Throwback Thursday

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Cheating today, because well, have a meeting tonight.

I’m the tallest one (ha, that lasted until I was 12.) I was eight, Mary was five, Katie was three. We belonged to the Westmoreland Legionnares Majorette and Drum Corps.

Happy Thursday

Hohoho and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls.

I watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” tonight. Most years I watch it, in fact there are very few years I have missed it, if any.

When, I was younger it was a reaffirmation of my faith at the end. When Linus tells the Christmas story, it cheered me.

Now, at 38 and without the faith I grew up with, it is just a cartoon. Christmas is a family day, but the faith is gone.

At times I miss having a connection like that. The lack of faith is hard when you believed so deeply for so long.

I could go into a long discussion on what lead me to this, but, really it is easier to just list a few things: cancer, children dying of cancer, a friend’s suicide at 34, the pain and suffering around me, the hatred that has developed in my country in the past few years.

How can there be something more out there, some all-knowing being, when there is so much pain and hatred in the world?

I know though you can’t force the faith to come back, no matter how much you wish it would.

Sidenote: If anything would bring me back, it might be the new Pope. He is doing some pretty great things with the Catholic Church. Yes, I was raised Catholic. That’s another story for another day.

Holiday Spirit

For the first time in probably 25 years, I seem to have developed some holiday spirit. Bah humbug has not crossed my lips once, I haven’t turned off the TV in a fit of anger at all the cheer.

In fact, I have already watched multiple Christmas movies-not just the good ones either. Why, yes, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” has graced my television, so have a myriad of Hallmark and Lifetime channel schlock.

This seems to be of some concern to the husband, as normally once Halloween is over, I am done with the holiday season. You see, I am a Halloween person. I love the jack-o-lanterns, costumes, decorations, the kids running wild on a sugar high.

That is my time and not just because I can get away with my skull jewelry with no odd lucks for a month or so.

For some reason, this year though, I am enjoying the movies, the music, the lights all the more. I wanted to put our tree up over the weekend, but I am running behind on it. The decorations are ready though, before the weekend will be up.

I haven’t even started my shopping, where normally I am done on Black Friday, but I am still smiling at people.

For the love of all that is holy I even took a picture of my face in my wreath. It is an extremely gaudy garland wreath, but still, this isn’t me.

My Christmas candles are out and lit, right now Spiced Orange is filling the house and we are having a Christmas party with friends.

Any second now I expect Tony to start checking for the pod, or to see if my skin is loose ala Edgar in “Men in Black.”

Hell, I’m starting to wonder if I was abducted by aliens (or elves, those creepy shelf dwelling bastards could do it,) myself. Right now there is even a Christmas movie on. I mean it is “Bad Santa” but that is a holiday movie. Next thing you know, I’ll be singing carols and falalalalaing all over the place.

Or, you know waking up, as this has to be a dream.

Cancerversary

There are dates that are so entwined as part of who I am since my cancer diagnosis in 2008 that I celebrate them every year. Yesterday, December 1st, was five years since my nephrectomy. At MCV hospital in Richmond, VA Doctors Guruli and Worthington saved my life.

Prior to the surgery they were completely honest that the surgery was going to be difficult due to my size. I’m a large woman, in fact, I am what they call supersize. I’m fat. Yes, that makes surgeries of that depth harder on me and the surgeons.

We were warned, I had to be up and moving as soon as possible after surgery or I would have even further issues. The day after I was walking on my walker and sitting in a chair.

They told me it was going to be weeks before I went home. Five days after surgery they released me. I refused to let the naysayers be correct. I fought to get out of there. My body hated it, but I wanted to go.

Don’t get me wrong, it took a long time to heal. I had an incision that runs from just below my breast, down the midline and into my belly button. It is 16.5 inches long.

I came home with staples and glue and internal stitches. The majority of the incision healed in a couple months. However one portion stayed open for close to ten months.

It hurt, it destroyed my stomach muscles, changed my body in odd ways (my clothes from prior to the surgery never fit properly again due to the changes.) However, without it, I wouldn’t be sitting here able to write about it.

Cancer changed me, but not in the way so many people say it changed them. I do not see having renal cell cancer at 33 as a blessing. In fact, I have argued with other survivors who say we should all think it was a good thing.

It did not make me a happier person. It did not make me appreciate my family more. It did not make me a better person.

It did make me worry if that new pain is metastatic disease. It does make me fear the nodules in my lungs that we aren’t sure what they are, yet. It did give me severe lymphedema that has caused open wounds and made life even more difficult for me.

Yes, I am grateful that I am alive and doing well five years later, but no, I am not grateful that I had cancer.

Welcome to Holidailies 2013!

For the past 10 years I have participated in Holidailies. It may have been longer than that, but those are the years I am sure about.

I have had years where I have made everyday entries, like 2008 and other years where I only got a couple done, 2010 being one of them. This year, I firmly swear to update at least every other day. Hopefully, a daily basis, but you know how that goes.

Traditionally, I introduce myself here, as on occasion a new reader or two will wander in.

Hello, I’m Suzy, a 38 year old freelance writer. My main work is as a reporter on politics and government for the local weekly newspaper, The Westmoreland News.

Writing for the paper is incredible and one of the best things I have done as a writer.

I live just outside the small town of Colonial Beach, Virginia. I have lived here, or close to it, since I was eight years old.

I have been married for 15 years to a wonderful man, Tony. He’s too good for me, but I’m not telling him that.

I have more than a dozen kids who call my Aunt, 13 are actually related to me, a bunch aren’t except by love. Due to the fact that I have no children, I get to love on and spoil a whole lot of them.

Let’s see, that’s some about other people, how about more about me. I’m a five year kidney cancer survivor. In fact, I had my right kidney, and tumor, removed five years ago today. Right now there are nodules in my lungs that we are watching, but other than that the cancer is beat down.

I am disabled due to severe lymphedema, from the cancer, and bone and muscle issues that are there, but are unnamed. They have also diagnosed me with fibromylagia. The whole list of what is wrong with me is an entry for another day.

I use a cane for short distances, a wheelchair for longer ones. It limits my ability to work, but I try.

Over the past few years I have become obsessed with photography. Now, I am waiting for my first DSLR to come in so I can learn how to work a non-point and shoot camera.

So, scattered entry, but a good basic introduction to who I am. Again, welcome to Holidailies 2013.