1734Last Saturday was my one year mark being diagnosed with Leukemia. For the past month, I had been anticipating how agonizing that day would be, how I’d be reliving every painful thing that was done and said to me, and fretting over having to go through that again.

However, that wasn’t where my mind went. Instead, I was thinking about the road that I was forced out of.

At the time I had lined up a job with Nokia as their community editor, Zoey and I had moved into a sweet apartment, and I was slowly settling back into being a Boston single. I was back where I belonged and about to start doing what I loved. But two and half days before I was scheduled to start I got redirected to the cancer path – I guess regardless I would’ve eventually been redirected there so it’s better that it was sooner rather than later.

I don’t normally dwell on what would’ve been, but I’ve been on the job hunt again and have a rather large gap I now have to explain to potential employers. Surprisingly it’s not easy to blurt out “I’ve been in intensive chemotherapy for the last twelve months. But I’m fine now and on maintenance. Oh, I’ll have to be gone for half a day once or twice a month. But other than that things will be swell.”

Luckily my brain hasn’t been so bogged down by chemo lately, but I still have my moments of forgotten words or phrases. It’s frustrating thinking about where I would be in my career, and instead how I’m set back a year. Or at least feel like I have been.

Throughout my “medical leave,” as I have so politically termed it, I stayed up on the latest social media trends, I caught up on my reading, and monitored what others were doing (that makes me sound like a stalker, I don’t mean stalking. I mean looking at what other companies were doing to get a sense if there would be a shift in social soon and such). While that’s all great I still have been sidelined for a year, and that’s time I can’t get back.

Now to sound like a hypocrite – I have that stupid voice inside my head that’s saying “yes but if this hadn’t been caught and you hadn’t gone through treatment you’d be dead. So you wouldn’t have had any more time.”

So what this post comes down to is this situation is frustrating. I’m trying to move on from the life I had into the new life I’m making for myself. I’m a different person post cancer, one with much softer and shorter hair, and it’s something I need to keep reminding myself. It’s hard to let go of something you never really had, to begin with.

My fresh start pre-diagnosis was great in theory, but why grieve something you don’t know if you would’ve liked. The three things I had been so excited for turned out to be not so great: the landlord of my fab. the apartment was a nightmare, the job (I heard from unrelated sources) wasn’t all it cracked up to be, and I am much happier as a non-single girl in Boston (even Zoey is a fan of his). As hard as it is to let things go, sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself if the life you’re grieving is something you’d even want now.

Cancer Camp: How to Grieve a Life Not Lived

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