Taking Back October

Dear October,

We need to have a chat.

tree

See, I used to love you. I really did, with your cool, crisp air and colorful, crunchy leaves. With your warm apple cider and big, friendly pumpkins. With the way you tore me out of the hot, humid summer and prepared me for the cold, grey winter ahead.

I used to love you, but, the problem is, we’ve been a little out of touch these past few years.

For the past three years you’ve presented me with major life challenges. Challenges that I was not yet ready to face. I know, I know. When are we ever truly prepared for life’s challenges?  But, You, October, liked to throw them at me in your month and your month alone.

You were there in 2010 when I attempted to have the lump in my breast removed. You were there when the surgeon told me he got it all out and that the biopsy was benign. You were there when we celebrated. You were there when the doctor told me he had made a mistake and didn’t actually get it at all. You were there when I cried.

You were there in 2011 when my father was attached to tubes in the ICU. You were there when the doctors told us that he had lung disease. You were there when they told us to be cautiously hopeful about his recovery. You were there when he died.

You were there in 2012 when my family returned to the cemetery to reflect on our loss at the unveiling ceremony. You were there when, in my father’s eulogy, my brother expressed that, “one of the hardest things I’ve had to do over the past year was to face the reality that my father was really gone.” You were there as I carried the weight of those words with me as well.

leaves

And, now, in 2013, you’re here again, October. You’re here, but we’re doing things a little differently this time around. We’re doing things differently because I refuse to let you represent sadness and loss anymore. I refuse to continue to dread your arrival. I refuse to ignore you like you’re not a real month. I want to love you again. I’m taking you back.

I’m taking you back because life is really too short to hate a month. Life is too short to spend 31 whole days wishing that time would speed up a little. To spend 31 whole days not fully living because you’re too distracted by the memories of the bad things that happened during that 31-day timeframe in years past.

I’m taking you back because I can’t control the past, but I can control how I think about it. I can look back on those periods of my life and feel strong because I survived. I can look back and feel the love and support that carried me through.

October, I entered you this year with a little less grief and a lot more hope. With an internal promise to overlook your flaws and absolve you of blame. With the realization that without you I wouldn’t be who I am today.

So, October, although we haven’t been the best of friends, I’m ready now to let you back in. I’m ready to take in your cool, crisp air and crunchy, colorful leaves. To think of you fondly when I sip warm apple cider or see a big, friendly pumpkin on a neighbor’s front porch. To say goodbye to summer and welcome you warmly as we transition into the cold, grey winter ahead.

leavesboots

I’m ready to take you back, October. Thank you for all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will be.

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Cautiously Hopeful

On Thursday the 20th, my father will have been in the hospital for a month.

It’s weird how the mind adapts to new routines. For the past month, I’ve been at the hospital nearly every day. The image of my father in a hospital bed with tons of wires attached to him is no longer shocking, it’s normal. The smell of the ICU is stuck in my nose.

My family and I have talked to more doctors and nurses than I can count. There are days when I can’t even remember what day it is.

The crazy thing is, it doesn’t look like this will be over anytime soon. My father is in critical condition, and is progressing very, very slowly. On Saturday, the doctors said it would be a “miracle” if he pulls through this. On Sunday, they seemed more optimistic. One doctor said that we should be “cautiously hopeful.” That all we can do is wait, and hope that he comes around.

So that’s what we’re doing: waiting and hoping.

River

On a completely unrelated note, I had an ultrasound yesterday.

In the middle of the test, the ultrasound tech actually asked, “this surgeon who did your biopsy last year, did he come highly recommended to you?”

Every doctor I’ve talked to seems completely baffled by what happened to me.

The ultrasound confirmed that the lump is still there- same size and everything. The doctor gave me two options:

I feel like I’m back in the exact same place as I was when I wrote this post. Since there’s nothing I can do about it, however, I chose the latter. This Friday, I will go in for the core needle biopsy. When I get the results from that, it’s likely that I’ll have to have another surgery.

At this point, even though I am scared about Friday, I am much more concerned with my father’s condition.

Please, please keep my father in your thoughts.

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