“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.