It hit me that although I have written books before (sometimes with ease) that it seemed to be something in the past for me - something I would not be able to do anymore...
Well, I was wrong!
I wanted to share more about how to manage finding career after cancer. I know that the written word is sometimes not preferred - not everyone loves to read but I did think that with the video seminars and the written words here on my blog and on other sites (see Press) being great but it is in pieces and not a front to end guide book on what to do.
The information included in the book is:
Chapter 1 - Welcome to the "new normal"
Chapter 2- On Confidence
Chapter 3 - On Preparation
Chapter 4-Resumes & Blank Spaces
Chapter 5- Interviewing How-To's
Chapter 6- What Makes You Happy?
Chapter 7- Dealbreakers & Social Media
Chapter 8- Keeping an Open Mind
Chapter 9 -Listening to Your Gut
Chapter 10- On Balance
Epilogue - Next Steps
The book is slim with parts in it to add your own information to help get your mind going to think about what you want to do and how. My plan, however, is to give the book away for free with my training sessions, which I hope to be doing in person as well as online.
If you want a copy of the book, please sign up on my homepage Career After Cancer.
The book is also available on Amazon here.
This book joins the other 4 I have written about business / entrepreneurship and careers and of course my children's book that I also give away for free to other moms who have experienced cancer (sign up here - Children's Book if you want a copy of it - and sign up even if you want a copy in Spanish as a Breastie translated it for me into Spanish - for FREE! (Thanks, Mish!)
Let me know what you think about books vs video training - my goal is to have these things go together in so many new ways! Thanks!
If you want to help me reach more people by donating to my 501(c)(3), please do so below:
Do you know how to write the perfect resume? Something that makes the HR folk or Computer Algorithm say “hmmmm” and put you in the to be called (or emailed) pile? If a person looks at your #resume they spent about 3 seconds on it and one thing everyone hates to do is look at a resume and see:
It sucks because so many of us definitely have the 3rd thing ... we all took time off or got fired or laid off and now with the whole chronological resume thing, it’s glaring right there sooo obvious we missed time from our career and the question is, “why?” But most likely it becomes, “why bother?” to the HR or hiring folks.
I am going to tell you a hard truth - it IS (usually) easier to find a job when you HAVE a job. For most of us after treatment (or during as some of us are lifers with stage 4 or continuing treatments with clinical trials - I am on month 10 of a 24 month trial) if our doctors think we are well enough to work -and as we all know those bills don’t stop just because our bodies failed us - it is time to get back out there but for most of us, our bodies DID fail us and we still feel “off” in different ways. The best thing to try to feel normal again is to rock out our job search but helllloooo our resumes are old our hair is chemocut our bodies are different - where do we even begin???
Well, you begin behind your computer screen (for now) and watch my #free training that takes you through how to write that perfect resume - did you know you should:
Last week was a very big event - my son received communion! 3 years ago, my daughter received and it was so important to me as my faith has always been a big part of what makes me me. I brought Sofia to mass as a little baby and then when her brother was born, I brought the two of them to mass all of the time - and it was NOT easy. Waking up early as a mom of 2 kids, I would dress them and drag them to mass for 8am. They would often resist and / or complain. I did it anyway - even chasing my son up and down the aisles.
On Saturday May 5, it was the day. I kept thinking each week, “Ok, I have to get through these next few days…” - it seems every week, there was something else to do, some other event to handle between sports, homework, activities - having young kids and a new 501(c)(3) (on-helping-others-as-a-501c3.html) is fun and challenging as I keep trying to balance my need to write, my need to do more with my very much needed life at home.
A balanced woman is hard to be - it seems the kids school days are getting shorter and shorter and between working out and trying to eventually see my girlfriends and spend time with my husband and extended family, it is hard to balance.
Today is mother’s day and it is fitting that I am getting myself more on the “balance” train and trying to manage the many things I want to do and how.
