Little Moments

Hey everyone!

Last Friday was my 4th of July road race! It was so much fun and I even had my two cousins with me! We had some family friends up and ate a ton of food!

Their 5 year old daughter and I were playing when she hopped up on my lap and said “Oh no! Someone scratched your neck!” and pointed to my scar. It’s just a small little comments, but it’s kind of a big deal- it’s the first time an outsider has asked me about my scar. I don’t expect a lot of people too, but its the first. I kind of stopped in my tracks. What do you tell a 5-year-old girl? When is the appropriate time to tell a child that there is a monster scarier than the one under your bed?

I also noticed my mom’s face. I try to imagine it from her or my dad or Alex’s perspective. I’m charging straight at the bull, but what about the people helping me? What is it like to hear me tell my cancer story from my nucleus?

Sometimes its the little memorable moments that count.

Finding God

Hello readers!

The other day I went on a 5 mile run and had a nice long contemplation about life.

In times of crisis, many people look to or even seek out God. Whether it be a natural disaster, sickness, death, changing your ways, or trying to dig yourself out of a deep hole. I notice a lot of families at Camp Sunshine have found God and even a lot of people in my everyday find comfort from His presence.

As for me? I guess I never really looked for Him. This whole cancer thing- even just though out my life, I’ve never felt the need to. I believe in Karma and the “Just World” hypothesis (that actions and events always end with a fair consequence or reward). It certainly feels like some people’s karma is long over due, but that’s their trouble- not mine. Somedays, I need to remind myself that through all of the obstacles in life I have found my reward for my hard work through the lessons and meaningful experiences I’ve created. The true kindness of honest strangers and the uninhibited love from people who really do care about me and accept me as I am and hope to be. All in all I guess I would really define myself as spiritual. Over the past few years, I’ve really begun to explore the world around me through all sorts of religious perspectives and have come to incorporate little things here and there into my everyday.

So, as for the big guy upstairs? I’m not too sure about that. I guess I’ll figure that out when the time comes.

If I didn’t find God, then what have I found. I guess the real question would be: Taylor, did cancer make you feel like you needed to search for something to hold on to? The funny thing about looking for something is to first feel the sensation that something is missing and the courage to start figuring out what that something is. Interestingly enough, I’ve had this weird feeling inside myself that’s been there for quite a while, and I could never really quite place it. I’ve never really felt like I fit in with the crowd. Somehow, I always felt a chapter behind the rest and it really bothered me for a long time. All through high school I really felt separated from my classmates. I had no desire to do what they were doing. Even into college, I still had no desire to keep up with the masses. I think that’s why I didn’t like college- I thought I didn’t get it. But finally, with a cancer conscious, I started heading in the right direction.

I started finding myself.

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The Daily Grind

Hey everyone!

I realize it’s been a while since my last post- I’m sorry for those who have been waiting! I actually thought my last post was going to be the finale and then I realized I still have some things coming up related to my cancer that maybe you all would like to hear about!

As of now, I’m working at my summer job at home and training for upcoming races and such. I’ve decided my new life goal! I want to do a road race in every state! Realistically, I’d like them to be 10k or more. So far I have Vermont and I’ll be crossing off Massachusetts in August! Kristin and I bought a giant US map and I’ve already started thumbtacking and labeling my completed races. I’ve also found a cool way to display all my racing numbers! I’m addicted!

 

See the VT thumb tack?

See the VT thumb tack?

