A whole new world…kind of. Sort of.

It’s a new year. It’s a new me. Okay, that’s BS. It’s the me I was in late December. BUT when it comes to this blog, it’s a whole new world (but it’s still full of Disney references).

Last year I had a hard time finding the words to write on here. I wanted to share what I was going through – the good and the bad, but every time I’d try I couldn’t find the right balance. If I was too inspirational, it felt fake. If I got too real it felt way too personal.

In 2016, as soon as I got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, nothing was off limits. I was writing the good and the bad because in a way it wasn’t just about me sharing my personal experiences, it was about me hoping that my voice might give some comfort to others in my shoes. And also, to help those who weren’t in my shoes to get a glimpse into the mind of someone with cancer. In 2016, I was able to write about these experiences because it was like I stepped outside of myself. The person writing wasn’t the REAL me…it was cancer me. It was the person that was charged with going through hell and back. That person was super strong and always kept her head up. She didn’t care how she looked, she made the most out of being quarantined to the house, and she watched lots of Kelly Live (and the drama that unfolded when Michael Strahan left the show) and ate entire pans of apple crisp in the span of two days because WHY NOT?!?!

But in 2017, that version of me had to be tucked away. Because I couldn’t go back to work not caring what I looked like. And I had to now deal with the weight that version of me put on (it’s okay, I don’t regret the apple crisp!). And I had to do more with my time than just watch Kelly live every day. And at first I thought – this is also the stuff people want to read about. This is me finding that pre-cancer version of myself.

But I wasn’t ready.

Progress…as it tends to go…was very VERY slow on almost all fronts. How could I blog about running/walking 3 miles by the end of February when the pace was basically what fast walkers achieve? There was a small part of me that wanted me to celebrate this small success because um, I HAD CANCER and who does this two months after having cancer? The cancer version of me would have done a double fist pump and proudly proclaimed this. The version of me that came after was just mad that I wasn’t already back to who I was before. To go on about this small success would have been false. False to what I really felt. So I just kept my head down and continued on.

And that’s how it went every time I overcame another obstacle in 2017. Running 4 miles. Running 8 miles. Running 10 miles in the name of training for a half marathon! It was never good enough. Because it didn’t matter what I accomplished – it still wasn’t as good as what I’d done before cancer.

And then on top of that was this simmering resentment I had for all the ways cancer and the treatment that followed has now negatively impacted my life. Lingering nerve damage. Whip-like marks all over my body. The fact that I literally could not see myself in the mirror for almost 10 months after treatment was done. The looks of pity I got from people who knew what I’d been through. It was all stuff I didn’t want to deal with, but it was all stuff I was forced to deal with.

Some of it I knew would resolve over time. Yes, my hair would grow back. Yes, people would stop looking at me like I’m going to break and crumble in front of them. But some physical things – like the nerve damage and the whip-like marks may not go away. Those just might be a part of my life for good.

So long story long, that’s why I didn’t write more in 2017. How could I be an inspiration to others when I couldn’t be an inspiration to myself? How could I help others deal with their struggles when I was trying my best to deal with my own?

It makes me think of that PSA during flight prep. Secure your own oxygen mask before you can help those around you. That was what 2017 was for me – securing my own oxygen mask.

And now it’s 2018. A new year doesn’t mean a new you. But it definitely has pushed me into a new perspective. I’m now one year in remission. My hair is at a length where I’m like, “Not your best, but definitely something you can work with.” (I have high hair standards for myself…this isn’t anything new). I’ve found something that helps with the nerve damage (thank you keto!) And I can finally see myself in the mirror. Maybe it’s not the same pre-cancer me, but it’s a version of me that’s not struggling so hard. And I can deal with that.

And because of all of that, I’m ready to get back at it. I’m ready to start diving deep on topics that interest me and that I think will interest you too. This might truly be one of the last real personal posts I put out there. And the only reason I’m doing it is for closure. Closing the book on 2017 and its struggles, and starting to write about the new fresh landscape of 2018. If what I write doesn’t interest you? Hey – that’s like, your opinion…man. But as my new tagline now reads, this really is, “The stuff I want you to know.” It may be weird, varied, crazy stuff. But it’s the stuff I want you to know.

And also, you might notice something different about these posts. They are going to be long. Like, really long. So that might be slow going, too. But here’s my overall thought on that: I’m really sick of reading things that give me a high level overview of the information I need. I’m sick of articles that give me the “Why” without the “How”. Don’t tell me that x, y or z is good for my health but then leave me without next steps. So that’s how I’m going to focus my writing. I’m going to give you the super nitty gritty on how exactly to do something. Because for many people, starting something new is hard not because you’re resistant to change, but because you just literally don’t know where to start.

That’s my mission for this year. Help you get started with whatever it is you’re trying to tackle. We all have these secret passions inside of us that we love to think about, but are way too scared to put into action. I want to remove that fear. So I’m going to do that in the areas where I know the in-depth HOW. And the areas where I don’t, I’m going to be getting some outside perspectives. There is just way too much good in this life to pass up. And ya know, we all have an expiration date, so maybe it’s time to let that secret passion out for a while.

So…yeah. That’s where I’m at.

Note: I always feel pressured to find really professional looking images for my posts and every time I struggle because my aesthetic is not polished and pristine or artsy and cute… it’s weird and full of Disney and pop references. So I’m going to lean into that. Now if only I could find a “Genie does his best ‘Dude’ impression.”

6 thoughts on “A whole new world…kind of. Sort of.

  1. gwennym says:

    Jamie, don’t worry about your blog looking slick, etc. unless that’s what YOU want it to look like. You hafta do you and not worry about how “amazing” other blogs are. That said, I LOVE the look of your blog! And, truly, I applaud you for sharing your story.

  2. Marie says:

    Can’t wait to read your stuff! 😉 And you without Disney references, would not be the authentic you. I did the Word of the Year generator that a blogger friend has (type Jennifer Fulfiller Word of the Year) and you will find it. My word was “authentic”…and yes, I need to work on that. I try to be too many things to way too many people and well, yeah…it is tiring. So I am all about really leaning into authenticity myself and it sounds like you are doing that too (even if you don’t view it as that way…but just my opinion). Love you!

  3. Joan E Wilder says:

    Congratulations on your one year in remission! And I think your blog and writing is perfect! Thank you for sharing your story and can’t wait to hear how wonderful the new year is for you!

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