More Odds & Ends

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This post isn’t here to boast about myself, it’s more of an awareness of what I’ve accomplished while being sick.  Right before I was diagnosed I had decided to go back to school for social work because in September of 2014 I was diagnosed after years of struggling with anxiety and depression.  This was a really defining moment in my life because up until that point I was always so dependent on others to go out and enjoy things.  I was basing what I wanted to do on others.  I started going to therapy and was able to branch out by myself.

This ignited a passion behind mental illness.  I started volunteering at Orchard Place to be a mentor.  I am beyond grateful that I was able to do this.  I learned a lot about myself, how others succeed while suffering, and it reassured me that I was going into the right field.  When I started chemotherapy, I gave up the volunteer work to really focus on my health.  I wanted to get better in order to be able to continue on the path of social work.  I must confess, I haven’t been back because I haven’t been well enough.  It’s taken a great chunk of my time in order to battle this disease.  It’s so frustrating!

During my first round I read a book called “Cancer Schmancer” by Fran Drescher.  This book helped me more than you can imagine!  I remember growing up and watching “The Nanny” reruns and I loved Fran!  I had NO idea she fought ovarian cancer.  Her memoir was so beautifully written and it had the perfect balance of seriousness and hilariousness!  Maybe that’s why I’m able to talk about it so openly.  She showed how much of a human being she was.  She talks about being terrified, her doctor’s appointments, her relationship with her husband, her dating life, family life, etc.  It truly amazes me and I highly recommend it.  When you’re reading it you can just hear her words in her voice!

I was a full time student while receiving chemotherapy and radiation in my first round with cancer.  I never once gave up my student status.  I had some pretty amazing instructors at DMACC that worked with me when I needed it the most.  I maintained a really great GPA except my last semester at DMACC when I had to take statistics (haha…we all know how much I LOVED that class).

It wasn’t the first group of people to support and work with me.  There are so many of you out there that I can’t name you all.  It’s overwhelming how much support I got during treatment and even to this day I’m still feeling it.  I would not be where I am without the support of each and every one of you!

I worked as much as I could (when I wasn’t ill).  It was hard to face people the first time around.  People knew I wasn’t feeling good but didn’t know what I was going through.  The first round was something that I could hide because I got to keep my hair.  The second time around was a rude awakening.  I started losing my hair, then my eyebrows, and my eyelashes.  I was bald and when I couldn’t stand the cold I would wear headscarves, caps, etc.  I was drawing on my eyebrows…people could tell.  They would ask me and at first it was so hard to be open about.  I kept asking myself, “Why are you making this so hard on yourself?  Why are you so ashamed?”  That’s when it really hit me.  I should never feel ashamed for being ill.  I was fighting a deadly disease, what was there to be sorry for?  This was my chance to spread awareness.

I became a little bad-ass.  I kicked cancer’s ass once…I’ll do it again, right?  To be completely honest, I was terrified what was going to happen to me when the recurrence took place.  All I could think of was the people cancer already took from my life.  It hadn’t been kind, after all, my aunt had passed away just days before I was diagnosed the first time around.  That was a tough pill to swallow.  I kept thinking death was at my doorstep.  I kept seeing those magnificent red, sometimes brown birds and I knew everything was going to be alright.

It was the little victories like waking up and facing the same battle every single day mainly to prove to myself that I could do it that i’ll never forget.  It was the mental game I had to fight and figure out how to release so many emotions that kept building up time after time.  I feel so blessed to still be on this Earth, my work isn’t done.  I promised that to myself, the friends I have lost to the disease, and the big man upstairs looking over me.  I think this is it for tonight, thanks for reading guys!

XOXO,

Morgan

A Day in My Life

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Awaken from a restless sleep,

Force my body to get up.

The coffee is on,

Pills have been swallowed.

Hot shower water trying to wash away yesterday’s negativity.

Hope is released for a brand new day.

Broken

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Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.

Spent a better part of a year recovering from all the damage done to my fragile body and it’s still craving…more time. 

Heal.

I yearn to feel the love he once gave me. 
Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.

Kisses to the forehead, sneaking hugs from behind while cooking or cleaning….

Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.
The slight rejection of tried time getting us in our fortress, time to unwind, undress, and explore each other…

Heal faster.

Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.
Nights are spent crying myself to sleep, feeling unwanted and ashamed of the body I’ve been dealt.

Heal faster.

Please.

Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.
I don’t want to worry that cancer has destroyed everything we’ve built.

I never lost the feeling I had from the moment I saw you, and I don’t ever think I will.

But I can’t help feeling lately that..

Intimacy is nonexistent when you’re broken.

Cancer

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Another machine

Used for another test

Hoping for this one

To be the last.

They bring out a marker 

And brush it upon my skin

They also put a needle

With black ink for it to sink in

These markings are not a beginning 

To a will,

They are my battle wounds 

To show my journey from afar.

