Welcome to your home by the sea……those are the words I heard two years ago when I packed up my bags, abandoning everyone and everything I knew and moved to San Francisco. Since then, every morning that I wake up I have thought to myself “help me someone! Let me out of here!”
One week ago yesterday I had my sixth and hopefully final chemo treatment. This past week has been the week from hell! I can’t begin to tell you how sick I’ve been. I won’t go in to detail by boring you with all the details, I’ll just say that recovery has been a challenge. I’ve prayed a lot, I’ve cried out loud a lot, I’ve felt sorry for myself a lot and I’ve reflected and wished my life was different a lot. Yesterday I managed to walk to my monthly Professional Women’s group luncheon. I was having a conversation with one of the ladies and I shared how I had prayed for so long for the doors to finally open so I could finally go home and be reunited with my children. Her reply struck a cord with me. She said “maybe your prayer hasn’t been answered because it’s God’s will that you are here to receive the medical treatment you need to get healthy. You’re not any good to your children or family if you’re not well”. As soon as she said that it reminded me of my dear friend and attorney, Garth Dano. I will never forget the day we were standing at the courthouse. I had just been released from Sundown for alcohol abuse and I had lost custody of my kids. Those of you who know my story know that my last drunk was three fifths, a bottle of wine and a half gallon of whiskey. I had burned my eyelashes off and I had cut my arms, legs & face with a knife. I looked at Garth that day with tears in my eyes and asked “Garth, what am I going to do now?” His response was “honey you’re rock bottom. There’s no where to go from here but up. You’re no good to those kids until you’re good to yourself.” I’ve never forgotten those words. I picked myself up out of the gutter and a year later after a lot of hard work, determination and sobriety, I got my kids back. As I walked home I kept thinking about that day along with Garth’s words. I reflected how I had beat my alcoholism and went on to get my kids back. I couldn’t help but wish I was reliving that same experience only I had beat cancer and I was finally in my car on my way home. When I got home I went to the mailbox to get my mail. I had a letter from the Columbia Basin Herald. I opened it up and found a letter Garth had written me and was accidentally mailed to the Herald. When I read it, I began to cry. It was ironic I had been thinking about Garth and to receive such a moving letter from my my dearest and most loyal friend only gave me hope to believe I can get through yet another challenge again. And soon I’ll be with my kids again.
I chose to share this song today because I can relate to the lyrics. Like the song for the past couple of years I’ve prayed those same words “help me someone! Let me out of here!” I also have spent the past couple of years “dreaming of the time I was free. So many years ago before I heard the words welcome to your home by the sea!” My life has always been an open book. I’ve never shied away from sharing the intimate details of the ups and downs of my personal life. I’ve shared my struggles in my relationships. I’ve shared my struggles overcoming alcohol/Ritalin addiction, anorexia/bulemia, divorce, custody battles and these past two years I’ve shared my very intimate struggles and downfalls since I arrived in San Francisco on social media. Whether it was on Facebook and now on my latest venture blogging. Like the song “I’ve relived my life in what I tell you”. Not long ago a very dear friend of mine offered some advice. She said that while my stories were entertaining, maybe sharing such intimate details wasn’t in my best interest. I have to agree. I don’t share my story as a way to entertain people. Rather I share because my hope is those who hear or read my story will learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes themselves.
Life is hard. I haven’t been a saint. I’ve taken the wrong path many times in my life. I’ve made some really bad choices and the consequences have been overwhelming at times. Believe me when I say, I have many regrets. If I had a do over, I certainly wouldn’t have done many of the things I’ve done. Today I’m fighting cancer. I can’t change that. I’m trapped here in my “home by the sea” and everyday I’m praying to get out of here and go home and be reunited with my children. However going home is not the case today but like Garth said so many years ago “I’m no good to my kids until I’m good to myself”. With that said I have to get healthy and hopefully history will repeat itself and like many years ago I will be with my kids again. Soon!!!
If you’re reading this today and you find yourself struggling or you’re thinking the grass is greener on the other side, take a lesson from me. It’s not. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes the easy way out only complicates things and makes everything worse. Like I said, I’m not writing to entertain you, I’m writing and sharing to encourage you to take a good look at my story and learn from it because if my story helps anyone then all this crap I’ve been through and wrote about was worth it.