right now and offer my job back, I would not be interested.
I don't want to work for a company that fires people for no good reason.
I am not interested in working for a company that does not have honor, courage and commitment.
If the military taught me anything, it was that.

If I am anything at all, I am resilient. I will make the best of this situation.

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

I will take this opportunity to find a position that offers me the opportunity to move up in a company.
That was not a possibility at my old job.
I will find something that offers me the opportunity to make something more of myself.

Meanwhile, until this new career shows up, I will be making efforts to get more involved in my community.
I will be going to help out with a Habitat for Humanity build tomorrow.

I believe it's time to stir up a little good Karma...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finding Myself

Have you ever just stopped everything and looked around?

I don't mean that you look at the things inside the room that you're in. I mean, actually take inventory of your life. Sometimes, you just have to consider what is happening, and make any necessary adjustments. "Tweak" your situation, if you will.

Recently, I've come to one of those places in my life. I've had a problem with being "happy" lately. I refuse to consider that I might be depressed, and I do not want to go on any medication for this. That was how I dealt with my life when I was married. I'm done with that approach.

So, I've decided to make changes, and FIND my happiness....

I started this blog, because I was moving out of the traditional home, rent, utilities, etc. lifestyle, and working to catch up on the bills in my life. This all seemed like a good idea, had I been able to do things my way. The problem is that when you're in a relationship, you make compromises with the one you love. He did not want to live in a tent... so we ended up living with his sister. I'm unhappy about this situation, because now we're not paying bills, and she has more. How is that right? So, I tried it for about 2 1/2 months, and it still is not sitting well with me.

I'm moving out.

Chuck and I moved in together shortly after we had met, because we were able to financially support each other. We both acknowledged that it was way too early in our relationship for such a move... however, it turned out great for us! We get along wonderfully, and we're the best of friends. Four years later, we still laugh at the same stuff, enjoy the same movies, and so on....


When we met, it was right after both of us got out of long-term relationships... and we never got our "me" time before moving in with each other. I need that time. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that he probably does, too.

Now, nobody panic... Chuck and I are NOT breaking up. If anything, my planning this move has made us even closer, because I've discussed my feelings and thoughts with him, and he understands where I am coming from. How could I not love him for being so kind and understanding… and SUPPORTIVE!

So, Ashleigh and I are moving into an apartment together, and Chuck and I will “date” like we should have to start with. It’s going to be really tough, with my paying child support and Ash not having a hugely well-paying job… but we can do this. Besides, I know that if I ever really do need help, I can ask for it. I have a lot of friends that are willing to be there for me.

So, it’s not the adventure that I wanted when I started writing this blog, but it is a new chapter in my life. I will be going back to “Minimum Payment Hell” but maybe it will give me the opportunity to sit back and remember who Brenda is... And then, when Chuck and I do decide to move back in with each other, it won’t be for financial reasons, and our relationship can be stronger because we’re both happy with ourselves first.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Survivor Tattoos

This past weekend, my older daughter, Ashleigh, and I went and got tattoos.
It was my birthday gift from her, celebrating my 5 year anniversary.

Ashleigh's is on her foot...

Mine is on my back, between the shoulder blades.

Thanks, Ash! I love you!! ~Mom

I Bring it on Myself

*sigh* My mind is in turmoil.
Why can't I just accept things and be happy?
How do I look around and say, "This is enough for me"
I miss seeing a smile in the mirror.
I want joy in my life, like the fresh air.

I feel so much love for those around me,
and yet I push those people away.
I know that the sadness I feel is inside myself.

This is not something that I can blame anyone for.
Not even myself.
Who can help their feelings?

Every day that goes by,
without doing something to try to fix this sadness
Is a day wasted.

I was only given a certain number of days on this earth.
I can't stand the thought of wasting even one more.
My patience has grown thin.
I can no longer tolerate myself in this light.
It's time to change the bulb.

I don't know what to do,
or where to go,
to find the happiness that I seek.

All I know is that I have to start somewhere.
Somewhere is better than nowhere.

The sunlight awaits me
and I need room to dance.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five Years Cancer Free

**This got pretty long, and I'm sorry about that!!**

Today makes 5 years. I can't describe what I'm feeling. This should be a celebration. Instead, I almost feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Below are sections of what I wrote 5 years ago in part of my blog. The site was called, My Life With Breast Cancer.

