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One Week Away

“There is nothing selfish about self-care and self-love. We cannot give what we do not have. Enrich your life and you will be life-giving to others. Your contribution to the world matters, but you can only transmit genuine positive energy when you are in a positive place yourself.”

– Angel Chernoff

 

With only one week until my surgery, it is time for me to stop crying and acting scared. The pity that I have received has most likely reached its maximum. I have an unbelievable amount of support from my fiancée, family, friends, strangers, and the community that I love dearly. However, when it is all said and done, the most important performance is me stepping into that surgery room, looking the surgeon straight in the eyes, and allowing him full access to my brain. In doing so, I am beginning my journey on taking care of myself. Not only for selfish reasons, but because I truly desire to get back on my feet in order to love, inspire, support, and give back to everyone around me.

This is how self-care and self-love work. Trust me, these two ideas are not my specialty since, most of the time, I try to answer that text as soon as possible; or I drop everything that I am doing in order to help the person in front of me; or I overbook myself because I despise the word “no”. If I was not diagnosed back in 2014, I would have most likely said that I am a “giver” not a “taker” and that makes me the best type of person around. However, this cancer has taught me so much – including the importance of self-care and self-love.

Yesterday, I went to City Hall to say goodbye (more like “see you soon”) to all of my colleagues who I actually consider family first, and then colleagues. I am now on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means I am out of work because of my medical condition. Back in 2014, I was having seizures at work almost daily, but I did not care because I had to crunch some numbers for an external company that most likely did not even know my first name. Do you see the difference there? If not, allow me to continue. Leah and I canceled our wedding this summer in order to focus on my health and cruise through these treatments as smoothly as possible.

Hopefully you do not think that I write this with a big smile on my face. This was all depressing to me, maybe it still is. Having to take a leave from my employer that I love so much at 27 years old? Sitting in my sweats on a Wednesday afternoon because I fear of having another seizure at work? Canceling our wedding and not being able to see my beautiful fiancée walk down the aisle in her amazing gown? This last one saddens me the most. But Leah, we will have this wedding someday, I promise. You will look so amazing, and it will all be worth it.

I apologize for not getting to the point in a timely manner. But hopefully you are able to pick it up as I went on. I am doing all of these things because, if I do not, perhaps I can finish the sprint, but there is no possible way that I would complete the marathon. And that is the lesson I am attempting to show here. Do not serve others from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. You may seem like a hero at first, but it will catch up to you at some point. Be sure to take care of yourself first every now and then. Wake up and try a ten minute meditation, and then go to work. Come home for lunch and simply sit and eat, without watching television. Say no to one of the office meeting invitations (obviously not all of them) because you need time to yourself.

 

There is an idea that I now live by, and it says:

If you do not take care of yourself, you will be useless to everyone else.

 

Stay Mindful.

16 Comments

  1. I could read your writings over and over! They are so inspiring. I am so proud of you I could burst lol. You are so strong, it’s ok to be scared but I am so hopeful for you, you are my hero and a warrior. I look forward to the day you and your beautiful Leah will have your fairytale wedding! Remember my darling you are my heart.💕❤️ Grandmoo

  2. JoAnn Curley JoAnn Curley

    God Bless you Paul I love how you described yourself as a lil chubby but u left out adorable u see i drove ur bus when u went to St Anns nd i can remember your little legs going like crazy to cross the street to get on the bus! You were one of my best well behaved riders (ur lil brother too). As i think back i wonder why this kid has done so well why God why Paul why now all I know is God only gives us what we can handle hummmm makes me wonder this crazy mystery. Ill be thinking nd praying for you all next week nd cry when you have it relieves stress nd laugh when you can because thats the best medicine nd stay positive your a tough kid! With love Your Bus driver JoAnn

  3. Dean Salah Dean Salah

    Awesome Paul!! Stay strong my man, you had an entire city pulling for you when you were lacing them up for GHS but now you have so many more pulling for you and we know you are gonna win this next battle!! My thoughts and more importantly my prayers are with you!! God bless

    • Thank you so much Dean! Before you know it, I will be back and ordering an eggs benedict at my favorite breakfast restaurant! You are an amazing man – I am so glad I have you by my side in this battle. I hope all is well with you and yours.

