Well, the end of 2016 brought with it a lot of heartache and confusion in my little corner of the world. My oldest cat passed away, I learnt that I have a high chance of cervical cancer and I feel like I'm stuck in a rut at work because I've been on the night shift for seven years whilst new people have been hired on for the day shift. I know life is filled with challenges, but on top of all that, it's the new year and I'm nursing a cold. I don't wanna adult anymore... :(
My oldest cat, Gemini would have been seventeen in December. She passed away at the beginning of October, and though it broke my heart to let her go, it was a relief because she had been struggling for the last six months with diarrhea... She also suffered from hyperthyroid so I am very thankful that she lived as long as she did after that diagnoses a few years back. You can read more about her and my other kitties in THIS post. I know to many people a cat is just a cat. But Gemini was my best friend for almost two decades. She was my staple. So long as she was around with her loving purrs I was home. It's been a strange transition without her. But she had a wonderful, long and happy life with me. And, she lives on in so many ways around my house I am reminded of her every day. It's still never easy to say goodbye to those you love. Animal or human. Because they're family.
I haven't discussed this on the blog in the passed, mainly because I didn't want to make it an issue, but for a while now, my doctors have been monitoring abnormal cells on my cervix. I've had repeat paps every six to eight months for at least seven years. For the longest time, the results came back showing abnormal or normal cells. Back and forth. Abnormal. Normal. Repeat.
A few years ago, I had two paps result in normal (back to back) so I didn't have to have a pap for another year, which was when those damn abnormal cells showed up again! And, in December my latest pap showed that the cells have progressed to a high grade risk for cancer. As my family doctor explained to me what was going on, I recall staring blankly at her, feeling my heart sink into oblivion, desperately trying not to cry. She tried to console me with what could be the second worst phrase I've ever been told. "Don't worry, it's not cancer yet..."
It's so very frustrating because I've got my depression under control. I've got my chronic pain under control. I'm getting a third opinion regarding my sleep struggles. Why this? Why now?!! I was on top of the world for the majority of 2016. I didn't let things get me down so quickly. I was handling the loss of my cat like a champ. I was even convincing myself to ask my boss to consider me the next time a day position opens up, hopefully. Now, I may have to battle cancer too?! WTF, this is so not fair. For a girl whose been focused on the natural side of things for a dozen years, why do I have to deal with that dreaded disease? I've got enough health issues on my plate, thank you!
Overall, it's not the end of the world. Odds are, I will survive it. And, I will likely be able to have kids too. The positive side is that my doctors have been doing their job and keeping an eye on those cells. And, I am grateful for their effort. So, we're gonna stop it before it becomes problematic. I also have tons of love and support from friends and family members who reassure me that cervical cancer is actually quite common and curable. I'm personally just tired of being poked and prodded down there and living in this trying not to think about it head space. I suspect they will take another biopsy, as well as potential other procedures to determine the risk and remove the cells. I meet with the gynecologist this week, so my plan of attack is under way.
To any women out there who are going through something similar, or who have been fighting cancer yourselves, please understand that I am just venting in this post and the information I'm sharing is simply my own experience, or advice I've been given. When I meditate/pray on this issue I also send out healing vibes to others who need it. So, please know that we've got this! Leave a comment to let me know your strategies... To any women out there who haven't had a pap in a reasonable time, I urge you to call and set an appointment today! Prevention is the best medicine. So, stay on top of your health and advocate for yourselves.
I want you to know that even though I don't know you, I love you, all of you, and I want you to be your best, healthiest self for a long time to come. When life gets you down and you feel like you can't push any harder, and giving up seems like the easy choice, just remember the people who love and need you in their lives. That is what I do to keep my chin up and fight the daily battle of living well.
As for my work schedule, that's a catch-twenty-two. I was looking for a day job many years ago. I used to waitress at bars so I was on a very late schedule for some time. Since moving to an office environment, my life has changed drastically for the better. My health issues are sorting themselves out because I have health benefits and prescription coverage. I accepted my current role five years ago so I work for the other branches across Canada. The branch I work out of is the only 24/7 office. I didn't want to seem ungrateful and ask for a day position after being offered an independent role that made me feel important and purposeful. So, I've stuck it out and embraced my position with a feeling of achievement.
However, five years later, and now that I'm in my late thirties my biggest dream is to go to bed with the moon and wake up with the sun. People always give me grief over my sleep schedule saying I should just wake up earlier and try to have a life before work. I used to struggle and hate myself every day because I'd try to create the habit of getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. But I'd fail. Almost every time. And, so I'd be upset with myself for not accomplishing simple tasks or giving myself creative time. My brain wants to play and create after work. After I've done what I have to do, that's when inspiration kicks in and I can do what I want to do! Besides, it's impossible to make a consistent lifestyle of waking up for yourself when you live with depression and anxiety. I put work first and sleep around my work schedule because that's how I work best. I can't explain it. It just is what it is.
I want to work during the day so I can have more time to spend with my loved ones. I want to work during the day so I can sell my brand and essential oils in the evening when others are available. I only have time for others during the weekends and it's exhausting to try to fit everyone in over those two days. I love my job. I am grateful for my job. But, my health needs me to stop working during the evening and create normal sleep patterns. I'm tired of being isolated and alone, then feeling foreign when I'm around people because I'm not used to being social anymore.
Sometimes, I'd love to watch someone who works 9-5 try and go to bed shortly after they get home and then wake up at 3am to start their day. So many people tell me I'm crazy. They say that to sleep so late means the day has gotten away from them. Well, that's the difference between you and me. Or, me and them. I don't look at the day based on sunlight. I look at the day based on when I wake up and when I should go to sleep. And, I try to be productive in that time. I base the day on my natural circadian rhythm, which is just backwards because I've worked the late shift for about fifteen years. I am ready to reset it. And, I'm wishing and praying every single day that the opportunity opens up for me to switch to the morning shift and become a day walker again. That would be like winning the lottery for me. Whoop!
Thanks for listening,
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