We took photos together at communion and I have just a few of them. I guess if nothing else, we can all agree that I look hella different from 2015 and 2018 (see below).
To think, my daughter’s communion was exactly 1 year and 6 months before my diagnosis of breast cancer at 39 years old. And then, to also think that last year, I was still undergoing chemotherapy until May 1st. I was lucky that my chemo was a year ago and that I was able to kind of have gone through this “metamorphosis” for my son’s communion but really I am just happy to be here, to have been able to sit at his communion with my own hair and my one boob and just be ME.
It crossed my mind only once during the ceremony - the dreaded, "What if?" and I just pushed it away right quick to live and enjoy the moment and not worry about what cancer might do - if it does God forbid spread or come back or otherwise make my life be in danger. Instead, it was with a deep breathe, that I sat in that church and watched my son receive the body of Christ that I exhaled and said, "No what it's, just TODAY."
I am lucky and focused on trying to do the balance - it is hard. I do know that time goes quickly - well, in a “the days are long but the years are short kind of thing”.
So I try to balance and take care of me and the many goals I want to accomplish with my 501(c)(3) along with enjoying the moments, the moments that continue to fly by and change me from a mom of two babies to a mom of two young kids to someday, God willing, a mom of teens and beyond…
Fitting for mother’s day to share that…
This is what I do in the time between...
PS: Happy Momma's Day again :) XOXO
As I prepare for mother’s day - well, yes, we mothers prepare for our own holidays (we get it) lol. We have to clean the house and organize the events and make sure all of the other mothers are getting cards and/or gifts from the family (read: husband and kids) and more.
As I am getting these things "done", I cannot help but think about all of my past mother’s days and the different ways I focused on all of the wrong things, year after year after year and to forgive myself for it.
When my daughter was born in 2007, I was on maternity leave for 10+ weeks and during that time, I felt (as I guess most of us new mothers do) like I ceased to exist. For most women, maybe, this feeling passes or gets less with time but for me, it did not. I continued to feel as though what ever I needed was not even on the list of things "to do".
I worked full time in NYC and made a big salary and I hated leaving her but I also enjoyed a bit of pretending to be able to attend to my own needs at work for a few hours… but then, things got bad.
My husband got sick and by that first mother’s day, I was just clinging on and hoping, praying for a day where keeping my daughter ALIVE did not rely on me. (And yes, it felt that dramatic - there is no, “the baby will tend to herself” and at the time, I had no help officially available to me beyond certain set times…) I just wanted a day to sleep in - it seemed like such a luxury - to sleep uninterrupted without having to get up and do something for the baby, who I loved more than life itself but my body and mind wanted just one day. One day.
Reader, I did not get it that one day. It seems laughable now but at the time and in coming years, I continually held out hope that that random Sunday in May would be the day I could rest and be "me" without having to run around like a lunatic but eventually, I embraced it and I could see no other way to be so even that one day was not one for me to take off but to keep going …
My first Mother's Day 2008
I took this to the extreme even if help did become available, I was not interested in it. I had become a one woman machine - getting diapers, bottles and whatnot - toilet training, removing the bottle, nutrition, activities, homework, etc etc. I was a dynamo. People marveled to my face, “I do not know how you do it.” To my behind probably something more like, “That woman is a control freak!”
I was in this pattern and ready to continue on it - did not anticipate where I could let go or how. I had no clue. I was a bad friend and definitely someone who was not the best of “support” when it comes to my husband but he also had his demons and issues, towards me… So we can call it a draw.
Then, bam, I was hit with cancer. How in the world would I be able to keep doing what I was doing the soup to nuts of everything with my kids and work full time and survive? The main question I had was on surviving. I struggled with what hospital to go to, mainly because of the kids and my own fear of traffic.
Ultimately, I learned slowly and painfully that the old way was dead. That in order to survive, in order to truly live, I had to let go of being the control freak worry wart mother who did not allow sleepovers or play dates where I could not be present (omg, I hated that version of me but at the time it was all I knew how to be so I forgive that version of me and love her again)...
