Can All This Be for Real?

6.27.17

And the count down begins… Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…, June 30… and poof, my 30+ year career as a College Counselor is over… poof, done, gone, over… next chapter…

My head is so full of thoughts, my mind is overwhelmed with too many emotions to process. What happened to my life? How did I get cancer? When did I get cancer? How can all this craziness really be happening. Who am I? What has become of my life? … Myeloma has become my life, stealing my life, reinventing my life…

So many events, so much of my life, so much me… here…
“Happy Retirement Julie”!!! so many exclaim and wish me. I smile, yet cringe inside. No this is not a “happy” retirement. This is not a retirement by choice. This is not a retirement wrapped up with a pretty bow of final accomplishments and satisfied chapters of completion. This is not a retirement of heading off on “bucket list” vacations. This is a “disability” retirement. An illness retirement. A medically “forced” retirement. This is not “my choice”. This is cancer and treatments making the choice for me. This is a cancer caused retirement.
I’ve had a wonderful life. A wonderfully rewarding career as a College Counselor. It was my “calling”. My nature is to help others realize and pursue their dreams and goals. I’m an intuitive helper. A natural analyzer. A great brainstormer. A realistic dreamer, opening pathways for others to dream their dreams and follow their goals. This is my passion. I love seeing the excitement of students discovering their talents, skills, abilities and confidence. I love helping others pursue their passions. I love researching pathways and options. I love the journey with students. Their journey of self discovery, self awareness. I’m all about the “what if”, “why not”, “try it out”, “go for it”… 
And then cancer edited me. Cancer stopped me cold in my tracks. Well tried to. I didn’t really “absorb” the seriousness of my diagnosis 12.30.2009. January 2010, I shared my status with my colleagues, made some work schedule changes, and cautioned everyone about my “compromised immune system”, and carried on as “Counselor Julie”, on chemo, on steroids, with crazy side effects, continuing to see students, at both campus offices! Until my July 2010 Stem Cell Transplant. That woke me up. Oooppss, guess I am a “sickie”. Wow, guess I do have a serious, incurable, terminal cancer called myeloma…   
I tried so hard to be me. To return to “normal”, all the while mouthing the words, “this is my new normal”. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.. I kept thinking “things would change”, I’ll magically be better. Myeloma doesn’t stand a chance with me… push it down, push it away… treat, treat, treat. This chemo, that chemo. These steroids, those steroids. More chemo, more treatments. More chemo. Chemo cocktails. Injections. Immunotherapy. New options. Running out of options… Numbers up. Numbers down. Numbers up, up, up and away. I’m beat up. I’m exhausted. Myeloma owns me. I have to accept…I’m a cancer patient, in continuous treatment. I have to accept…

 
Goodbye sweet (new) office I hardly used…
To Be Continued…. 
Live happy,
live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something
as often as you can