Friday, December 14, 2007

incredibly awesome or incredibly stupid: You decide.

I'm going to go with incredibly awesome. As in, I am. It has been a sort of nutty week for me, by which I mean emotional. I had my one-year anniversary; I had a minor breakdown; I realized I needed to get over myself and move on. I have been upset at myself for not doing as well as I had wanted this past semester. I think I have pulled solid B's, which is not bad, but it isn't as well as I have done in the past. But after talking to my mom and a few of my professors, as well as having a conversation with myself, I realized I need to stop comparing who I am to who I was. It was a wholly unrealistic expectation to think I could just come back to school and pick right back up again. I have never gotten straight A's (except once, the highlight of my high school career). How could I have expected to have done it this semester, of all semesters? So I realized I am unhappy because I am being too hard on myself. I expect so much from myself that I am disappointed when it doesn't all happen, and I fail to see everything that I have accomplished.

I have been through the metaphoric ringer this past year. For one year, I have not had any break from anything. Cancer, cancer, school, school plus cancer, none of it has been easy. I think it is safe to say that it was, in fact, hard. Yet here I am.

So I have decided to let go of the person I was one year ago. I changed my appearance, and now I am changing my attitude. I am now a redhead. I am working on my confidence in myself - who I am right now, not who I wish I was. I can't wait for this coming winter break. It will be my first real vacation in one year, which I so badly need. I am getting pumped for next semester. 3/4 of my best friends are leaving Boston, but I know they will all be doing wonderful things in places like London, Beijing, Los Angeles, and beyond. I wish them only the best of luck and good times. As sad as I am that they are leaving, it will, hopefully, finally be the catalyst to get me out and about. I'm planning to start dancing again, I'm taking a tennis course, and who knows what else I'll find to do. It will be good.

Aside: why I'm awesome/stupid - I ran yesterday. Not incredibly exciting in and of itself, but the fun fact is that I had a bone-marrow biopsy the day before. Hoorah for pushing my body to its limit! Also cause for celebration, my marrow is still clean and cancer-free. Double hoorah. I really love being healthy.

This semester is finally over. I have an exam on Saturday and one more on Monday (corrected. Thanks Dave), and then I am finished. I rocked it, and you had better believe I will continue to rock. Thank you to everyone who had faith in me, even though I have struggled to have faith in myself. Keep on keeping on; I think of you all often. Peace.

10 comments:

Megan said...

you're up early

"haircut" does not mean the same thing as "haircut + dye job." your text messages suffer from a lack of journalistic integrity this semester! work on that, bridges (sp?).

I still haven't written that paper yet and I'm in packing hell, but if you find yourself on east campus again after 6PM today, give me a call, I should be in my room just because I have so much to do.

Dave Lewis said...

Actually, your exam's on Monday, but your larger points remain valid. :-)

Jessica said...

I'm glad you've converted to redheadism, haha you are a viking now in every way! muahahaha....we wants the redhead.
maybe you need one of those badass horn hats and a spear/shield/thing.

luce said...

Caroline,

You know of me but you don't know me. It's your cousin Lucy. Your dad sent me the link to your blog a few weeks ago. I've had a whole realm of emotions reading it. Trying to get to know you, trying to understand. You have a great spirit. Keep that sense of humor...it is so important.

I feel compelled to tell you something, even though I'm a stranger. I want to commend you on your decision to "not be so hard on yourself". You are right...you are a different person now. You have to find your new "normal". Whatever that is. Your life is different one year after cancer, because YOU are different. It is not better or worse...it is just different. That is ok.

It will take some time to figure it out, but you will find yourself.

Congratulations on finishing up your semester. Enjoy your holiday. Sent with love, Lucy

Buckeye said...

I am a reader of the Boston Globe and I saw your story today. You are going to be getting a lot of interesting mail I expect. You have much to teach as you and others clearly know. My husband has a different type of leukemia and we are senior citizens. I wish you the very best and I intend to keep reading your blog. Thank you for writing it.

betsy7122 said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Reading about your courage in your situation helped me cope with something in my life. You made me realize life is precious.

You gave me a great gift this morning.

I wish you well, and I am incredibly impressed by your courage. You are an inspiration.

I am sure you would rather just be a regular college student, rather than an inspiration.

I hope that life will return to a new and good "normal" for you soon.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. You have no idea how many people your story has impacted.

AndrewBoston said...

I read the article about your ordeal on Boston.com. Much of what you wrote resonated with me. I am now going onto 4 years since beating colon cancer - weeks on end at Brigham and Womens recovering from surgery then months on end with chemo and radiation treatments at Dana Farber. I seriously believe that even in my darkest moments attitude and will got me through it. Keep up the good work!!!

Jesse said...

Thank you for sharing your story with the Boston Globe.

I am a graduate student finishing my PhD. I have been studying a gene called Tal-1, often mutated in ALL.

There are times when I want to be lazy and don't want to do work late into the night. When I hear the stories of people such as yourself, I have an easier time staying in lab until 2 or 3 in the morning because I can put a name and face to the people who will benefit from my work.

Best of luck to you and stay healthy.

Susan Carrier said...

Hello Caroline,
My Boston friend Rebecca forwarded your story to me in LA.

I too have gone through a year of treatments that ended in a stem cell transplant. I'm so excited about what this new year has in store for both of us.

Warm wishes,
Susan
cancerbanter.blogspot.com