It helped immensely that my kids WERE 6 and 9 when I was diagnosed and not 2 and 5, though it was still hard for them (and me) and it continues to be hard for them to adjust to this new normal, too (and of course, me, too though it should go without saying - this new normal is one you have to adjust to each day, and it is different each day, too). I say all the time that it is not just the patient who gets cancer but the whole family - friends, too as most of them are close as family…
So on the eve of this Mother’s Day, I think to myself, “the kids are all right” part prayer and part belief in it and most importantly, or just as importantly, I am, too.
I have big ideas for the rest of this year and next - I hesitate to say, "plans" because the truth is we never know what the future holds but I have my ideas... I want to focus on my nonprofit 501(c)(3) career after cancer initiative - I want to travel and spread my training and books around the country and maybe beyond. I have so many stories to tell in my fiction writing, even beyond my first publication in the Visible Ink anthology.
I want to spend time with my kids and family, too - first and foremost and I am going to go easier on myself in terms of my “deadlines” and “planning” as though I am a project manager and this organization is my baby, my project but my kids are on the list, too. And every day, they get a bit older... pretty soon, they will be more and more independent and I know I will miss these days.
But, the big news for me personally and spiritually is my trip in February 2019 back to my second home, Rome. The home I left 20 years ago. Where I grew up. But listen, do not tell my kids yet - they do not know! It’s a trip I am taking without them.
I am not just going to Rome but also to see San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio is - I feel as though I am being called to go and so I am going. More on that in another post. This is what I do in the time between.
Slideshow of Mother's Day Past :)
PS: Happy Mother's Day to my golden girls in Heaven and of course to my mom who always has my back and yells at me only sometimes and to my mother in law, too, who also has my back. I am a lucky girl & my kids are lucky grandkids!
So as you guys might know if you follow me on social media (why don’t you -
twitter and instagram) then you know I found out on Saturday - the day of my son's communion!- that my company is officially a 501(c)(3) corporation! I had already known I was a nonprofit for my state and then when I returned from my vacation and my Beautiful Self photo shoot in between all of that, I filed to be a 501(c)(3).
I filed because it was important for me to be officially a nonprofit, to be able to raise funds and support the things (training, books, and more) I want to do for free to help other people who have been hit with cancer get to their “new normal”.
I cannot stress enough that once you finish treatment (or if you are on maintenance treatment) and are cleared for work it is hard to figure out what you need to do to get back out there again. Or if you did work during treatment, maybe now that the roller coaster has paused for a moment, you realize you have not been happy at your work - maybe the stress levels are too high or maybe you have had issues with colleagues who, you know, are like jealous of all the time off you took during cancer (sounds absurd, but it happens).
Whatever your particular story is, the fact is that you are either actively thinking of moving to a new position OR you were canned and need to find something new. For me, I have spent years helping people get to the next step (seriously, it was the name of my company The Next Step) with resumes, interviewing help, and even wrote BOOKS on how to be entrepreneurial in your job search and more.
Despite all of that, here I was ready to find a new job and I was CLUELESS. Literally, clueless. I had no idea what to do. I mean, I kind of “knew” but not really. I had a new body, new hair and no clue what to do and how.
I always considered being an entrepreneur again but I knew that what I really wanted to do was help others (nonprofit-methe-plan-to-help-others.html)
and now here I am another big move to getting my initiative funded and more to launch more - so many plans (a new post will come about that soon) oh and news to share soon, too.
A friend of mine recently asked me, “So you are doing this non profit thing but you could not find a job?” Yes, a friend… lol. It is ok - it makes sense - for me, I have been entrepreneurial for many years and to be able to give back and officially as a 501(c)(3) this is what I am supposed to be doing!