...about 6 months ago... I had found some lumps in my breast.... they were just little cysts, and were no big deal. ...a few weeks ago, I found a big lump on that same breast, but didn't panic, because I knew my 6-month check up was coming due. I had the check up, and I was told that the lump that I found was scar big deal. BUT, under that were several calcium-like deposits.

The dr. referred me to Baptist Medical ...

When Baptist re-took my mammo and sonograms, they figured out that it was one lump, NOT scar tissue. The lump turned out to be rather large.

So, I got my biopsy done ... They took 6 samples from the one large lump and then drained 2 cysts. Then, the dr. saw on the ultrasound that the gland under my armpit was "unusual" so she took 2 samples of that. They called me with the results.
I do have breast cancer.
...Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

The dr. seemed pretty positive ... She said I have a rough year ahead of me ... I'm carrying an 80% survival rate.

...the biopsey on my lymph node came back negative, so they sent me to get an MRI. They also wanted to get a better idea of the size of the tumor... is
 larger than they first suspected from the mammograms, and although the origional biopsey on my lymph node came back negative, they said that it still looked irregular.... I need to get what's called a Sentinel Node Biopsey done.

Because of the size of the tumor and the fact that cancer can get worse very quickly in younger people (your cells grow at a rapid pace when you're younger, both good cells and bad), we want to get this taken care of as soon as possible.

I know that God has not decided to do this just to make my life miserable. He hast to have a long-term plan. ... Right now, I have a positive attitude (I'm invincible!) but down the road, I may be angry, and hit the whole "Why me????" stage.

...bloodwork on Thursday on Thursday of next... In order to just put me "under" once, he's going to have me come in 2 hours early so they can inject me with some dye or something that will go directly to the two lymph nodes that they're worried about. Then, he'll make an incision to remove the tumor, and another in my armpit and remove just those two nodes.

Many of you have commented to me on my positive attitude and the ability to maintain my sense of humor. While many of you may see it as my being strong, it may really be a slight bit of self-denial and a way to make light of the situation. Whatever it may be, it seems to work for me.

Really, I have no choice in the situation. I could sit around feeling sorry for myself because this has "happened" to me. I won't do that, though. I have too many people in my life to survive for... starting with my girls! So, my only other option is to look this in the eye and take it head on. Step by step, I know that I'll get through it with the help of all of my friends and family.


All along, I've had this "I don't feel sick, so there's nothing wrong with me" attitude. Then, I went to meet the radiation oncology doctor yesterday... after the appointment, I went home and enjoyed some quiet time, where my mind slowly started to take over. By the time I had to go to work, I was NOT in a good place (in my head). Fortunately, I have one of the coolest bosses in the entire world. Betty closed the place down, and let me just relax. I needed that more than she could possibly know! There was just no way my head was into working last night. I couldn't focus on anything. My mind was everywhere and nowhere all at one time. Definately a mess.--------

Just a side note ... surgery is at 10:55 tomorrow morning. If you could all set the alarms on your cell phones, watches, or whatever, and say a quick, silent prayer around that time, I would really appreciate it! I know God is watching over me, but every little bit helps, right?

If the lymph nodes come back positive for cancer, I will require another surgery to remove those. Also, some of you have asked about reconstruction. The dr. said that 95% of these types of surgeries do not require plastic surgery, because my body should naturally build up scar tissue ... So, I should have a small scar from the incision, but nothing worse. The stitches will even be under the skin, instead of the outside.

..the doctor took out the tumor and sent it down to pathology. It tested positive for cancer cells on the outside of what he took out, so he had to go back in to remove some more tissue, which came back negative for cancer on the outside. So, he got as much as he could from the tumor area.

Then, he ended taking out three of my lymph nodes. ...found some cancer cells in the first two, and the third one came up negative, so he stopped there...


Well, I finally got my friend, Tammy, to help me remove the bandages last night. I was so worried about how "mangled" I'd be that I couldn't even look in the mirror until she swore to me that it wasn't as bad as I was imagining. I was so upset about looking that I felt like I was going to pass out and had to lie down on the bed!
So, I finally caved in and gave it a look... I have a horizontal cut where they took out the tumor that is about 3 inches long, and another cut under my armpit that is about 2 inches long. I think they should heal up pretty well, though.