I also had my annual physical and was telling my nurse practitioner about how my social circle shrank and I felt neglected by many people. She made me feel better in my ongoing struggle of seeing my cancer journey as something that really is a big deal. She basically said “Cancer in general is a big deal. Just because you cancer has a very high survival rate doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. Many people have a lump removed and that’s that. Others go through chemotherapy and are on meds for a few years and then hopefully go into remission and are all better. It takes a lot of effort for you to get your energy levels up during the day. Not only do you have something for the rest of your life, but your thyroid partners up with a lot of things you know have to keep an eye out for.” It was so nice to hear a professional validate me, instead of “don’t worry, this is a good cancer and your treatments is minimally invasive”. It has been (and I think will be) an ongoing struggle for me to come to terms with my cancer as being a very big deal in my life. Having other people stamp out its true intensity and emotional toil really impacts my views on the size of this hurdle. The again I notice this as a pattern in a lot of accomplishments in my life and have begun trying to prove my cheerleading squad right instead of proving the nay sayers wrong.

No updates in the job front. I did however have an interview with a woman who is renting out a room in her house for a year while she goes through a divorce. Oh. My. Goodness. This lady is so sweet and seems to have some really fun and positive energy. The whole interview process went really well and she even took me back to see her house after our coffee date!

I’ve been keeping my zen on with my new “daily yoga quote” app. Thought I’d share a few good ones with everyone.

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Keep ya’ll posted!

What I Have Learned

May 18, 2014 was the day I officially graduated from college and I won’t lie, it was really hard to get to this point.

I was recently telling someone that “Cancer sucks. There isn’t much I can do medically, besides take my pills, exercise, and go to my appointments- there is no reason to sit around and mope if there isn’t much I can do about it. The real thing that sucks about cancer is the constantly changing emotional and social support”. I have a really fantastic family, a good group of friends, and a supportive boyfriend- but holy cow did I not see the drama coming. I really felt offended by the way some people responded to my cancer. I know, I know. It’s a scary thing to hear and people respond differently to bad news. It was just interesting to see what kind of person you are based on whether you took in the cancer news as my tragedy, your’s, or our’s.  It’s not like I could really plan the “perfect moment” to tell people. Cancer sits with me a lot. I feel lucky enough to be young and healthy when they caught it, but really freaked that it had been inside me growing for years.

My apartment wasn’t much of a home. Too much drama, but instead of getting into how two people see and appreciate the world on a whole different spectrum, and the serious lack of respect some people have, I’ll sum it up as this: I can sleep at night knowing that each day I work hard to be a good person. I make choices and listen to others, but I’m also learning to listen to myself and do what’s right for me and those who I respect. I have my strengths and my weaknesses- but I accept them as my whole, imperfect, unique self. I don’t feel like I need to win a popularity contest and I certainly don’t think it’s right to always have to be the best. Everyone deserves to bask in their own personal victories without someone else feeling the need to overshadow them. My senior year might not have been my favorite college year, but it was very insightful experience on dealing with people who do not and will not ever try to see the world through any perspective but their own. It’s been very tough on my patients but I am happy to leave this apartment knowing what kinds of people I need in my life and the kinds of people I am very ready to let go of.

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On top of that, my social circle has been constantly changing. People are in, people are out, people up and quit. I’m glad I know who my true friends are but it stinks when you thought you knew someone only to have them blindside you with something completely out of character. “Everyone will eventually disappoint you, forgiveness is based on whether they are worth it or not”. I thought some people were worth it and wanted to give them a second chance- guess I wasn’t. It stinks, but its life.

Throughout some very trying times and realizations, it’s nice to know I have a lot of people still in my corner. Apart from my amazing family network and the ever supportive neighbors, I just want to acknowledge some of the amazing people who have helped me out in getting to where I am today:

  1. Allie and Jamie: The best two roommates!! I had so much fun living with you two! I was really lucky to make respectful roommate relationships that turn into good friendships.
  2. Stephanie: You are an amazing person. You come here without a winter jacket and you’ll leave here with all new friends, memories, and experiences. I was so impressed by your sense of adventure and your fearlessness to explore your new home. You are bright, respectful, and so passionate about the things you love. I loved taking you to your first yoga class! You came into my life at a very perfect time. I don’t think I could have made it another semester in my apartment without your kindness.
  3. Lisa: It was really cool how you handled everything this summer. I came to you looking for a day of normalcy and you are the one person who responded with the kindness I needed. You have really become a pillar in my support team and I appreciate you and all that you have been through. I’m super excited to do our Spartan Race together and to keep in touch always. “Friendships are like stars, your don’t always need to see them to know that they are there”.
  4. Jess: Out of all the friends up here in Burlington, it makes me feel really great you’ve been reading and staying on this journey with me.
  5. Alex:  I was really afraid to call you this summer. I wasn’t sure if telling you I had cancer would scare you away, make you feel sorry for me, or bring you closer to me. You stepped up and really helped me out. Researching my surgery and my treatments, making sure my fever went down before bed, and propping up my pills when I couldn’t sleep. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have come back to school without you. Whenever I had  rough day, it was nice to know I could come find you and you’d make me feel better. You have been an amazing friend and when I describe you to others I always tell them “I need more friends like him”.
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Alex :)

 

I would like to consider myself a “learning enthusiast”. Not so much acidemically speaking, more about the world and life in general. Through my adventures and relationships I have learned plenty, but the following seem to have more merit:

  • True friends can take what they dish out, get mad, forgive, and still be there for you. They respect you when you stand up for yourself and still have your back even when they don’t agree.
  • Don’t forget the small victories.
  • It’s important to tell people your limits. Whether they want to recognize you’re only human is their problem.
  • Feeding yourself is sometimes the best thing you can do.
  • Wool socks and layering are essential for a Vermont winter.
  • It’s better to live with someone you don’t know or hardly know, as opposed to a good friend. There is a risk for some weird habits, but at least there is a mutual respect. If you live with a close friend, its harder to speak your truth without backlash unless they really understand and respect you.
  • Always go to class even if you don’t take notes, you might have a cool surprise guest that leaves you with more knowledge than the entire semester.
  • Some people feel the need to establish their dominance in order to feel important. They need you to feel smaller than them in order to get through the day. Try not to take it personally.
  • If you force respect to your face, you’ll never get it behind your back.
  • Every once in a while its okay to to feel sorry for your self, but once you start throwing pity parties several times a week no one is going to feel bad for you. They’ll probably just end up avoiding you.

 

I think the biggest lesson I have learned and hope others learn is:

Always receive others with kindness, for we are all struggling with our own private battles. Whether it be depressions, classes, finding yourself, or even thyroid cancer. If you treat others with kindness, who could make someone’s day and encourage them to keep going.

As for what’s next? I don’t really know. Looking for jobs, looking for myself some more. I’m nervous but I’m not too worried.

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The Last Exam

Just wanted to share another life event with you all!!

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For some reason I decided to take this exam a week and a half after my final college exam. Of course Vermont decided to have 75 degree days of sunshine. I would look out longingly from my room or the library. But I did it! 

I also signed up for the Bridgton, ME Fourth of July road race- hope to see some Webber-Carlson-Gulbrandsen action. 

Graduation is Sunday!!! 

 

 

 

 

Closing Bell

I got my semester grades back! Image

Yay! Academically this was actually a pretty good year. I told my parents I really wanted to graduate with a 3.0, and I’m leaving here with a 2.99. I’m not even kidding. But… I think I’m just going to round up so shhhh don’t tell anyone!!

 

Crossing Off the To Do List

So…. I’m officially done with undergraduate college? I bought my robe, cap, gown and stole thingy. My finals are all completed, and I’m not too concerned about the grades. As for now, I’ll be studying for my personal trainer exam- May 16th. I have to take it in Boston and then race right back up to graduate. 

It’s funny to hear people reflect on college and read Facebook posts that sum up the experience. I know everyone has their own success stories or fundamental growth periods, but I feel pretty out of the norm. I guess maybe it’s because I wasn’t exactly excited to go to college in the first place. It wasn’t because I was scared, I just didn’t think it was for me. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m totally glad I came, but there was a big part of me that felt very different from everyone else. I’ve kind of chalked it all up to “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted”. In this case, I didn’t know what I wanted, so it was a pleasant surprise to see what I’ve gained! 

