Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Success on The Road To Happiness

"It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

I am declaring this morning a success.

After some thought I have gone full cycle returning to my “suzy homemaker mode.”

Luckily, I was able to come back around. My only regret is that I didn’t take the steroids earlier.

When I finally reached the point realizing that both routes of treatment may lead to my death the choice to be comfortable came very easily.

I’m sure you can all understand why I had difficulty writing during these last four months.

I never dreamed that my writings would turn into a journal of accepting the circle of life, and that “It’s not the years in a life, but the life in the years.”

This was just too much of a depressing dose of reality.

Going in to therapy this fall I did understand that I have reached the “do or die” stage of fighting.

What I did not realize are the blanket of emotions that come along with the acceptance that life has a plan of its own for you.

My greatest solace is knowing that I won’t pass before my purpose is served.

My greatest fear is a purposeless idle life of absorbing and taking.

I understand that people have their opinions of me as a selfish human being.

Judgments, in my opinion, are the harshest aspect of human nature.

It’s so much easier to condemn than to accept the truth: that the last couple years I’ve been making a contingency plan for my family to exist without me, and that, people’s basic emotions and coping are essentially the same.

If I wasn’t me, I’d be very scared of my life too.

This contingency plan involved others who would hopefully cover the love and consistency that I could not provide.

Luckily, now I can.

The goal is for me to provide the best possible environment and experience, not only for my family, but every one who encounters me.

For me, that means embracing I am a house wife. I want to make the home a haven for my husband and child.

When I started thinking about embracing this crazy, anti-feminist idea, I realized I really had no idea how a housewife was to behave.

The housewife went out of vogue over a generation ago when women’s liberation made it into the main stream.

I grew up during the era where woman could have absolutely everything they wanted: success, children, marriage.

With the world experiencing one major readjustment in these past couple years, I would say it’s safe to assume we headed down the wrong path.

I’m taking it back, and guessing the secret to peace is probably much simplier than we all think.

That is probably the grand joke of life.

We all believe that happiness is lurking somewhere foreign when everything foreign is just a distraction hoping to provide the same outcome: happiness.

So I’m declaring today a success since Xander and Jon left the house relatively happy.

Xander is an incredibly meticulous, detail oriented child.

He likes his mornings to go a very specific way, but as much as he does the same exact tasks in the same exact order every morning there is always one variable. . . . me.

Yes, I’m the big, crazy, chaotic variable in his life.

I encourage him to have fun with it, to revel in the changes that each day brings, but unless his morning goes according to the schedule I set forth years ago it’s possible all hell could break loose for the rest of the day.

Today was a success since we were able to accomplish every morning task to the minute with the finish line having Xander waiting outside the locked door of the school at 8 am on the dot.

If we arrive at 8:01 to school, we are late.

If the bus manages to show up before he does, his whole day is off.

I can only conjecture what happens from 8am-8:15 when school actually starts from pieces of what X’s teacher tells me.

He gets to the classroom and takes his time getting organized. Ms. Thurber gives him a job to do. He goes about his task for the morning and greats everybody coming to school.

He is the host with the most.

And that was a portion of my successful morning.

My favorite success though was the fact that I was not afraid at any point that I would lose my breath and my poor child would find me dead in the snow from over exerting myself.

This was the alternative that was on Xander’s mind.

After I woke him up in the morning and had gotten him settled into the bath he looked at me and said, “Mom, when you go to the hospital, remember to bring one of the crystals.”

Santa brought X an arrangement of crystals, but his favorite came in a pouch labeled, “healing crystals.” He has three that apparently he has plans for.

What those plans are, I don’t know.

I’ll make sure I keep my crystal with me tomorrow when mom and I travel to Boston to see a pulmonologist.

The second success was aiding Heather’s family in their great escape from Charlestown, NH.

None of the 15 or so people (I lost count) that were living in my parent’s house for the past week realized that New England would be getting a weekend long snow storm.