In case you were interested, my Mission Statement is:
The Time Between Is, INC provides training and services for individuals who have experienced cancer. Cancer can lead to loss of job or taking a break from work which can be hard to get back to the career after going through this disease. This service and training includes online and in person session along with workbooks resume writing interview help and more to help people get back to their “new normal” after cancer.
The specific objectives and purpose of this organization shall be:
What do you think? Sign up today at Career After Cancer to make sure you get notices about all of the upcoming events and training and more!
If you want to help me raise money to support the training and initiatives underway for Career After Cancer, please do so below!
That’s me - I kept walking around telling everyone who slowed down by me that I was in the anthology, page 35! Was I beyond proud? Hell yes! What am I talking about?
Well, if you are a patient of Sloan, they have a non profit organization called Visible Ink that is run by Judith Kelman and volunteers who edit and help encourage patients write about ... well whatever they want.
As soon as I learned of the program, I signed up and Judith herself called me to find out all about me and then she linked me with my soulmate -Samantha - the best editor around (imho) and she and I got to work on what I wanted to write. I knew right away it had to be fiction.
Why? Because I always wanted to write fiction but could never do it despite trying for uhm decades. I am a big reader and wanted to publish since I was a kid and even my professional publishing did not satisfy my goal of published writer. Sure I was an author but not a “writer” - there’s a difference and if I have to explain it to you, you will never understand - but if you get it, you know what I mean.
I started writing about a divorced single mom of 1 with one boob - the only things like me are the one boob thing as I am married with 2 kids :).
When I submitted it, I wasn’t sure what would happened, it was 800 words ripped from my soul and a few months later I got the letter saying I had been selected to be part of the anthology!
There is also a chance, if your piece is selected, to be acted out, on stage, by Broadway and off Broadway (and TV) stars but mine - this year- was not picked for that but getting into the anthology at all was a huge honor!
I attended the event with my husband right after our long vacation at Woodloch - I got dressed up and I was nervous and excited. My seats were in the second row and we were absolutely transfixed for the whole show and before when my picture was on the big screen too!
Each piece was acted out much like I did during my days of speech and debate with a black binder and limited movements but with music and dance and singing and more. Oh the singing!! My other most wished talent!
On the way out of the event on to the smorgosbord of wonderful food and drink (all provided for free), I saw someone who looked familiar, though I could not place her. And then, my brain kicked in and I realized it was my favorite (living) author! (Note: My favorite author of all time is Emily Bronte but she is not living anymore - is it creepy that I feel I have to preface my favorite author with the word "living"?)
Adriana Trigiani was there - in the flesh and we hugged and she was so so kind even though my chemobrain robbed me of the names of all of her books. I just read her latest Kiss Carlo and all of her books have been amazing - like Big Stone Gap! If you love books that hit you with love stories, scenery, dialogue and more - like when I read her books, I can see her world in my mind, that is the mark of a true writer, then you must read her work - the link to Amazon is right here .
Visible Ink is a nonprofit that helps heal - by writing our stories, we give pieces of it away - the bad stuff that would eat at our hearts gets out and into the ether. The good pieces become tattooed on our hearts for whatever comes next. The kindness of people who volunteer to do this either editing for hours or practicing a piece to get it just "right" for the writer (and the rest of the audience) - these are amazing things that people do to help us feel whole again.
If you can donate anything to help them continue, it would be amazing and tax deductible - you can click here to donate OR to order the anthology and to read my amazing kind of too personal story (though it is fictionalized, parts of it are real true - too true for my husband's liking... but it is okay, he still loves me)!
I have always been a for profit kind of gal. From my first jobs in downtown NYC and investment banks to my various entrepreneurial pursuits ... and even working, it was all about numbers, the bottom line and building equity I guess for what, who knows...
I have learned, with all of the scars and bumps to prove it, that the real currency, the real bottom line is how many people you help and how you help them.
When I got cancer, I was humbled by everyone who pitched in and did whatever it was I used to do that covered like maybe 2-3 people worth of stuff. I also saw who didn’t help and who even tried to hurt - yes, people are human and as such they can be sucky ... but I do not waste my thoughts on that.
