The New Normal

kasey luby

I wish I’d been standing somewhere meaningful, but I wasn’t. I was on some grimy steps looking at traffic with the wind blowing in my face when the hammer dropped on my life.

“So… I will read you the results,” says the ZoomCare front desk associate who is freaked out. I can tell by the shake of her voice.

Ok… go for it.

“Ductal Carcinoma In situ..blahblahblah..malignant tumor.” …WHAT?!

“Did you just say malignant?”

“Yes, I’m sorry Ms. Luby,” says the ZoomCare front desk associate who is freaked out.

I switch off the phone and look down at the traffic.

I am 36 years old. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer at 34 and discovered it had advanced to stage 4 at 35. I’ve had a lot of surgeries and I take a lot of pills in the morning and night. I’m just like you, until my bloody nose starts up in a meeting or I end up having to take a nap on my lunch hour. This means there is no normal anymore on the bad days and on the good days you’d never know I’m sick.

I don’t talk about my illness much; I write about it. I don’t want people at work to see me as weak. Working is my normal and I treasure it. I don’t know how to communicate or have a dialogue with people about my illness so I partly live like I don’t have it. Work is one of those places where I can hide behind that mask, Work is a place where I can have tangible goals to reach and I need some of those right now. They keep me regular.

Personal goals, however, are a different story altogether. Like everyone, I don’t know how many spins of the globe I have left but it’s in my face a bit more than most people.

So my goals tend to fluctuate. On days when I have treatment, it’s to keep working. On days I haven’t had treatment in a while, it’s getting ahead at work. On days I need treatment and it’s unexpected (the ambulance), my goal is to stay alive.

My goals are a reflection of where I’m at in that day and have to be flexible.

I have a big goal for this New Year. I have no idea how I’m going to get this done but I have the determination to make it happen, no matter what I have to do. It’s rare that I have such drive, but I do. For this, I do.

Now how to get there? I’m hoping the experts can help me on that one. Left to my own devices, I’d pushpushpush until it happened with fear driving me like a football drill. Time has shown me the is not the way. That there is another way, that I can ask for help.

So the new me asks for help. The new me doesn’t push; she follows a path. And that path, wherever it leads, will be a learning opportunity.

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