Our brother, Pat, brought the storm to The Wellington’s attention just like any brother would, when there was nothing possible anything could be done about it: at 7pm Friday night, just as the storm had started.

I would say this is the point that all hell broke loose. The anxiety level shot through the air with just the idea of the impending storm.

Heather’s family was poised to stay for family Christmas and leave at 3pm the next day, and that was what was going to happen, until the family Christmas scheduled for 12pm didn’t start until 2pm.

When the Wellington’s tried to make their grand escape around 4:30pm, they made it to the borders of South Charlestown before turning around.

All the redneck’s in the area had apparently declared the weekend a holiday, and hunkered down in their warm houses next to their fires.

There was not a plow in site.

Heather’s family tried to leave twice more before declaring the whole experience “worse than a Steven King novel” where “nothing exists other than the pit that is Charlestown, NH” and deciding if they couldn’t move back home to Natick, they would move to our home.

I tried not to look too excited, but I had fun taking the kids out sledding, even if Pierce did decide that maybe the better option would be to walk to Natick.

If an outsider had seen us, they would have thought we were the picture perfect rural LL Bean family enjoying yet another snow storm.

However, If we added subtitles, they may have said “Two year old contemplates walk back to civilization” or “Mom goes insane over three day snow storm.”

They, now, are happily back to their own lives away from here, and I’m just starting again, renewed.

Yet another simple success on the road to happiness.


Anonymous said...

1. No one would ever call you selfish. Selfless, yes, but selfish never.

2. I have a masters degree and have been a housewife for 17 years. Yes, I am proud to be one. I stayed home to take care of my kids and looking back would have made the same choice. How else would my kids ever get transportation to after school activities?

3. I love crystals too. And rosaries

4. May you find success and encouragement on your road to happiness.

Anonymous said...

Hillary ... I suggest that being what makes you happy is a good thing ... regardless of title. There is nothing dishonorable about being a housewife or mother or artist or nurse or president. It takes all flavors, not to mention that we wiill all perform a variety of different roles at one time or another during our lives.

What is important, is that the path you choose be one that makes your life full. And as someone who has a little insight into why you've made some of the choices you have & if, as you suggest, others think of you as selfish, then I suggest they need to throttle back.

I don't believe anyone has the right to sit in judgment of you until they have walked in your shoes ... I'd suggest noone who has looked over the precipice down deep into that big dark abyss ... who has faced the kinds of challenges you have, would ever think of you as selfish. No, I suggest they would likely regard you as being very brave & doing the best you can.

You have chosen a tough path ... which is to deal publicly with life threatening issues & sharing the struggles with those who choose to read your writings. If someone wishes to judge you harshly for that, I suggest they just stop reading. The rest of us consider what you do a gift ... you have invited us into see a very real struggle ... & in the process, you have exhibited wisdom beyond your years.

I for one, read your Blog regularly as do many of my friends. We've been honored that you have shared all the emotions that come with the challenges of a life threatening illness.

So I say, as I have so often in the past ... you go girl!! Don't let a few critical words distract you. Continue to get up in the morning ... continue to live the best life you can ... & don't let the naysayers distract you.

And lest anyone think I'm just some bleeding heart ... let me share that I spent 4 years in the Marines, 2 of which were in Vietnam. And I am in awe of your bravery. You make me proud girl!!


Valerie said...
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Valerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerie said...

Hilary, I don't know who is out there calling you selfish but I think they're mistaking survival for selfishness. And they will get it someday. Sadly.

From one housewife to another, you rock! xoxo

Katie said...

Between Pat's nonchalant mention of the weather and The Wellington Breakdown, I've had my fit of the giggles for the day, namely because I can picture both so vividly. Love you!

~Katie St. M.~

DebA said...

It is so warm and comforting to be with family and make their worlds happy. What is really special about what you wrote was that you clearly notice and enjoy the simplest of the days events. Very special, like you. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

一起加油吧 ..................................................