... The lymph nodes came back negative for cancer.... YAY! As for the tumor itself, the invasive cancer only took up about 1cm of the tumor. It was surrounded by what they call "pre-cancer" or non-invasive. He said that it looks like they got all of it out with the exception of one area, so he wants to get back in and take more out in that area. That would also be an outpatient procedure.

I had a minor allergic reaction to the meds (chemo) so they stopped the drip and want me to return next Wed. for a different mixture of my "coctail."

...they had given me a saline drip, and then added benadryl to it. The benadryl knocked me out, and then they added herceptin ... while I was asleep, Tim saw that I was all red and flushed. He stopped the machine and got the nurse. hands had also started to swell up. They monitored my temperature ... (low-grade fever) and finally decided to just send me home instead of continuing. Now, the doctor said it could be from either the benadryl OR the herceptin. So, when I go back on Wed., they're giving me less benadryl to make sure it isn't the herceptin that I'm reacting to.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent sleeping, trying to get all of the benadryl back out of my system. ...aches in my legs that feel like the growing pains we'd get as kids. I was also having cramping, which felt like PMS cramps, but I knew that they couldn't that time, nothing tasted good at all... water, crystal lite, soda... NOTHING! ....I started having a nose bleed that lasted for about 45 minutes or so...

I talked with the doctor first, and she was concerned that the Avastin was causing my nose bleeds (had two right there in her office) and I had three of them today. So, rather than pump more chemicals into my system, she decided to hold off ...
Right now, my blood counts are a little low. Not dangerous, but low enough that it makes me tired pretty easily. I make myself a list of things I want to get done in a day, and am lucky if I get even 1/3 of them done. I'm not lazy, I just have absolutely no energy in me at all. It's very frustrating! So, I'm going in next Wednesday to get an Aranesp Injection to help boost my blood cell counts.

I've been fighting a sore throat for over a week now. My throat hurts so bad that I can barely swallow, my glads under my jaw bone are swollen, and my ears hurt whenever I try to swallow.

The Day my Hair Started to Fall Out

Shaving my Head - I can't read this post without crying. I will never forget that day, as long as I live.

I went and got my usual Monday Blood Test yesterday, and I had the nicest compliment! I had one of the scarves that I bought in Spain wrapped around my head into a bun in the back, and a lady came up and said how pretty it looked and even had me show her how to do it! She was so sweet.

Since I've lost my hair, I've begun wearing large earrings, large "Hollywood" sunglasses, and lots of bandannas/scarves. I've tried to wear my wigs, but just can't seem to get comfortable in them. They're not really "me." So, fortunately, I have a large collection of hats and scarves, because I always wore them before I went bald!

So, Friday rolled around, and I spent all day in bed again. Nausea, lack of appetite, and screwed up taste buds will do that to a girl. I felt totally crappy and just wanted to be left alone to die. Lucky for me, my family won't let me off that easily (that was sarcasm). Didn't do much that night. Just hung around the house.

Why is it that people think it's ok to tell me about how their Great-Aunt Bea died from lung cancer 20 years ago? Do they think I really want to hear about that? Then, they try to turn the ending into a positive by saying, "You'll be fine, though, because they've made so many advances in medicine since then." WTF??? Why tell me about someone who has died at all? Do they just HAVE to hear themselves talk? If you don't have a good story then KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! You're not being helpful to anyone at all.

Oh, and in the grocery store the other day, I actually had a guy ask me if I was "suffering from an affliction." Do I look like some rebellious teenager trying to get my parent's attention by shaving my head? I'm 31 years old! YES, I'm suffering from an affliction! GRRRRR! People just annoy me.

I feel fat, ugly, bald, scarred, pale, nauseous, tired, bored and boring, and angry/bitter. I'm sick of it all. And the LAST thing I want is for people to call me up trying to cheer me. It's not helpful. There is no cheering. This is cancer. No matter how you look at it. Funny thing is that it's not the cancer that makes me feel like crap. It's all the Drano they insist that I need. I just want to tell them to stop the drugs. I can't take it any more. Then I look at my girls and think, if it is helping, I have to do it for them. So, I'm stuck.