  4. judy parisi judy parisi

    So glad you wrote this blog as this is a testament of who you are not what you can do for everyone else. I too am so proud of you and I know you are the most courageous person I have ever met. When we think that the world is going to crash over us, you bring us on a journey that sometimes be scary as hell. We know we have to go thru the storm to come out the other side stronger & wiser. You provide all that love you with the fierceness of the strongest will that I know everything is going to be okay. I also know that someday in the near future that your lovely Leah and you will have that beautiful wedding with no hesitations. It will be a wedding like no other!! Your biggest fan-love you always aunt judy

  5. Nina Nina

    Good Morning Paul:
    So i read your this blog last night, and as usual your words touch my heart. When i woke this morning i sat down for my 10 minutes of meditation, at your suggestion, I devoted it to you and me. I read from a small book given to me when i was dealing with my dads illness, called Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Today’s message, April 5: Let me fill you with my love, joy and Peace. these are Glory-gifts, flowing from my living Presence. Though you are an earthen vessel, i designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness ins not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly. As you go through this day, trust Me to provide the strength you need moment by moment. Don’t wast energy wondering whether you are adequate for today’s journey. My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle whatever this day may bring. That is the basis for your confidence! In quietness(spending time alone with Me) and confident trust(relying on My sufficiency) is your strength. “Corinthians 4:7, Isaiah 30:15.
    I don’t know if this will bring you comfort today, but it did for me. You are strong, maybe your body doesn’t feel strong right now, but your heart and soul are strong. And your family and friends are strong. Be well today. Sending love…your friend Nina

    • Thank you so much Nina. This message has helped me so much. It helps me to get through this week and beyond. I am glad you are enjoying the blog!

      • Nina Nina

        Hey any chance you want to paint a bowl for the Empty Bowl Fundraiser for the Gloucester Food pantry. I’ve been involved with it for the past few years. I dont know if you paint, but your words are pretty good, and i’ve always loved words on pottery.I actually just did some fun mugs with words… I can bring you what you need, brushes and bowls? it might be fun. let me know…I also asked your mom if she wants to come over i have a friends paint night tomorrow, maybe she’ll come.

  6. Nina Nina

    978-360-0496 is my cell, text me if you want to give it a try. And i hope today is a good day for you.

  7. Marianne Marianne

    May God be with you and watch over the surgeon’s hands as you go through this latest challenge. We don’t understand His plans, but He puts us all in situations for a purpose. We may not like it and it may just darn suck, but it is His plan. We choose how we respond, and you have chosen a route that provides wisdom, courage, and help for those who are fortunate enough to know you or read your posts.

    You continue to provide hope and incredible insight in this battle, and I am so personally fortunate to know you.

    Keep on writing and sharing. We will keep on praying! Hoping to get to take you out to breakfast at Dean’s place when we get back from FL.

  8. Jeanine M. Harris Jeanine M. Harris

    Paul I am so saddened to read of your relapse and pending surgery…and the postponement of your wedding.

    Remember what mindfulness teaches us….let the thoughts come in and go out…do not grab them and let them “take over” our thought process. We all only have today and we live it to the fullest.

    I too was (and still am) a “hero child”….trying to be there for everyone and everything…and it is exhausting. We need to slow down and just breathe and be with our wondrous creator. As St. Paul (interesting you are named after him)….”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”…we just need to be mindful of his voice and his wisdom.

    Will be praying for your next week (what day is your surgery) and in the coming days for a speedy recovery and return to work.
    Jeanine

  9. Rosalie Nicastro Rosalie Nicastro

    Paul,
    You are the so beautiful inside and out. God will be with you and your doctors during the surgery. We are praying for you. You are one in a million! God Bless You and Your Family!
    Rosalie Nicastro

  10. Barbara Barszcz Barbara Barszcz

    As your first grade teacher I thought I taught you a lot, truth be told when I read your blog I realize how much I learn from you! Prayers and best wishes for you always!
    Barbara Barszcz

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