Introduction

I am not a writer, lets start with that. My name is Veronica I am a 31 year old mother of a beautiful 3 year old girl and we live in my home in sunny South Florida. What perplexed me to start this blog is my need to get out of my own head. My life now versus what I’m about to tell you has shifted drastically. I’m a cancer survivor but you see just 3 years ago after having my daughter, I had landed my DREAM job.

I grew up in a modest home and honestly I did really crappy in high school not because I wasn’t smart I actually was in all honors classes and managed to keep my grades up between A’s and B’s and occasionally there would be a C. My problem was I thought I was smarter then everyone and while I kept up my grades and thought I was being a good student. I was also very good at skipping school. I was so good I did it so much that my senior year I was told I basically hadn’t actually attended school enough to graduate. Who knew you needed a certain amount of hours in actual class to graduate?! Not that my grades sucked or that I didn’t do my home work just that I wasn’t in school enough hours for them to grant me my high school diploma. This was in the early 2000 and my poor immigrant parents didn’t have a clue I had been doing this until they hear the news about my graduation being stalled. To my parent’s dismay I said “ok well I’ll just go get my GED” I told them I refused to do another year in high school just to make up hours.

So… yes I’m that girl, I’m a high school drop out. I had worked since I was 13 first at a food truck on the weekends with my friend Kelly we pulled in like $150 or $200 a weekend which for a 13 year old to me that was AMAZING. In high school I upgraded to being a waitress at this little mom and pop restaurant down the street from my house and I worked part time after school to have my own money and to me it was good money too for someone my age. So when I dropped out my father (who is my stepfather but you will always hear me refer to him as dad that is who he is to me) sat me outside and asked me what I wanted to do. I said to him I’ll just work and I have no idea what to do with my life. He went ahead tallied up the total amount of the costs it took to run our house and then he divided it by 3 – 1. himself, 2. my mother, 3. my grown up self. The number was far larger then I expected. So option two was to go to school and do something good with my life. Needless to say I opted for option 2. I enrolled in the local community college and did about a year there before applying to other universities. I ended up going to Florida Gulf Coast University  which was about 2 hours away from home and in 4 and a half years graduated with a bachelors degree in accounting.

Many things happened in those 4 years, found a husband, lost a husband, lived alone for the first time ever, lived the college experience I’d only seen in movies and was proud of myself for doing so. I’m going to skip thru quite a few things to get to the point of why I want to write all this. After graduating college I decided to go back home try and find a good paying job and start an adult life. This actually took a while but I ended up landing a Banker job. I landed this job at JP Morgan Chase and I was super excited and really loved the team I worked with. My role as a Banker introduced me to the job of a Financial Advisor. As a licensed banker I was teamed up with a Financial Advisor to help my branch’s investment numbers grow. Long story short the minute I met the financial advisor I would be working with and understood the work they where there to do. I was just obsessed with becoming one of them. I worked so hard that it normally takes a new banker at least a year to show results and prove themselves before applying for a role. I spoke about it so much and really worked my butt off at a location that was not wealthy by any means and I still managed to make things happen. So after 9 months as a personal banker I was offered the position of Financial Advisor. Of course I took it. This was one of those moments where it really is a meaningful moment. Your hard work finally paid off.

5 years I spent as a financial advisor at the company which I am completely grateful for. I have nothing bad to say about the firm but I wanted more. Morgan Stanley one of the most prestigious investment firms came calling and offered me that dream job. I prayed so hard and cried thank you to god when I received the offer to transition to Morgan Stanley. To me it felt like going to the super bowl; at least in my heart that’s how it felt. About 9 months into working at Morgan Stanley I became ill my health started to not cooperate and  I was missing work like crazy. I kept feeling sick. I was at the doctor’s all the time and I just was not myself. My blood work kept coming back with issues but multiple issues. So we would target one thing then another and another. I’m speeding thru this because basically the root of all evil was not found at this time. I became severely depressed was on anti depressants and made the choice to leave my dream job. Fast forward 8 months, I’m not feeling well still I have my good days and bad but my depression had been taken care of with meds. I was at a new job and things started to look up again. It was July 7th, 2016 when I found out the news that I had endometrial cancer.

Here is where my life got REALLY interesting…. the day I found out I called NOONE. It was right after 4th of July and I had just spend a wonderful weekend with my family and friends. I wanted to speak to the oncologist more and to get more information as to what it all meant before telling anyone. You see I tell you so much at first about my upbringing and the things I’ve been through prior to this so you can get a good understanding of me. My smarty pants, success driven, bad at failing, I can do it all regardless of the obstacles mental state. I’ve always wanted to strive to be greater than my parents wanted me to be. Bigger than even I thought I could be. That was me. That was me and now I’m not sure what me I am. I’m starting this blog so I can express myself in a way that I can’t do in person. I have a hard time reaching out to family, to friends even to my parents, because many times in my prior hardships I just figured it out. Me, the drop out that put herself through college. The person that became and hit the very top of what she wanted to achieve. It’s hard to take those traits and humble yourself and if there is anything I’ve learned not just by becoming a mother but mostly what Cancer teaches you…. is a new kind of broken.

