Annual ABC’s of Gratitude- 2021 Edition

Grateful for these turkeys, for sure ❤️

A little late but still grate-ful! Yesterday got away from me and while I planned to post the annual ABC’s of gratitude on Thanksgiving as per usual, I – well, I just didn’t. Life, ehh?

Wait, what’s are the ABC’s of gratitude, you ask? It’s a spin off of a game I play with myself when I’m anxious, bored, trying to fall asleep, etc. and I first talked about it on here back when I had my breast biopsy 5 years ago. I was pregnant, scared and trying to stay calm while a big ass needle was entering my big ass boob. Silently crying, I was listing foods that began with each letter of the alphabet to cope.

I still make these lists quite often in my head, mostly at night time because insomnia is a bitch. And when it comes time to create my annual list for Thanksgiving, I love to to look back and see what’ changed, what’s similar and what is the same… fricking word. for. word. Check it: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Quick reminder, these are things I am truly grateful for, no matter how big or small they may seem. And since it’s my game, I make the rules. XOXO!

A- Aging and Audiobooks

B- Birdie Watching

C- Coffee and My Chiropractor

D- Dark Humor and Doggies

E- Epsom Salt Baths

F- Family, Friends and Folk Tales (triple score)

G- Giggle Juice (Champagne) and Gary the Gecko

H- My Health and Heating Pads

I- My Incredibly Adorable Children

J- The Johnster

K- Kindness

L- Live Crystal Sales

M- The Moon

N- Neighbors Who Feel Like Fam

O- Online Ordering and Drive Up Pick Up

P- Planty Plants

Q- Quiet Time

R- Roscoe

S- Sweatpants and Spooky Shit

T- Time Outs for Mom

U- My Unicorn Hairs (Gray Hair)

V- Vaccines

W- Working From Home

X- XOXO’s

Y- YouTube Tutorials For All The Things

Z- Zit Patches and Zoloft

What’s on your list these days?

6 Month Follow Up

Daaaaang, it’s been a while. THANKFULLY – because that means there hasn’t been anything to report.

I had my 6 month oncology follow up this last Thursday. As my oncologist walked in, I could see her smiling behind the mask and glasses and could hear her joyful tone as she said hello and announced ‘This is the year!’ Yes, this is the year- as August will mark 5 years since my diagnosis, a major milestone for my type of cancer!

The appointment went really well, her excitement was contagious. My physical exam proved to look and feel good, my weight has stopped fluctuating, and {for once} I didn’t have a million paranoid questions to shoot off. She ran extensive blood work and all was normal except for high cholesterol (damnit) which means I really need to start monitoring what I’m eating. Turns out tortillas and butter are not the healthiest of meals, who knew 😜

As she left the room, we snapped a pic. Afterwards, I laughed commenting on why I called out smile underneath the massive face masks and her answer was perf: “Smile behind the mask, you can see the joy in the eyes!” 😍

Another New Normal

Last night, while cleaning up the kitchen after what felt like our 1,789th home cooked meal of the quarantine, I managed to Captain America myself in the forehead with a massive pot lid while putting it away in a high cupboard. Oh, what exactly is Captain America’ing? It’s when something shaped like Cap’s shield goes hurling through the air only to take down the bad guy. I was the bad guy. Maybe it was the Universe telling me to stop being such a massive bitch over little things. Maybe not. Whatever it was, I tasted blood- you know what I’m talking about- that weird smell/taste thing that happens when you get hit in the face… and I was screaming.

So, there I was, sobbing like a child and immediately started dropping F bombs and hollering for John. My initial thought was “if this needs stitches, fuck it- I am not going to the hospital”. My second thought was “I am so grateful for a partner who does 99% of the cooking and clean up after meals otherwise, how many more times would this happen to me?!”

John finally managed to calm me down and set me up with an ice pack while he finished putting one kid in time out and bathing the other. This “break” gave me time to think…. What the hell is this global “New Normal” {NN} we are about to enter? Deep right? It may have been the head trauma. Or it may have been the fact that those were the first real tears I remember crying for a VERY LONG TIME and I was allowing my emotions leak out. Either way- I have no answers. My guess is it will be like every other NN I’ve cannonballed into- live and learn, try to make the best educated decisions and try to be kind to myself and others as we wade through shit together for a while.

And as we head back out into the world to how things ‘were before’, I’m reminded of those cannonballs mentioned above: Like how I felt after my mom died- I had no clue how life would go on without her. It went on differently, but it went on. Or after my dad died- still life continued- differently, but continued. Or after my C diagnosis- I honestly questioned IF it would go on but HEY {thankfully}, I’m still here. Or after choosing to remain flat in a world which repeatedly told me I would ‘feel less of a woman without breasts’. Guess what- it went on. #FlatAsFuck. My life continues on, just differently from NN to NN.

After all of these plot twists, I always felt I was re-entering a world where I was expected to be back to “normal”. But what the fuck does that even mean?! And here we go again- but this time, there is a huge difference. We are all going to be navigating a NN- TOGETHER. There will for sure be emotions that come up now and down the line. And I mean, like, waaaay down the line. Trust me- it happens. Like how sometimes I see a pregnant woman and instantly feel a wave of pent up emotions consume me… Another post for another day… And what will we do with all of these feelings we have accumulated? How will be process them? Will we process them? Or shove them to the back burner to deal with at a later time? AKA during a total mental breakdown at probably the most inopportune time?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I tend to live most of my life in a constant state of anxiety. {Not just during quarantine but BC (before Covid + before cancer) too} And most likely, this won’t change in the NN. So my transition will include sitting with my feelings and giving myself time to process what I can and remembering to breathe. But, as if a fucking pandemic wasn’t enough for my already well developed anxiety, the pressure I’ve been feeling to make “good use” of my quarantine-time might make my transition to a NN a bit more complex. I mean, does anyone else feel like they need to emerge from their chrysalis with rock hard abs, a banging booty, a business plan, and Pinterest worthy recipes and kid crafts. SURPRISE- NOT HAPPENING OVER HERE. But I have definitely felt the push to “be a better me”. [eye roll]

So, while working from home and trying to keep my kids’ brains from turning into mush- I have been focusing on:

Resting– LIKE NOT DOING ALL THE THINGS.

Reflection– Processing I feel, how I’ve been feeling, how I’ve acted, how I’ve helped, what can I do.

Healing– This one’s a doozy but working through the hard stuff and giving myself space helps.

Prioritizing– What/Who REALLY needs my attention in the moment.

If abs, booty, business plans and Pinterest skills are your thing and a way for you to harness anxiety and give you a sense of control, YES! Do those things! And try continue to do those things as they are probably a form of self care (as long as they make you happy and fill your cup). And because we all have different ways to fill our cups.

And if anything, I hope that majority of us come out of quarantine remembering to give ourselves and others a break and to BE KIND. None of this is easy and I truly think that most people are doing the best they can.

Be kind, Be patient, Do good

Attempting to ease the puffiness from my sobs. That cut looks tiny, but DAMN it hurts.