Where have I been and what have I been up to?
You mean besides celebrating my ass off and listening to the new 311 album?
Buckle up, babe, this is a long one.
I had my MRI in June. Wait...Was it June? I'm not even sure, It may have been the end of May. I've lost track a little because my life is no longer ruled by medical dates and times.
My scan came back clear. No more tumor.
No more cabergoline.
What does this mean?! You might be asking. Because that's what I was asking.
That's still what I ask every once in a while.
It's hard to describe how different life feels. I keep trying but I know I'm failing. It's so much bigger than I can find words for. It's like being away from your body for five years and coming home to find that everything is tragically disorganized.
I hadn't realized how much of my life had been just doing what I was able to do. Letting chores and housework get on top of me. Putting the bare minimum into myself and my people.
I want to take that back.
I don't want to say it was the bare minimum. Because at the time it was maximum effort. It was all I was capable of giving. But it was both. It was all I could give, and yet it was so very little.
And here's the big reveal.
Without the tumor's interruption into my life, I'm not certain when (if ever) I would have figured out my focus was so very wrong.
Am I to the point I can call it all gratitude? No. And that might not ever happen. But there is gratitude involved.
If you've read my handful of blogs over the years you know how reflective I've been. I've learned a lot about myself during all of this. One of the hardest and most important things I'm still learning is self-compassion. But I've spent more than thirty years being the opposite so I'm thinking it's going to take some time before I actually succeed.
Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is that having the tumor sucked. And I still have a hard time not blaming myself for all of the things that came with it. But it's not a single annoyed emotion. It's a complicated roundabout that includes being thankful I now have the ability to do the things that I wasn't able to do, and being disgusted with myself for all the things I hadn't done.
And then there are these massive bright spots. Like blazing stars burning up all my annoyance.
Writing, for example. My writing has gotten faster and weirder and it's freaking wonderful. I can type at a decent clip again, and my words are there at the tips of my fingers and I don't have to wait for them to come along whenever the fog clears. And the ideas! Oh mama, the ideas. They never stop now, and I have lists and notes and stickies and and and and.
I published 2 books this summer. Back to back. One was a full length novel—Puppy Love and Peanut Butter—and the other was my first attempt at a novella—Matter of Fact. I went from struggling to write and publish once every twelve months, to that. I stopped taking the cabergoline on May 14. Then I wrote 35k words in 10 days. And then I did it again a week later. It was the wildest and most wonderful rush.
You know that scene in Captain Marvel when she goes before the Supreme Intelligence and decides to rip out her inhibitor implant? That's what it felt like.
("You know you're glowing, right?"-- Nick Fury)
I know, I know, I'm being dramatic.
That's the only way I can describe it. It's one of the reasons I love that movie so freaking much.
You know what else I did after I ripped out the inhibitor? I fixed our air conditioner in our house. No really. I took apart our HVAC unit and replaced the fan motor and capacitor. I also took apart our washing machine and fixed that. And the dishwasher. And soon the light fixture in the bathroom.
You know why?
Because I can.
I can now when before I absolutely could not.
I hope that lasts. I hope that I will go into every new day thankful to do the things I can.
Also I've taken stock of my people this summer.
My beautiful, amazing, wonderful people. Support system doesn't seem like a fair enough way to label them. They're my Home Team. My squad. My hugs and texts and memes. My cuddles and compassion and patience. They're the ones who cried when I got the results of the MRI. The ones who finally let their shoulders relax when they heard good news. They're the reason I never missed a dose, even though I hated every side effect. They're the reason I never felt alone or forgotten or like a burden.
They kept me light. They made the past few years go so much faster.
You know how they always say when life gets hard you find our who your friends are? Yeah, that's not totally true. That's just a way to make people feel shitty and place blame during a time when blame has no business being involved.
Sometimes life is hard for everyone all at once. And people can only give so much before they're hurting themselves in order to help others. And that's not good. I really don't ever want that.
When I said they were my Home Team, I really mean that. Some were starters, some were coaches, some were foam finger waving fans, and some just sat with me while we ate junk food. Everyone had a role and did what they were able and that's what made it work.
I love them.
One worry I have at this point is that I won't be able to ever repay them. Which I realize isn't the point at all. But I still want to. So if you're on the squad, brace yourself for the Heidi version of love smothers. Because it's happening.
Other things that are definitely happening?
I'm working on the sequel to In Between the Earth and Sky. Yep. I didn't plan on making a book 2 but here we are. I don't know when it'll be released because I'm still learning the limits of my new powers, but as soon as I know, you'll know. Keep an eye on my Instagram for my usual story hints if you're into that sort of slow burn torture.
I also started a part time job last week that I adore. I'm working as a personal trainer for seniors at an assisted living facility. It. Is. AWESOME. I am already overly attached to many of the residents. Which will probably backfire on me in the near future but it's a risk I'm willing to take.
And I'll be blogging more regularly. I have a poll going in my FB reader group about what things you guys want to see more of. Check it out and leave your input!
There's more percolating in the background but nothing I'm ready to share yet. It's exciting to have options and ideas again.
I'm more at ease with my life. As exciting as this summer has been, I'm more relaxed than I remember being. I've learned how to take that all important step back and observe before acting (or reacting).
It's calm here, in my head and heart.
I hope these changes last. I hope I continue to chase the sunrise into each new day. I hope I never stop hoping and fighting and trying with all of my heart. I hope this summer is only the beginning of the rest of everything.
Now I have to go replace the soap dispenser in my dishwasher and make a cake.
Because I can.