I knew I wanted to help others once I grew a pair of balls and put my name out there for real as a cancer patient with my blog in June 2017. I have been blown away by the power of sharing and how many people I have come to know through blogging and social media that have become like family to me.
Since I relaunched the website as a .ORG URL in November 2017 (which took away previous user data), I have had over 900k pageviews and over 43000 unique visitors. It was foward thinking that I organized the website as a .ORG as I was not yet a nonprofit... Things have a way of working out!
Nonprofit Status & FREE Webinars
My original nonprofit application was denied (I had filled out the form wrong - easy to do with chemo brain...)
I wasn’t sure if I would reapply because I couldn’t get my head around it but I did and promptly forgot about it. In the interim I had launched and created my first free webinar about how to be confident prepared and have a plan to get back to work after cancer.
I did this video at home and struggled with the webinar service - I mean, if I wanted to be more "profit minded", I would never provide these seminars for FREE with just a simple YouTube link - not even a "log in landing page" like the webinar service provided.
That being said, I do suggest folks sign up through my website, though, just so that I can be sure they get information about all of the new and exciting things I have coming for my #careeraftercancer initiative. If you are interested in learning more with me, you can sign up here.
I have seen enough webinars in my life to know that the basic strategy of them is to show just enough to entice viewers to "buy" something to move forward. This is not the point of my nonprofit webinars, though I might try that strategy for my small business website...
Instead I put my training and lessons out there, I post my story to any website that will have me and continue to get 2000-3000 unique visitors per week here at thetimebetweenis.org. Also, this month, the second most viewed page is the Career after Cancer page!
Also, in case you have been visiting me recently, you will notice that I did redesign my site. Originally, when you got to my homepage, it was the blog. Now, with the magic of site redirect and all this programming stuff, I switched my landing page to be the Career after Cancer page and the blog is now the second item on the navigation. Let me know what you think of it - it had to be done, in my opinion, to showcase my focus - of course, I will always blog and not just about being a nonprofit, either. The blog is still my catharsis and my way of connecting with any of you on a one to one basis with the realities of having cancer and being a mom and being a wife and my perennial ways of oversharing are still 100% intact!
Another BIG thing is that I wrote a book about how to be career ready! Now, this is not such a HUGE deal as I had written 4 professional books before but this is the first book I was able to write that is more than a few pages of text since my cancer crap. I never thought I would be able to do it again...
The book is my mantra with all of my advice and lessons in one place - well at least the first round of it! I called it first in a series because I might definitely have more to add.
I do believe that this book and my free training and whatever else I launch next (always thinking, my brain is on fire) will help other people who have dealt with cancer get back to work - if they want to and if they can.
I always share that the true gift is knowing life is short and that to help others is the best we can do. This is just my little way to do it - if you have been through cancer (any kind) and now are ready to get out there and rock your professional life, reach out to me at email@example.com or sign up on my homepage thetimebetweenis.org.
Please consider donating to help The Time Between Is, INC 501(c)(3), reach our goals of helping cancer patients, survivors and thrivers to have their #careeraftercancer.
I do not know what I was waiting for - I never do. I know money is a big issue for me - duh, I share about it alot and without my mother in law’s help, we would have no vacations and probably no house - more on what I feel about that (besides immensely thankful) coming in a future post.
Anyway, when I first was measured for a mastectomy bra in January 2017, I was surprised at how much it looked like a 1950’s lingerie contraption. It was a big bra - lots of thickness to the bands and it was beige and with some lace, to show what I do not know - maybe the cover of the big prosthetic? That is another thing, the prosthetic was a size “9” which I guess means instead of a breast, I had a foot (my shoe size is a 9).
I was religious about wearing the prosthetic and the bra everywhere EXCEPT to chemo. I mean if I was gonna get pumped full of chemicals and toxins and poison, I was going to do it comfortably and without a boob. I wore my post surgical compression bra from Sloan to those appointments and rocked the half flat look - but would not even consider doing that elsewhere.
