The Things You Do @ 50!

You hit the big 5-0 and all sorts of things need to be done. Things that you knew were  going to happen at some time, but thought it’s in the far off distance somewhere.

By the time I reached 50, I had achieved heaps, but what I am most proud of are the following; (in no particular order),

  • my 3 wonderful children survived the traumas of the teens and are now wonderful young adults with their own lives and loves,
  • I have a home that I love with a garden full of flaura and fauna, chickens, dogs and visiting echidnas, kangaroos, wombats and all sorts of parrots,
  • my husband and I have survived all sorts of crap and are still in love, even after being together for 33 years,
  • I have a successful 30 year career and still love it, despite the ups and downs,
  • I have lots of exciting ideas for what’s ahead for me to look forward to.

When I read this list back it really does make me feel good about myself. I think about all the other things not on the list and feel so grateful for all the opportunities of life!

Write your own list down if you haven’t already done so…it feels great! Even surviving the bad stuff feels great when it’s on paper.

So turning 50 kicks into action some wonderful support systems that us Aussies enjoy. You have to remember I guess, that even though the process may not be pleasant, that you actually deserve some TLC after all you have achieved for your family, workplace and wider community. For us Aussies we get an invitation to go see our GP and get some tests done. For us girls it means possibly another dreaded Pap smear, but also the confronting Mamogram! There’s also a bowel test to look forward to for both sexes, while the guys have their own list of wonderful experiences to look forward to and that I am not going to go into.

Now you can just turn a blind eye, ignore these invitations to partake in such wonderful experiences and go on with life. I am so glad that I didn’t!!!

Off I went to the GP and off I went to get my first Mamogram. Imagination and stories that we have all heard inflamed my nervousness and I began crying as I prepared to get painfully squished by this cold machine. The Mamo Lady actually said to me, ‘you don’t have to do this you know, it’s purely voluntary’. For a brief second I felt like grabbing my clothes my clothes and running for the  nearest exit, screaming and crying.

Thank God, I didn’t! If I didn’t accept the invitation, I would still have cancer today!

Moral of the story….put yourself and your health first and get checked out, even when you think you are fit and healthy. I had no idea, Cancer was a complete surprise and if we hadn’t caught it early…..

Back to Work

So over the second half of term 3 and into this term 4, I have been gradually inserting myself back into my usual routine. I have been teaching my senior classes and the workload is mounting as we head towards their assessments and end of year events. The problem is I suffer with what I have coined PCB which is kind of slowing me down rather than rising me to the occasion. Don’t get me wrong, my students have been well cared for throughout the year, thanks to my wonderful colleague and close friend. I have ensured that apon my return that they have continued to receive all the love, care, preparation advise and time that I would have normally given them pre-C. The difference is, is that it takes so much longer for me to do it and I feel like I have significant brain malfunction for the want of a better description. We are back, what, 2 and a bit weeks and I am struggling to keep up with the demands. It’s not great!

It’s probably because I spent a long time on the couch, at home, not doing much, nor needing to think about anything other than what was happening to me, (not that a lot of that occurred either). Getting out of bed happened whenever I was ready to, not when the alarm rang at some ridiculously early hour, which isn’t really early by normal standards. Structured days were the ones where I had appointments at the hospital and my hubby took me to those. I relied on him to get me there and back. Not much thought or preparation required there. The hardest brain challenges during those days were following new crochet patterns, deciding when it was absolutely necessary to play fetch with the border collie and working out how to make NETFLIX work on our oldish TV. (That was not a great day by the way, we are lucky that the TV wasn’t thrown out the front door)!

A recent situation that definitely showed me how my ‘Wonder Woman’ status is no longer….a student of mine rang me the other day panicking cause they couldn’t get the school’s PA to work and I had to remind him that he was asking me to help over the phone with equipment that I haven’t had to think about for 7 months! We certainly got there in the end, but the experience left me exhausted, doubtful of any ability to function and frustrated with my PCB. I would normally have actually been there, helping them with setting it up myself, but couldn’t physically or emotionally cope! I would normally put my students’ needs before mine and dare I say, many times, in front of my families’ needs, as would the majority of fellow teachers I know and admire. But I don’t see that in myself anymore…it’s gone and I am sorry for its disappearance.

But anyway, for better or worse, I am back at work, trying my best for the sake of my students. (Part time work, part time leave). I am learning to listen to my body and my brain and know when it’s time to come and go. I am learning how to put myself first while doing what I do.     And not feeling bad about it….

Why Now and Why This Platform? You May Ask!

Well the answer to these questions are pretty simple. 2018 for me has been a pretty shitty year. I have kept it fairly private so many of my friends do not know the journey I have been on, but no more… I am ripping the band aid off and I’m doing it publically! This platform allows me to unpack what I need to when I need to, on a public forum, which should ensure that I keep my ‘p’s and q’s’ reasonably acceptable…hopefully…maybe not.

There’s not a lot of things I hate in this wonderful world, but I REALLY, REEEAAALLLY hate the ‘C’ word. Now if you are a friend of mine and you are beginning to freak out, don’t. I am fine, I’m 100% well and perfectly healthy but the answer to ‘why now’ is because I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. (Insert shock music and wobble eyes here).

Like I said before, I need to work through stuff to help me, which does sound very selfish, but I also want to share this stuff just in case it can help others. Don’t run away cause the whole blog is not going to be about cancer…some of it will be…but lots of it will be about other stuff too.

Remember…When something bad happens to you, you have 3 choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.

 

You won’t believe what I did after I logged off this arvo.

One thing I am very mindful of these days is what I look like.  You can imagine what it’s like as I walk out the door. Have I got everything?  My keys, my phone, my purse…do I need to put makeup on…etc. We all know what I mean don’t we? Well, perhaps I am new to this ‘post cancer’ way of life, let’s just say I didn’t complete this process!

It wasn’t until I was 5 minutes away from where I was teaching when I patted a certain area to check and guess what….I left my falsey at home! (Sorry Hubby when you read this but I did). I felt really uncomfortable, almost in tears and just wanted to turn around, go home, and make up some pathetic excuse. But if you know me you know I couldn’t. I faced the consequences, provided a laugh to a very stressed colleague and the kids didn’t see anything amiss…I don’t think.

Laughing at yourself and sharing is great isn’t it?

 

Hello There!

Welcome to my blog!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jo and I have been thinking about writing for awhile now and it’s about time! I am planning to use this platform as a place for me to share some things about my life in a public forum, where maybe it might just do me and my readers some good. It’s not all going to be pretty ‘fairy floss’ cause life is not like that at all. Everyone has their hills and valleys through life and I am finally ready to share some of mine!

Some of you may realise that this is a bit of a restart to my blogging venture. I am sorry for the hiccup, but, like most things, it’s best to get it right from the start rather than half way through!