Finally posting again! Woohoo! I’ve started 3 other posts but the creative juices have not been flowing. It may have to do with working full time again and after staring at a computer screen all day, my mind is mush and my eyes need a break. So, I’m sorry to anyone who has been trying to check in to see what’s been going on!
It’s been a crazy 2 months to say the least. For instance, let me introduce our new babe Bumper! He’s an 8 year old cockapoo who loves carrots, long walks, chasing lizards and cuddling. I’m in love.
After a few months, I finally feel like I’ve gotten my groove back and am used to having a full schedule again but some days it is definitely overwhelming. How we find time to get everything done in only 24 hours a day is beyond me and I know there are A LOT of people who have so much more going on. I think part of the difficulty I’ve been having is attributed to my ‘vacation’ as Will would call it. I’ve always had a schedule (work, school, sports, etc.) so I never really had the free time that I did during treatment. I was counting down the days until I had a schedule and things to do again. Now, I’m carving out time in my week to do absolutely nothing… And it is glorious. Grass is always greener, am I right?!
Part of the stress I’ve been feeling is the undue pressure I put on myself to carpe diem or ‘YOLO’ it up. What can I do to make this life everything I’ve ever wanted it to be? Well unfortunately with bills to pay, I am not able to live my dream of being a stay at home puppy mommy (joking?), so I already feel like I’m selling myself short. Since I’m not able to fulfill that dream yet, I have decided to focus on a passion project.
Here’s the backstory: When one gets a cancer diagnosis, your world is literally turned upside down. Within minutes all plans, goals and dreams are put on the backburner. You fight for your life and can’t give up hope for one second. Most cancer patients will drain their savings and many go into debt. Some lose their jobs, homes and even spouses and friends. As if a cancer diagnosis isn’t bad enough, many don’t take into consideration everything else that comes with it, beyond just surviving. It also changes you as a person, mentally and physically. Going back to my old routine makes it so apparent that I am no longer the same. There will always be that line of pre- and post-cancer. I am hopeful that with time, the distinction will fade. Through all of the fundraising that was done for me, I had a free gym membership, free personal training, a month at a yoga studio, paddle boarding gift card and various restaurant gift cards to use after I got the OK from by doctor to resume normal activities. Having new things to try and positive, healthy activities to incorporate into my life has been amazing. It really has helped give me the strength and confidence that I had been lacking for so long. More importantly, it is helping me create and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle post-cancer which is so incredibly important to avoid a relapse. A quick internet search will give you a ton of articles on the topic.
Any person who has been through cancer knows their odds. I know that with the type of gene of AML that I had, I have a 30-40% chance of relapsing. In my heart, I really do not believe I will but how do you completely ignore the statistics? You don’t. Frankly, my statistics are great in the grand scheme of cancers. I have a type where cure is the goal. Very few can say that, unfortunately. Even knowing this, relapse is always in the back of my mind and if I were to relapse, would I be happy with how I have been living my life these last few months? My answer would be yes (I think) but I know there will always be the ‘should’ve, would’ve, could’ve’.
Since not many have the same resources I did, I have decided to do whatever I can to give people fighting that same opportunity. With the help and guidance of my amazing friends, I am so happy to announce that I have started a nonprofit, A Second Go, Inc. A Second Go will focus on the emotional toll on patients focusing on what happens after treatment is finished. As I mentioned above, it is incredibly difficult to transition back to ‘normal’ life, even with a ton of support. No one knows the highs and lows during this time, unless you have gone through it yourself. Avoiding relapse and maintaining your health is the main priority so we want to provide resources to improve one’s quality of life while minimizing stress. Even if at the very least we are able to make someone smile or get their mind off their situation for one day then we will be incredibly happy. Our goal is to raise money and have the local community donate services so we can give cancer patients whatever they need to improve their life once they get the go ahead. Whether it is therapy sessions, yoga, nutrition support, maid services, paddle boarding, spa treatments or a night out for dinner and a movie. Big dreams include sponsoring weekend getaways for fighters/survivors and their family.
I took a girls trip to Colorado Springs last month, being a mere 2 months in remission, and there I was hiking all day and enjoying the gorgeous weather with great company. I want others to have the chance to have a similar experience regardless of their financial situation.
Here is my call to action for my readers, friends, family: I am asking that you SAVE THE DATE November 25, 2015 for the kickoff event! The kickoff event will be the 2nd Annual Kickin it for Kelly benefiting A Second Go the day before Thanksgiving. It will be a happy hour with a 50/50 raffle, a few silent auction items and hopefully live music. We have not confirmed all the details but I will keep you posted with the progress! I have to say that I did get choked up on my way to work thinking how amazing it is that we are quickly approaching one year since my diagnosis and I’m able to be planning a kickoff party for a new nonprofit. Talk about how much can change in a year. Whew.
If you know of any businesses that would like to donate goods or services, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have filed for 501(c)3 status and should have the determination letter in the next week or so. I will update the blog with the link to our PayPal account this weekend so anyone who would like to donate can do so online.
I look forward to seeing my dreams become a reality! I’ll do a creativity rain dance tonight so my blog posts will become regular again. Thanks for all of your continued support over this last year!
Still kickin it,