Strength comes in many forms 

Strong and mighty will forever be my roar.

Never, never giving up until

I…am…the winner. 

Love

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I can’t help but cry lately

It won’t turn off. 

I love him so much,

But does he feel the same?

There are days I just can’t tell

If he is just as happy 

Or just living in my little hell.

I just need to feel the love we had before…

The illness was diagnosed,

Before it took control of my body

And it brought me to my knees.

I love you, baby…

But do you love me?

I’m pleading that if the answer is yes,

Please tell me, tell me

For my anxiety is toxic and 

My depression is hiding around the corner

Ready to pounce in hopes I run out of air.

Suffocating me slowly to ensure the pain is surely felt. 

Heavy Lungs

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One more test down…It’s February 19, 2016.

One year has passed since I was last diagnosed.

Nerves from anticipation

Awkward jokes to fill the void. 

The Doc walks in, 

His sympathetic eyes glance towards me and they dart away just as quickly. 

He delivers the somber news, 

Cancer, again…

Everything goes quiet for a minute.

All I can see is the hurt in my father’s eyes. 

Blue seas of sadness and distress, but I’m thankful I wasn’t alone this time.

It isn’t what we wanted to hear.

Please tell me the results are all just lies.

Recurrence of cervical cells, heavy lungs,

a feeling of drowning in myself trying to find the answers to questions long unsettled.

A strong front, trying to remain emotionless, until we walk out the doors of the medical complex.

A sharp gasp for fresh air and tears come flooding out, I lose all control.

A dreaded feeling comes over me as I reach for my cell phone.

So many calls to make…my heart aches, 

It breaks.

When will this nightmare ever end?

Heavy lungs as I rendered up the courage to make the first call.

Line after line the sound of sadness and disappointment of loved ones overwhelms me. 

The all too familiar game of win or lose ignites the question:

Am I strong enough to survive a second time? 

Putting the Pieces Together

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You are all going to have to forgive me as there are bits and pieces that I left out as my memory hasn’t been the same since I’ve undergone chemotherapy.  Chemo brain is a real, unfair thing.

One thing I forgot to mention was the first round of cancer was a time where I needed to decide whether or not fertility was absolutely important to me.  I remember as a teenager I was so set on adoption.  I was scared of having my own kids, scared may be an understatement.  I was absolutely terrified!  I was stupid at that age too because I had unprotected sex a couple times…contradicts how I felt about getting pregnant, right?  I’m going to bleed my truth out to you little by little.  Honesty will help, especially to some of you scared to end up in the same situation.

The thing I didn’t realize was adoption could be my only option from now on.  Radiation does a number on your reproductive system especially when you have a woman specific cancer.  I didn’t know whether or not I was going to lose my reproductive system in this battle.  My oncologist referred me to the fertility clinic to see if it was something I was interested in doing.  Freezing my eggs could be beneficial in the future.

This visit was so overwhelming and terrifying.  I went by myself (dumb idea).  I filled out paperwork to receive more information about financial help from LIVESTRONG.  I got the information along with a yellow bracelet which I wore through my treatments.  I did not go through with freezing my eggs because I did not want to give myself multiple injections each day and the time frame between then and chemo was not long enough.  I just wanted the cancer to be gone.

There are days where I’m absolutely sad that I may never be able to have my own children and then I face the facts…what if I never want to have children?  And to me, that’s okay too.  Children are not a necessity to a happy life.

Another aspect that really bugged me was trying to plan a future with my loved one and there was a fear that I wouldn’t be there.  I must say there is a lot of guilt behind loving someone so much, wanting marriage and a long life together yet you can’t promise that you’ll be here for them.  I have to stress this, as I have learned, WE ARE NEVER GUARANTEED A TOMORROW.  It is true.  I have seen what a couple of my classmates have endured with their relationships.  They had a great future planned out and in a blink of an eye their futures were taken from them.  I respect and admire these two women as they have been through hell and back more than once.  Just know that God has a plan, a wonderful, beautiful plan for the both of you, Mandi and Trish.  You are resilient women!

My relationship failed because we couldn’t communicate correctly.  Where we both loved each other dearly, we couldn’t make it work and it’s okay.  I would much rather have him in my life as a friend than not at all.  Steven, you were there for me when I needed someone the most.  I can’t thank you enough for sticking by my side.  I wish the best for your future and hope someone will love you just as much as I do.  You are such a talented, smart, and handsome man.  Even if you don’t read this, I hope someone tells you what I wrote about you.  I am so happy that you branched back out into poetry scene.  You WILL succeed and I believe that with all my heart!

I will continue to write as I feel and I hope you all keep with me, leave me feedback, questions, etc.  I need to stay connected.  So much love to my readers!  I’m staying strong and moving forward one step at a time.

(Photo by me).