By now, all of you who have wondered this past week why I hadn't posted are now wishing that I STILL had not posted. Maybe I should have waited for one of my "good days" to let everyone know how I was feeling. Sadly, I haven't had a good day since Tuesday, and the more consecutive bad days that I have, the deeper into the pit I fall. I'll come back up eventually. I just don't know when. It's hard to see the light at the end of a very long, sick tunnel.

Oh, and on top of it all.... Brittany Spears actually SHAVED HER HEAD! What an idiot! I would kill to have hair, and she does it just because she's a spoiled little brat, trying to get attention. She makes me sick. I wish I had hair.... and she makes the news because of it! That's the worst part. People are at war, dying from dieseases, starving to death, being persecuted for their faith... and Brittany Spears makes headlines for shaving her head. Grrr! Stupid B!tch.

Alright, I guess that's enough venting for now. I'm going to go wallow in my pit for a while.


Yesterday, my youngest asked me if I was going to die. Who put that into her head? What does she know about dying? That has never even been an option for me. I haven't even considered that I might die, so why is she asking this? I feel like someone trying to be "helpful" has mentioned to her that I could die from breast cancer, so now she's worrying about it. I can tell it's been bugging her for a little while, because she couldn't look at me when she asked, and was crying when she finally said it.------------

I am SO OVER this whole cancer and chemo thing. I'm done. I don't want to play their stupid game anymore. I can think of 1,001 things I'd rather be doing with this particular year of my life. Having cancer is NOT one of them.

I've been feeling both hot and cold for the past couple of days... clammy, I guess. Terrible feeling. Plus, the taste of food is aweful, so I can only eat fruits and steamed veggies. Everything else is pretty gross. It's hard to stay hydrated this way.

...the platelets were low... I got my blood work done again this week, and the platelets were still too low to do my big dose of chemo, so it was just Herceptin again today. The good news is that they were up to 92, and once they reach 100, I'm in the "safe zone" to do my chemo again. So, although I'm 2 weeks behind schedule, they are going up on their own. That means that I don't have to come in for injections every day this week, and I am no longer in danger of needing a transfusion! YAY!

My head hurts, my stomach is upset, I can't decide if I'm going to throw up or just sit next to the toilet, and my muscles ache everywhere. I feel like I've been beaten with a lead pipe.

This is where my blogging ends. This is when my life completely turned to shit. I found out about some things and pretty much started drinking a lot to hide from the reality of it all. Eventually, it led to a breakdown in October 2007, where I admitted myself into the hospital, by telling them that I was an alcoholic. I am not an alcoholic... I just couldn't figure out how to get away from everything... Away from a cheating spouse, away from the doctors and chemo, away from my kids (I realize that sounds horrible, but I wasn't able to cope), away from work, and away from the upcoming radiation therapy. I couldn't be strong any more, and that was what everyone still expected from me!

When I got out of the hospital, I stayed home for about two weeks before I finally left for good. I did finally go back to the doctor and finish chemo and radiation... and was finished with all of that by January 2008... just in time for my divorce to be final in February of that same year.

Many of you have asked why I just "gave" everything to Tim without fighting for anything. After reading this, hopefully, you can understand that I just didn't have any fight left in me. I couldn't fight with him any more, because I was so busy fighting for my health. I had to take priorities. Unfortunately, I've spent the past several years paying for those choices. If I had been better equipped (mentally) to deal with all of this pressure, I might have been able to have my children with me instead of leaving them. This is why when people say that they think I'm a strong person, all I can think is, "No, I'm not. I failed at the most important thing. My children."

But, I didn't write this blog as an excuse for my choices. I shouldn't have to explain myself. I know who my friends are and who loves me.

This is to aknowledge that it has been 5 very long, difficult years. Cancer changed my life, and it's not done yet. No matter how many years pass, I will always be a Survivor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rainy Day

This is for my girlfriends from over the years:
Jannian, Dodie, Mocha, Nic, Sylvia, Tammy,
Andrea, Carolyn, and Jennifer...
I miss you.