Cancer doesn’t break you in the way that disappointing your parents does. It’s not like your first heart break or even going through a divorce and starting over. Even when you work really hard without recognition without notice without a pat on the back and you feel defeated. It is just not that same defeat. I hate that word Defeat. I survived cancer … and I will be telling you about that. But for me this blog and what I want from it is a way to express the things I don’t want to call my mother and tell her. It’s about the moments I didn’t and don’t ask for help when I need it.  This is a way for me to help me move forward. To be ok with the bad days and to help me stay constant in appreciating the good days. Since this is only an introduction. I’ll leave it at that. My emotional health journal 🙂 My life, my perceptions and then all the interruptions.

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Helping the Guardian

I had this great long story about my first conversation with my oncologist. What exactly it all meant and what I was going to be going through treatment wise. The ins and outs and the specific definitions exc. of chemo treatments and radiation with all the fancy medical terms. But the truth is I didn’t create this blog to talk about medical terms. This is my way to express feelings that I have just suppressed so I’ll make that part of all this short.

Oncologist:

“Treatment recommendation is 6 rounds of chemo therapy (combo of Taxol & Carboplatin)  we will decide on radiation after chemo and we need to start right away so…. I suggest we start next week on Tuesday.” How life changes in a month.

Well, this oncology visit occurred about a week and a half after finding out about the cancer. At this point I still hadn’t said much to anyone. So post this visit my mind is in complete self preservation mode for not just myself but how can I keep everyone I may need to involve still normal. My boyfriend Matt, my daughter, parents & my  job. I felt this was my “first circle”  like in a ripple effect they would be the immediate ones impacted by my change and for me my “first circle” to immediately guard. What I mean by this is. .. these are the first things I thought of protecting from this crappy cancer rock tossed in my happy pond of water already generating ripple effects.

When I got home that day I told Matt… He asked a bunch of questions that I answered in basic terminology gave him all the medical documents and told everything is fine to not freak him out anymore as his mother had passed away some time ago from cancer. I told him it was nothing to worry too much about that we found it very early and that my doctor is very optimistic. Not much needed to change but that I would be doing chemo and that my mother would help me things and the baby (mind you I had yet to speak with my parents of anything) so for him to not worry himself much that everything is fine. I had it figured out.

Next day, I told my boss. He had me contact HR and let them know as well , I said I would need to be out a few days for the month and a half. I stressed that I would continue to come to work the day after chemo that I just needed approval to be out on chemo days. I would rest the rest of the day of chemo day as I had scheduled my treatments in the morning.  So I could feel sick and sleep and the next day I was sure I’d be fine and well enough to go to work. We all agreed and I had taken care of adjusting my work schedule, life already a little different damn this darn crappy cancer rock and it’s ripples.

My parents found out the day I spoke with my job. I told them what I had found out… my dad immediately said that I had endometriosis (he’s old school Cuban) changed my diagnosis the minute I told him lol. Which then I went on to explain that it’s quite a bit different… as it’s CANCER in the endometrial not quite the same thing. I think they where mainly shocked and didn’t quite understand what I was saying. So… I kind of just stopped talking and let them know I’m going to be going through some treatments and left. The next day my father calls me and tells me they spent the night on google trying to find more information on what I told them and they understand now what I have. This is when I finally told them I will be doing 6 treatments of chemo and I’ll just need a little extra help from mom. I’ll probably need her to drop me off and pick me up the days I have treatment but I didn’t want her to stay with me because she takes care of my daughter and I just wanted them to go home and not have Isabella in the chemo area. I even said I could UBER if I felt I shouldn’t be near Isa after treatment. No place for a child. I also let them know I’d still be working and things would just be a little different on chemo days.

So once “circle one” was informed. I asked my best of friends and my closest family members which I label as “circle two” (not because they are secondary more because they wouldn’t be impacted daily by my cancer needs) to a dinner. All the girls together and basically went through the whole thing all over again. I kept stating to keep calm that we had a great plan and that everything would be ok. They being my favorite ladies EVER said all the right things and worried about me. They where great and offered help and for me to call anytime or anything we needed to just let them know that they would obviously be there.

This ladies and gentlemen was my master plan:

I could have “chemo day” where I would feel crappy as per my doctor’s warnings and tired so I would sleep right after treatment until the next day if needed. So the day after chemo I’ll be fine and I’ll go to work take care of my job. My mom will only really have to take on dropping me off at the treatment center and pick me up. As for Matt I requested nothing change that he go to work and go on about our day regularly. Just not on “chemo day” that day I would be tired so he would just need to help with the baby and dinner or house stuff but just for that day.

This plan worked perfectly in my head I had it all planned so I wouldn’t really have to inconvenience anyone or make life more difficult for others. I felt I was strong enough to just stick to the plan and not have to let anyone worry too much or change routines because of me.  I could handle this cancer… my doctors and I had a plan and I was sticking to that, we would get done with these treatments and I’ll go on just like I have always done.

This plan … this master mind of mine… didn’t quite work out very well by treatment round 2. I started to struggle but I just HAD to stick to my plan… this is my plan damn it and I’ve never asked for help! Cancer will not change me …

It didn’t just change me… it’s made me see myself to my very core… the good, the bad, the ugly and even the stuff you don’t like to admit.

CHEMO SESSION ROUND 2 …This is where my battle with myself started… Stay tuned.