The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
“Follow your heart.” “You only live once.” “If it feels good, do it.”
And my personal favorite…
“Sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right.”
Honestly, if I see, hear, or read another meme about this complete nonsense I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw-up in my mouth. And then projectile spew green goo, Linda Blair style. I’m expecting high marks if I can actually make my head spin around 360 degrees too, so please, have your scorecards ready.
I started following my feelings three years ago. I chose to ignore the little voice that was warning me not to go down that road a third time. I was in a different place. I was living wide open. I could only see the good in people. I was a believer of all those ridiculous memes you see people posting on Facebook and Pinterest. Hey, if it makes you feel good, do it, right?
But please, don’t feel the need to share with me anymore. My heart has become dark and immune to such tactics.
For eight years, I have been living with a debilitating and incurable disease known as Graves Disease (that’s a whole different blog for another time) and it’s a full time job. It also allows for other things to go wrong. Which they have. So, three years ago, when I made the worst decision of my life, I couldn’t have predicted just how terrible the ride would be for me current day.
A year ago (yesterday) the curtain dropped and the darkness moved in. I did everything right to fight back against it. I went to counseling. I read, posted and subscribed 100% to those hopeless memes. I went to church every single week; sometimes three times a week. When I could help someone, I did. I made plans to move again. I took small risks that I thought would produce a positive and successful outcome.
They did. And then…they didn’t.
Just when I thought I could see a light, a glimmer of hope that my decisions and risks were starting to pay off, feeling as everything was finally going right and I would settle down and find happiness, September arrived and with it a week long date with doctor after doctor after doctor.
Unfortunately, there was not good news….
In fact, the news required me taking a last minute trip back north for further testing. Just to be sure. Because one of the results came back positive. And then the confirmation. Cervical cancer.
In November, the week of Thanksgiving, the procedure to remove the lower half of my uterus was scheduled. Two week recovery time. So, it probably wasn’t very smart to go run a 5k Turkey trot four days post procedure, but hey, that’s how I roll.
Nothing can stop me.
Not Graves Disease. Not thyroid cancer. Not cervical cancer.
Not the complete destruction of my dreams…
These were just all pesky little buggers poking me, testing my strength.
But, when I returned home, things continued to get worse. I was falling behind on my bills. I constantly worried about my health and my future. The holidays were coming. And the memories. Those awful memories.
I started falling down the emotional rabbit hole. Only it wasn’t all Alice in Wonderland. There were no drugs to make the journey cool and psychedelic, just the daily meds I take for survival. The sadness, the fear, the anxiety was suffocating me.
I became afraid of making decisions. Planning. Taking risks. What if I’m wrong? What if I lose what very little I have left? What if? What if? What if?
Then, I spent Christmas and New Year with an awesome lady. She knew I was hurting. She knew what that felt like. So she flew me to her for nine days. She didn’t sugarcoat anything. When we talked, she gave it to me with respect. Laid it out in black and white. I was so grateful for that. I was ready to pull my Big Girl panties up and punch 2016 in the face. Together, we had come up with a plan. I was going to take risks. I was going to succeed. I was going to believe that there were good things out there just waiting for me to grab them.
But when I got home, my car broke down on the side of a major highway. Bad timing. The Big Girl panties were gone. It was two days in to 2016 and already I was getting bitch-slapped. If I didn’t have my dog with me, I truly would have opened my car door and walked out on that five lane highway. Goodnight. Goodbye.
Instead. I cried like there was no tomorrow, on the side of a highway, feeling alone and scared. Then, with the help of my friend and my Dad, I got the car towed and repaired.
And returned to start.
Believing this was my year and good things were coming. I got this! I pulled up my Big Girl panties so high that I’m pretty sure I had the worlds worst camel toe.
I had interviews set up. I was following the plan. Dealing with one fire at a time.
There was still fear. Still anxiety. But there was something new. Hope. Just a little bit of hope and my friend beside me. And it felt kind of good.
Then, I got great news. I was notified that I had been selected for a spot on the Pearl Izumi Women’s Cycling Champions Team. I couldn’t believe it! I never thought my application would be selected from the thousands that they received. But they chose me! What a great opportunity!
Could it be? Things were seriously starting to look up? Phew!
But if there’s anything I have learned on this journey in the last three years, is that when something good happens, that means something equally bad is sure to come.
And it did.
My car broke down again. Just two days before I was to go to the meeting of a lifetime. Four hours away. Really. I can’t make this up.
With the help of another amazing friend and her family, we came up with a plan to get my car to the shop and me to the meeting. Things were going to be okay.
Just breathe Jen. Just breathe.
But the other shoe was waiting to drop. The shop called and the news was not good. My faithful steed was broken. Just like me. The cost to fix it, almost 1800$. Money that does not exist in my pocket these days.
I have lost everything, over the course of the last three years. My home. My wonder. My positivity. My personal belongings. Myself.
Because of one decision.
This journey, it’s not been a good one. This life, it hasn’t been good to me. I wanted to believe so desperately that there was a happy ending for me. Now, I wait for the end.
I don’t feel anything anymore. Not happiness. Not anger. Not hope. Not desire. Not joy. Not excitement.
When life kicks you in the teeth over and over and over, eventually, you just don’t get up. I’ve been through enough now. I’m tired. Plain exhausted.
I just exist. Each day the same as the last. I get up, go to work. Go through the motions. Go to bed. Repeat.
I cannot follow my feelings anymore, because I don’t have any. I cannot trust my heart. Because it’s hurt me too many times.
Please don’t be upset with me, because I’ve disconnected from you my friends. I’ve done so to protect you. Because I love you.
Will I ever find my way back?
I don’t know….and frankly, I just don’t care.
Until next time.