Thursday, July 12, 2018

Four Musketeers

I bet you're wondering why I've been alluding to; what could this girl possibly know about life's ups and downs. And in some ways you'd be right. My parents were happily married for almost 31 years, I went to good schools, and I was even raised on a cul-de-sac. Two working parents happily married with two daughters living in a quiet neighborhood; it was the four of us against the world. I played sports, learned musical instruments, went to church every time the door were open practically. Pretty idyllic right sounds like something out of a country song. Things changed when I was 8, my dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Between 1997 and 2009, my father battled Non- Hodgkin's Lymphoma three times as single instances and chronic Non - Hodgkin's Lymphoma for about four years.

Being 8, my parents protected me from a lot and I think my sister did too. (I want to be clear: I am only talking about my perspectives, experiences, and story. Not my mom's or my sister's or anyone else's. That's their story to tell to whom they choose. This is how things happened to the best of my recollection and affected me.) I have maybe two memories from that time: a family friend bringing us baked ziti for dinner one night and a peculiar memory of watching my dad stumble between his bedroom and the bathroom. It's like he was having trouble walking or something. He was probably tired after chemotherapy. No matter how much they protected me I did know one thing: something big and bad was coming for my family. That's what I felt. I was never scared of the boogeyman or the monster under the bed as a kid but I was scared of this thing I didn't understand that made things different somehow. My dad beat the cancer and we had another normal four years and then he had the cancer came back. And this time I had more of an idea of what was going on; it wasn't good and something was threatening to take my daddy away from me. I was scared and the world wasn't always so sunny anymore. So this was the first *sharp left turn* that happens in life. When I was finishing up sixth grade and summer was starting, my dad's cancer came back and now I was more aware of what was going on. Things only got scarier for me when my dad was hospitalized that summer for a particularly bad form of pneumonia. He fought his way back but for a little kid who was watching and listening; I had no idea how to make sense what was happening and all I wanted was for things to go back to normal. But I think I knew then that things would never be exactly "normal" again.

So here's my first honest recollection of life's sharp left turns. Part of the reason for this blog is to shine a light on the topics no one talks about and somehow become secrets. Life is full of good and bad and focusing only on the good doesn't mean that the bad didn't happen or the other way around. I'm who I am today is a result of sharp left turns and blessings; but I have to own both parts of myself to really be me. And maybe in sharing parts of my story helps me do that and maybe I'll find out I'm not so different from all of you out there. And maybe we aren't so alone.

I'm sure I'll tell you more of my story but I hope this was a good place to start.

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