By the time I lost my job and the summer came, I was like why am I doing this? By August, on a trip to Disney, I ditched the prosthetic and walked around half flat and I have honestly not looked back.
But I did feel discomfort - my bras were now ALL sports bras which is a different kind of “look” and “feel” and I did miss the whole fastening in front and turning it around to the back of bras…
I had known about AnaOno from when I began to share my story in June 2017 but I was hesitant to do anything. Why? Funds, fit, comfort, confusion, etc. I even met the designer and owner, Dana (one of my girl crushes) and was finally “ready” to order. But, remember, no job = broke so I was waiting until my friend Irena told me about the “insurance” option via AnaOno that handles the whole process for you - and she got 4 new bras for a small dollar investment and I was like, “Hmmm. This I think I can swing.” I filled out the form here and they handle everything. Everything.
Angela, my insurance rep, was an “angel” - she got my doctor’s office to issue a prescription, handled my insurance to get pre-approval and then helped me pick the right size. After all was said and done, it would be $200 for 4 bras, including shipping. That is great, except I did not have $200 and would not expect to have it for a month.
I asked Angela if we could wait a month and she said “no problem” I was so happy and relieved. Then, the end of the month came and I was ready except I only had $100 and not $200. I was worried but called and asked if I could split the order and it was no problem AND despite ordering on Monday, I got the bras in 2 days and was ready to bring them to my vacation with me!!
Trying them on was a dream - the material is so soft it is like a warm hug. Despite only having one boob, it sits well on my frame - I do need to weigh it down with the cotton inserts because I am so against putting in a prosthetic on principle but it works just fine with the two little inserts and the left side just goes without anything except my tit.
I feel that I should not have waited so long so I had to share with all of you to not wait - go for it - this company is top to bottom for breast cancer survivors, patients, previvors, survivors, everything - this is NOT AN AD - this is my honest, thoughts of the best bras ever and here are the pics of me in them to prove it!
Thanks, Dana, for being a kick ass advocate and rockstar! This is what I do in the time between....
Before we go any further, check out Beautifulself.org and consider how you can help them (see image below) - this charitable organization is transformative for cancer survivors - more on that in a few:
Photoshoot - 1940's Femme Fetale More below...
Those pictures up there are part of a transforming experience that I undertook just this week in New Jersey with a charitable organization called Beautiful Self. The two ladies who run this are a powerhouse. Michelle and Jillian were true angels - from when I walked in at 8:30am, I knew I was in for the time of my life.
A friend of mine had told me to sign up to take part in this and when I did I had been warned it would be a 6-8 month wait but something opened up and I was able to grab it and go this week instead of months from now. I am so lucky.
I had posted like twice on Instagram that I love the 1940's. Once in a story and once in a post. As soon as we got started on my hair and makeup, Jillian confided that I would be getting done up like a 1940's pin up model / movie star and I almost burst into tears. Me, I am not a crier but I was about to be hysterical. It was pre-make up so it was okay to weep!
It might sound corny, but the only way I can explain my day on Tuesday April 17 is to say that it introduced me to my pinup queen, dame, tough, fuck cancer persona.
I knew she was in there - I was writing about how tough I was before and about my golden girls and their tough love but here I was rocking it, smoldering before the cameras like this was my JOB. And who knows, after all of the confidence these pictures hit me with, I might push myself to become a covergirl. I half flat, slightly older, pouchy stomach with scoliosis and lots of body hair but LET'S GO! Anything is possible :). Consider this photo gallery up there my head shots and consider me your model for whatever - mastectomy clothes, underwear, bathing suits, fashion... (as you can tell, I am still on a high).
Something about the way I look in these pictures shows me who I really am.
Something about those 3 pictures captures my soul - something about who I am and what I am.
