Saturday, December 30, 2017

How was 2017? (my personal view)

As the year winds down there is a flurry of "how was your year" posts. Some point to a blog post. Some ramble in the new expanded twitter. Some are probably on Facebook and I'll never know (I am not!). There are all types: the average, the "hated it" but hope for a better next year, the "wow I did that!", and everything in between.

My favorite has been a very upbeat twitter thread:

I stayed out of that thread. The work related accomplishments were good but business as usual and for the personal side I fall more in the started ugly but got better as the year went on category. My personal year in review also makes a solid case for having health insurance and access to great health care (and those are two different things despite what DC and the news might make one think!)

Sidebar: I am a fan of women's basketball and have been since growing up in eastern TN. I was a band geek supporting players who went on (eventually) to the WNBA. While working on my master's degree I found a new team to love. I even had the opportunity to represent SILS as an honorary coach for a game and am now a dedicated season ticket holder. I spent a year taking photos and maintaining the web page and weekly newsletter of the fan club, Team Tempo. I ended up the 2010 volunteer of the year for that fun.

I finished last year reading Coach Hatchell's book Fight! Fight!: Discovering Your Inner Strength When Blindsided by Life. about her winning fight against cancer.  It was inspiring and my health struggles are (still) nothing in comparison. They center mostly around not enough exercise and too much stress eating and social drinking. I had just buried one feline companion and was nursing the other through old age ailments but I still had that Jan motivation to do better this year.

And then...

Feb: (at Dr annual visit...) "it is probably nothing... lets get an ultrasound"
Mar: "Its still probably nothing. 90% are benign but lets get a biopsy"
Apr: (while at the vet) "Suspicious" "surgeon" "Cancer Center" "appointment" blah blah blur.

Somewhere between scheduling the biopsy and the results I was at the Hatchell Radio Show and had her sign my copy of her book. I couldn't help wondering how she really felt hearing those words. I was still at the probably nothing stage and my head was buzzing.

The other really interesting thing that I did not completely realize until after the surgery... for the last couple of months, my cat had been annoying me with her paw pressing on my throat. It was uncomfortable. I would move her, she would return to that spot. She stopped the day I had the biopsy. And after the surgery (and enough healing) when I realized swallowing was easier, I also realized that the paw there had hurt because of the nodule.  She knew? I believe.

In May things got MUCH better.
The surgery went well from the surgeon's view. Everything was benign. I still have the other half of my thyroid. So far it is working well enough I don't even need any drugs to help it work right.

It took me a while to get over the anesthesia (I don't react well to chemicals) and for my body to adjust to half a thyroid. At least it was summer so I was able to stay warm. I slept through a lot of it.

I own the company I work for, so of course my company was supportive. But so were my clients. The part time gig I was working on just got stretched out a bit more. Shorter weeks and more of them but less gaps away teaching. I had to cancel one teaching week and hold off scheduling some others but once I knew I was good, we worked out the scheduling. The year ended up being one of the best for my company.

The year also ends upbeat for a friend of the family also being declared cancer free (after chemo and surgery). She must have told Mom around the time I was having the biopsy. Mom didn't tell me until after the surgery.

So my accomplishments?
- surviving (medically)
- surviving (financially)
- remembering what is important: in life, in work, in friends, in family, in faith.

Overall, and despite the empty house and current pain from cold induced asthma, I am ending the year more calm than I ever remember. And more content with myself and my life.

-SML (Go Heels!)

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