Seriously, stop asking Facebook. No, I do not want to share a montage of my life the past year with the caption “It’s been a great year!” Because 2014 sucked!
It has been nothing resembling a great year, in fact I can genuinely say it has probably been the worst year of my life. Now before I go on, I want to make it very clear that I have had bright shining moments this year. I have found love and support everywhere I turned, I have reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I have had some wonderful times with my family and been hugged a million times and laughed a lot. For example, today my husband taught Curly to do a dance routine that included “The Sprinkler” and ends with Jazz Hands. Well, to be fair, she is 2 1/2, that is pretty much the whole routine, but still… awesomeness!
But honestly, the best thing I can say about 2014 is that I survived it. I survived 3 major surgeries, the removal of my colon, 3 months with an ostomy bag, a skin cancer biopsy, a thyroid cancer diagnosis, the removal of my thyroid gland, panic attacks, depression, anemia, and being told by multiple doctors that my hemorrhoids will probably never go away. I survived 16 days in the hospital and countless more in recovery. I survived mountains of pain. Epic, horrible, screaming pain. Pain that was so bad that when I finally got the drugs (I heart you Dilaudid) that helped, I may or may not have tried to kiss the male nurse who gave them to me, with my amazing husband standing right next to me. Umm awkward!
I struggled with seeing my husband take on more than anyone should ever have to by caring for me and our kids. He stepped up in a major way but I hated having to watch him do it and not being able to help. I survived not seeing my little loves even by Facetime because all the tubes I was connected to scared them. And after months of being at home with them but being too tired, or sick, or in pain to play with them, I survived learning that I can’t always be Supermom.
That was a hard one for me. I have never been good at the home-maker part of being a stay at home mom. So having other people come around and help clean, cook, and do the dishes and laundry was perfect for me. But I’ve always been good at the “Mom” part. I love getting on the floor and playing silly games with Flopsy and Curly. I love teaching them, and listening to them, and reading with them, and wrestling with them, and cuddling with them. And for a good part of this year I couldn’t do those things, and when I did, it was not with my usual enthusiasm. I survived letting someone else take care of them when I did not feel up to it. And guess what? They survived too!
And I came out of this year a changed person. I really don’t think I could go through all of that and not be a little different at the end. I am much more anxious about everything, and I don’t really trust my instincts when it comes to my health. Finding out I had cancer when I had absolutely no symptoms and between two other major surgeries for a completely different issue, kind of made me into a nutcase. So now I tend to expect the worst, am kind of always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I’m working on that.
I do like some of the changes in myself though… I have found this blog, a place where I can be truly honest rather than just “sucking it up” or pretending that I am fine when inside I am a giant hot mess. It has been wonderfully liberating to have pretty much everyone I know (and a lot of strangers) filled in on my struggles so people are kind of caught up to my drama and I don’t have to spend every moment talking to them discussing my health issues, because I Refuse To Be Old!
I also really like that I have become a resource to people who are going through a difficult time. Over the past year I have had friends come to me to talk about surgery, miscarriage, anxiety, depression, cancer, and lots of other issues because of how open I have been about my difficulties. I don’t want anyone else to ever suffer through the things I have had to deal with, but if they have to, I am at least grateful that I can be there for them. I can be a listening ear that lets them cry or a voice to tell them “that just sucks,” and allow them to feel their negative feelings, because pretending those don’t exist doesn’t make them go away… believe me I tried.
And I love that I have become more compassionate, because I understand that things can get really, really bad. And that I want to make it easier on people going through a difficult time in any way I can. So I started a non-profit, Mommies In Need, that helps sick moms have temporary in-home childcare so they can focus on recovery rather than constantly worrying about who is taking care of their children. I may have done it with no plan in place and in a very fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants manner, but hey, we got 501(c)(3) status in just 2 months, so I must have done something right!
So I guess that 2014 hasn’t been all bad, just… complicated. There is no way that a Facebook algorithm is going to be able to sum up my year, so I did it here instead.
Friends, family, and virtual friends, I wish you a very Happy New Year and a wonderful 2015. To 2014 I say, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”
** If you want to help other mommies out there who are sick and need help with childcare in 2015 and beyond, please consider donating to Mommies In Need here or share that link wherever you can. We accept Paypal and all major credit cards (or you can mail a check) and you can get a last minute 2014 tax deduction! If you ever wanted to do something for me when I was sick and didn’t know what to do, you can help now. I am really passionate about this cause, and starting Mommies In Need has been a huge source of healing for me. It helps me understand that maybe all the crap I went through in 2014 can lead me to something positive in 2015 and beyond!