My blog has gone international! That is so awesome! Thanks to all my new international friends for being a part of my journey! 

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This is from a week ago

Now that I’ve finished my last ever exam for college, I should probably find a job.

Wish me luck! 

 

Last Day Of Class


Today something interesting happened to me in class I thought was blog worthy:

I was sitting in my last death and dying class talking to some girls about our semester. They were commenting on Louise Diamond (I blogged about her visiting my class a while back) and how she was so vibrant and positive even in her current situation. I was listening to them talk and I asked “Do you think having cancer at a young age shaped her views on life and how she decided to live it?”. The girls looked at me and said they totally agreed and could never imagine- she probably saw the world through very different eyes.

I thought that was pretty cool.

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Walk To End The Fight

Relay for life!! What an awesome night!!

First off, my friends and I made shirts to be more of a team, and they likes my design!

Some of the team!

Some of the team!

When I was signing up, I was kind of confused whether to sign up as a survivor or not. Technically I am still a cancer patient. After I get my next TSH level and they look good (they are in normal range, just the high end) I’ll be in remission!! Five years of a clean slate gives me the survivor status. Yay! So for relay I didn’t sign up as survivor. There was a first lap for all the survivors in their purple shirts so I asked if a cancer patient could walk too. They said yes and I linked arms with an older gentleman for our first lap. That was actually really cool. I’m not super public about my cancer. Not that I’m uncomfortable to talk about it, I just don’t want people to see my accomplishment with cancer sympathy. “She got all Bs? Aanndd she has cancer?!” No haha I did that independently of cancer. I don’t want to treated as a cancer patient, just an individual who also happens to have it. Any who, the first lap kind of felt like a beauty pageant of pervious winners. We linked arms and everyone else stood and cheered us on. It was nice to be recognized. Then we had the caretakers join us. I told Alex he needed to walk. My parents cared for me after surgery but when I went back to school, he has taken care of my physical and emotional health a lot! After that, everyone joined in and the festivities began!

People under hypnosis!

People under hypnosis!

The program did a really good job keeping us entertained. We had a hypnotist, a few comedians, a cappella groups, musicians, a 2AM Zumba class, and some DJs. As the night progressed, groups started leaving and people started sleeping. By 1AM the crowed cut in half and by 5am, Alex and I were the only ones left representing our team. The 6am closing ceremony consisted of about 30 stragglers from the 200 or so individuals at the start up.

Alex and I at 4AM still going strong!

Alex and I at 4AM still going strong!

It was really great that my team wore the shirts. It made a girl feel good to see visible support! It was also great to see people who decided to join the fun! I had a camp sunshine friend come up and some other friends from all around. It was nice to make new friends too! I even made friends with a senior this year who was diagnosed with cancer last year! It was so cool to find someone who could totally relate! We connected on Facebook and said we looked forward to watching each other walk and graduate!

It was interesting, the way relay worked and how it was equivalent with how I felt. All the people in the beginning giving way to those few true supports walking until the very end. Very accurate representation.

Thanks to all who donated!! I was able to raise $665! It was so wonderful you took time to donate to my cause and kicking cancer’s butt!

Now for some well needed rest…

World, You Have My Attention

Hey everyone!

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Good morning poppyseed muffins!

Went for another blood test last week. They want to monitor my TSH levels since they modified my daily meds. We are so close!!

