I find myself starting off the New Year at 5:30 am, set up in bed with my computer, Bombay Bicycle Club in my headphones, and a hot cup of chai tea. This is noteworthy because every other day for as long as I can remember I’ve had coffee. I love coffee but I’m trying to live cleaner and healthier now, so tea it is. That’s worth something. Any change, however small and if intended with a positive mindset, can lead to great things.
So 2014 was my Year Of No Fear. Pshhhhtt yeah right. It was one of the most terrifying years of my life. Right up there with 2004 when we learned my infant son would require open heart surgery for a heart defect when he was 3 months old. 2007 started off with my one month old daughter in the Children’s Hospital for two weeks with what was eventually diagnosed as idiopathic cardio myopathy. We thought we were going to lose her for awhile there. I seem to have babies with broken hearts, although mercifully they are both mended now. 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time, 2014 for the second. These are not years that can be put aside as quiet or comfortable. They were years of emotional upheaval; when my true character was tested and tried. I thought because of these experiences I knew myself. I knew how I could handle stress and difficulty, I knew I was strong.
But this time through cancer treatment has been more trying than my last. It’s right up there with the years I thought I might lose my children. This time it’s really hard.
In 2014 I separated from my husband of 13 years and moved to a nearby town to my own cozy little house. It has been a difficult transition for everyone involved and has resulted in the paring down of several friends and the making of some new ones. I’ve lost my old support group and am doing this whole chemo thing largely by myself. That is certainly something that will test my true character and I find that I’m not as strong as I thought. In fact, I realize that in the past years it wasn’t me being strong at all. It was me with the support of friends and family helping me. It was calls and texts, messages and visits. It was a surprise bouquet of flowers from a friend or a hot meal dropped off for my family. It was the people in my life that made it all so much easier to cope. They had my back.
Now I really feel I’m facing this head on by myself. With the help of only a handful of close friends I am attempting to defeat a cancer I am terrified will kill me as well as start a music career in my early 40s. Each of those things on it’s own is an uphill battle to say the least. I have two monstrous hurdles to overcome, mostly on my own. So. Chai tea. Little changes. Simple subtle moves to make my life a better place. Small things to bring a smile to my face. Start small and work up to the big stuff.
I’ll admit: I’m scared to make some of the changes I need to make in myself. I’m frightened of each and every chemo treatment. I’m terrified my life won’t be long enough to do everything I want to do. And I want to do a lot. Oh my god the things I want to do! You should see them, they’re super exciting! I just can’t die before then, oh man that would blow. Totally, totally blow.
So this may be another year of terror for the books. Full of big obstacles that will test me and perhaps, at times, find me lacking. Maybe this year instead of goading fate with my declaration of “The Year Of No Fear” and statements of “Bring It On”, I will opt more for an attitude of temperance. A year of gentle self discovery. A year of patience, endurance, and quiet resolve. A year of new music, new friends, my beautiful children, my growing collection of adopted animals, new musicians to work with and inspiration all over the place. This will be a year of growth, except for the cancer cells. They can all die a horrible death. I hate them you know.
This is The Year Of Amy