I know I am a survivor, a "fighter" - I also know I am lucky and hopeful that the conventional treatments PLUS clinical trial PLUS nutrition PLUS exercise PLUS weight loss PLUS "no stress" etc etc will keep working and keep me healthy.
I am a mom and a share-r at times, an oversharer. I walk around trying to think about others while also thinking about myself. More to come on how I want to do this on a larger scale for other people touched by cancer (hint it has something to do with my
#careeraftercancer Work Readiness for Cancer Survivors initiative.
These photos, though, make me look like a freaking movie star. Hey, why not. "I am ready for my close up Mr DeMille..."
This is what I do in the time between.
So the last post got me thinking about the link (if it exists) between childhood trauma and illness. I do NOT blame myself for getting sick - never have and never will. I know there is nothing I could have done differently or can do differently to have changed the fact that I got diagnosed with cancer at 39 years old.
All I can do is move forward with the confidence, the belief that I am “cured” - there is no other way to live or as I put it in my insta stories (why aren't you following me yet?):
I hate to blame parents for anything - I know there are some shite parents out there but really, I was not neglected or beaten or abused. I did however understand too much at too young of an age and really did believe it was my “job” to fix things - I wrote a little about my childhood here but the fact is that I was an adult in a little kid’s body from about 9 years old. I took responsibility for my brothers and also tried to help my parent’s marriage and more. I did not cook or clean, but everything else was on my shoulders.
When I think back of it, now having kids around that age who are going through something as traumatic in a way as I did watching my parents marriage crumble and moving around so much and not having a pot to piss in and blah blah blah - I realize that though things happened that were really bad, I did not keep the bad with me. As much as you can blame my future anxiety, cancer diagnosis, my old need for control, etc on my childhood, I refute it, I reject it.
Me & My Kiddos Right Before I Was DX - the last picture of us "pre-cancer"
Through the worst of times, during my childhood and young adulthood, I worried but I knew it would all work out. Or I deluded myself into thinking that. At times when things were darkest - when my grandparents who lived with us and cared for us after my mom left the family - seemed to be ready to give up because of issues with my dad - I still believed it would work out.
When my mom would call me crying because she did not have us with her but at the same time made no move to offer a safe environment, I still believed it would work out.
I wrote everything down, I spoke to a therapist until he tried to do something weird in my book - nothing illegal just WEIRD and then I kept my nose down and kept working, working, working, studying, helping my brothers, calming down the fights, listening to my dad rail about how my mom was a whore, listening to my mom crying about how lonely she was until she met someone new and then all was great….
So when I see my kids struggle at times with my illness and its aftermath, I think back about how I handled things when my world fell apart, multiple times. I just kept going and going and going and kept believing it would all be okay. I let the tragedies, the issues, the pity, the haters flow off my back like a duck with water off its back.
I rolled with things. I had my normalcy, my childhood sweetheart (who I did not marry) and their family who helped provide some stability and before I knew it, I was living in Italy getting my MBA and away from the chaos only to be hit with much, much worse when I came back and lost my grandma who held us all together. But still, I survived and I think about HOW - how did I do it and what can I push down to my kids to help them push through, too and you know avoid the cancer shit. So taking the good pieces and not the "delusion" or the "Type A" stuff...
I guess it would be called “resilience” or “internal fortitude” - the fact that I kept pushing and trying no matter how many times I failed (and continue to fail), witnessed failing and been failed is I guess because I am deep down to my core as positive as possible - maybe insanely so.
After 2 miscarriages, I got my son here by hook or by crook. After stage 3 cancer, I learned how to live. Unfortunately or fortunately so much of how I live and why I live has had to change. I already shared how I need to stop thinking in terms of my children and think about ME because otherwise, I will fall apart. I know that there are things they need that I can no longer provide them 100% - the safety, the stability - it is gone. I need them to find it deep down inside themselves as I did in 1986… and again, God willing, without the cancer.
This is what I do in the time between.
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