Sometimes I get into a mood.
My friends get that.
I feel down.
I don't want to talk, or be social, or even associate with other people.
My friends bring me out of that shell.

It's not like I'm in a bad mood, because I will talk with people. I just don't feel like "sharing" or "listening."

So, it's raining outside. It's dark, dreary, and wet. Seems fitting for today's thoughts.

This mood has been creeping up on me for a couple of weeks now. Ever since I stopped working at Michael's, I guess. I feel like I have no purpose. Since I don't have my own place, I am pretty limited on things to do. Even though I feel completely comfortable with the people that I live with, and love their home, it still isn't mine. We are really trying hard to pay off bills and get Chuck's car running, so we don't do very much.

So, I go to work, go home, sit on my [growing] butt and watch TV.

This is my life.

What's the point?
There is no point.
I'm just saying... what is my goal? I go to work so I can pay bills... but I'm not able to enjoy any of the money! I understand that it's part of being an adult, but what about all those things we looked forward to when we were kids?

I couldn't wait to grow up! Now that I'm an adult, I'm not taking advantage of it properly.

For the first time in my life, I'm not surrounded by friends.
This is why I spend so much time on Facebook. I miss my people! My friends "get" me.
They know that I like to just vent. Once I do, then we can move on to the next subject.
They don't take me seriously, unless I need to be taken seriously.
They understand the difference.

So, back to feeling blue.
Don't get me wrong... I love Chuck's family. They are wonderful, and I couldn't ask to be surrounded by a more fun-loving, caring family.
But... it's his family. If Chuck is bugging me, I don't think it's good to vent to his sister!
I miss just sitting around, talking with the girls.
I miss doing "couples" things.
I miss my family.
I miss bbq's on the weekends, with kids running around.
I miss my kids.
I miss going places and doing things.

I've finally decided that I don't really care for Georgia. I've been here almost four years and have literally not made any close friends. Oh, I've met people. But everyone is so family oriented around here, that they won't let anyone new in. I don't have a friend that I can call on a Saturday afternoon, while Chuck is working on his car, and just say, "Hey, let's run out and have a drink." Chuck and I don't have another couple to go places with on a Saturday night. Never, in my adult life, have I ever NOT had someone to hang out with.

And, since we don't really do anything, I have no idea how we could possibly meet other people. It's sort of like dating. I'm not about to ask for some woman's phone number in the grocery store! lol.

Most of the friends I've had in the past were easy to meet. We just clicked. Why don't I "click" with Georgians??

So, here I am.
Work, TV, bed.
Work, TV, bed.
Work, TV, bed.
Some people are perfectly happy with that. I'm not. I'm discontented. It's nothing new, though. I've always been that way. I only get to live once, and every day that I live like this is a day wasted. It's lost and I can never get it back. My friends have always understood that, and were willing to go and do fun things with me.

Not here. There's really not much to do here.

I keep thinking I should get a hobby... but they all cost money. The better/more fun it is, the more it costs. That defeats the purpose, a bit, doesn't it? I'm trying to get out of debt here. Besides, I don't have a friend to do that hobby with! Why is this so hard??

I know it frustrates Chuck when I feel like this, but it's not his fault. It's not anybody's fault. I've got choices to make...

Live here, in GA, as an adult, paying off my bills...
...or sell off everything I own and spend the next 3 months backpacking through Europe!

Go to work at the gas company every day...
...or find a job that pays me to travel the world! (I've been working on this for a long time, to no avail.)

Guess I'll just put my head down and go to work, just like everyone else... and pay my bills... and be responsible...

But I don't have to like it...
...and I don't have to stop reaching for the stars!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Links to Support my Theory

NY Times article re Stress and Cancer

Life Script: Illness Caused by Stress; see #10

NewsMax Health; practice relaxation techniques

Stress and Your Health

Just a little extra reading for anyone interested. I can't believe I have never researched my theory before. Apparently, there might be something to what I'm thinking.

Feel free to share any thoughts you might have on this!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Surviving Life

Due to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I have a lot on my mind....