The easter bunny stopped by and gave me a basket full of all these cool things! One of which I wanted to share with you all because I found it interesting: This year the easter bunny was thinking of my mental health (in light of all these events) and gave me a book on chakras. Naturally, I was intrigued and decided to read all about it. Here is what I learned about chakras:

  • Chakra is sanscrit for “wheel or circle”. Referring to the meeting points of energy through out the body located near major veins, arteries, organs and nerves.
  • Starting from the bottom, seven chakras are:
  1. Root- it sits at the base of the spine and draws energy from earth’s magnetic field up through the feet. The organ represented by this chakra is the adrenal cortex (sits onto of the kidney). It carries the attitudes and prejudices formed by family, church, and culture. Color: red
  2. Sacral- the pelvis/ sacrum. This chakra controls our physical ability to move forward in life and the ability to cherish our own physical presence. Color: orange
  3. Solar Plexus- sits above the stomach and below the diaphragm. This  chakra is focused on self value, a primary quality in our relationships with others. If we fail to honor ourselves and know that we are worthy simply because we exist, our sense of personality identity is weak. Color: yellow
  4. Heart- the heart (oddly enough). It function both physically and emotionally to keep the life force alive. Physically the heart is comprised of the myocardium, the aorta, the pulmonary artery, and the four chambers. Energetically it is the protector and the spiritual healer. Color: green
  5. Throat- internal and external, including the thyroid. It is often blocked with suppressed feelings, revealing unspoken emotions and unexpressed ideas. Color: teal
  6. Third Eye/Brow- the mind and pituitary gland. This chakra centers our innate intelligence and thrives on distilled wisdom of our pain, loses, and separation. It seeks meaning, truth, and freedom. Color: purple
  7. Crown- the pineal gland. This is the most elevated chakra. Provides the means to deepen our inedible connection with the source of our being. We must only acknowledge it to experience it. Color: fuschia
  • The goal is to have all your chakras aligned in order to experience the world and yourself. Life is about balancing all chakras to work in unison- kind of like to have a full body-mind life experience.

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Interestingly enough…. guess which one of my chakra has been neglected? Yup. The throat chakra. . For the throat, the color turquoise, gardenia plants and  promote healing. At the beginning of the year, I received this plant as a gift. What a coincidence!

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Gardenia survived the winter!

The life issues are to harness my will, to express my highest truth, and to live creatively. “I live in my truth, I communicate my truth, I am the truth”. We default on our integrity when we fail to honor our individuality.  When we mean what we say and stand by our words we influence the way in which people perceive us. To maintain a strong and viable sense of selfhood it is essential to express our truth as best we can, even at the risk of being different or standing apart from others. True adulthood is learning to mean what we say. The throat chakra shuts down from grief and unexpressed feelings such as anger and fear. It directly effects our quality of communication. It is an ongoing commitment to expressing our truths.

I don’t know about you all, but that sounds like me. This is literally my blog! A safe place where I can voice my feelings and express my truths. One of the major things I have learned in life is “speak your mind, even if your voice shakes”. I have been working really hard at standing up for myself- and my blog has really helped me find the courage to do so. What an interesting time to have this book come into my possession- wouldn’t you agree? Okay world, you have my attention!

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Alright, so… I’m going to get a little spiritual on you all. I’ll make it brief- don’t worry haha. Yoga has really helped me regain my sense of self. Before surgery, I felt super connected to myself and my world. I was explaining to my roommate that yoga is sanskrit for “union” and the origins/variations. For a long time I thought unison meant the class doing the same poses at the same time. But it kind of dawned on me that it means more than that. I’m in my one class with these people I don’t know practicing for an hour. We are practicing as one. It’s not even confined to just that class. All over the world, there are classes just like mine. I am in total unison with all those classes, with all those people! I don’t know them and I may never know them- but we are one for that class. The same could be said for running. I run by myself, but I am never alone. My race? We ran together- as one breath, one pulse, one stride. I think it is an amazing feeling to be so small but so great in numbers. I don’t really worry about feeling alone anymore. Maybe its just me.

What’s up next for this kid?

  • Relay for life tonight- expect a blog post in the near future
  • Last day of classes- EVER… okay maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
  • Finals week (I’m done May 6th!)
  • ACE personal training exam! I’m super nervous
  • the never ending job hunt!

Thank you to all who donated to my relay for life! You can keep donating until 6am tomorrow!