I am nearing my five-year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer. I am extremely proud of this achievement. I can't say I almost died, because I honestly can't ever remember thinking that it was an option. I have two beautiful daughters that need a Mom, so I wasn't going anywhere. I was too stubborn to consider it a possibility. I probably would've gone ballistic on a doctor if they tried to tell me something like, "You have 3 months to live." This leads me to my first point:

Why do doctors think it’s alright to tell someone how long they think they'll live?
They don't know.
There is no possible way another human being, even a doctor, could know such a thing.
I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

I firmly believe that many people have died because a doctor was arrogant enough to give a timeline to that person. If someone says to a sick person that they are expected to be dead in 3 months, then the odds of that person being dead in 3 months just went up 25% (ok, I am making up these figures, but you totally get my point). It makes me mad.

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, someone like me would have stuck it out just to prove that arrogant bastard wrong. Ha!

The next thing on my mind is that I firmly believe that how you live your life has a lot to do with illness. I’m not talking about smoking and lung cancer or anything like that. This goes deeper.
Something I can’t actually prove.

I often wonder if people that are diagnosed at a similar age as I was, can look back on their life and say, "This was the cause." I believe I can. I was in a bad marriage; it was stressful from day-one. We weren't good to each other, and then, in an effort to get away, I left for a year and a half.

I don't know what was worse... living in that unhealthy marriage, or being an unemployed, single parent, stressing constantly about money, a place to live, trying to fix my marriage for my children's sake, and so on.

Finally, we reached an agreement and the girls and I moved back to Spain with him. Of course, things did not get any better as long as we were living there. I was there for my kids and that was it. But, once we moved back to the states, things were great for a year. My 30th year was honestly the best year of my life. We had a house, our marriage seemed to have improved, and it was like starting brand new. The pressure was off. The stress had left the building.

One year later, I was diagnosed with cancer.

All of that stress in my life over the course of several years had built up, and once the stress was gone, my body reacted with cancer.

Before you think I'm completely off my rocker, let me try to explain in a different way.

When I was in the Navy, we often heard that when a Chief runs Maintenance Control (high-stress position) for several years, then retires, they very often die within 5 years, from either a heart attack or stroke. This is because their body has lived and dealt with such a high-stress environment for so long, that once the stress was no longer there, their body couldn't adjust and it is what ultimately kills them. I believe that my cancer was caused by a similar situation. My body dealt with stress and negativity for so long, that when life became less stressful, then that is how my body reacted.

This is just my theory.

Finally, this leads me to my next point.
This is for all you religious people.

I do believe in God. I am not at all good about going to church, but I do have my own beliefs. I don't know about what God really thinks about divorce because I've never had the opportunity to ask him (I have a whole list of questions for that interview, if it ever comes up!).

I do believe that God gave us our lives to live as well as we can, with the time we have. I also believe that as his children, God loves us unconditionally. Because of this love, even if he does not agree with divorce, he still wants us to be happy with ourselves.

That being said, my other theory is that because my marriage was so unhealthy to both myself and my ex, and ultimately, our children, then God gave me cancer to force me to finally have the courage to take the final step and leave for good. For ten years, we were bad for each other. I was on anti-depressants for a lot of the marriage.

I went from being an outgoing person, that was usually the center of attention without even trying, to being told to shut up in front of my friends and told that I was always wrong, to becoming an introvert that actually goes out of her way to avoid being in the limelight.

But, I thought that being there would be best for my kids. They needed a Mom and a Dad. I thought they needed us to be in the same house, with the dog and the white picket fence. Cancer arrived, and the way that each of us reacted to the news said a lot about our personalities. I won’t go into detail, but it didn’t go well for our marriage.

The fighting, the arguments, the hurt feelings…
It became much worse that it was when we lived in Spain.

So, one day, I woke up and refused to continue. I never would’ve had the courage to walk away if I had never been diagnosed with cancer. Just like an addict, I had to hit “rock bottom” before I would make the necessary changes. It was hard to do. I was so afraid. I had no idea where I would go or what I would do. The only thing I knew was that I might survive cancer, but there was no way I was going to survive this marriage. I had to leave.

I’m grateful for the new life that I’ve found, and since he is now remarried, I can only assume he’s grateful as well. If God had not loved me enough to give me cancer, and the will to fight it… and the courage to walk away… who knows where I would be today.

I guess that makes me a survivor in more than one way.