I’ve never been a Good Things Come to Those Who Wait kind of person. I’m too impatient for that.
I’m more of a You’ll Never Know if you Don’t Try or a Don’t miss out on an Opportunity girl.
In middle school, I had a friend who wanted to try out for the cheer squad but was too nervous. I thought it was silly. What’s the worst that can happen? More people are cut than make the team… yes it sucks, but What Doesn’t Kill you Makes You Stronger. What if you don’t try out and never know. Not caring a bit about making the team but hoping to support my nervous friend, I tried out.
I made it. She didn’t.
It was awkward between my friend and me, but on the flip side, had I not tried I would never have known that I was good at something that never before crossed my mind.
In college I had a friend who would obsess over a boy for months and never let him know how she felt. If I was interested in a guy, I let him know. It stung if they didn’t return my feelings… sometimes really bad. But I didn’t want to be one of those people who ran into “the one that got away” at a reunion only to realize he felt the same all along.
I’ve always been a big sports fan. So, in my thirties, I was thrilled that my sons followed suit. Our yard was small, so I built a soccer goal with field goal posts out of PVC pipe. Come to find out, no combination soccer/football goal existed for backyard use. I met with a patent attorney and started the process of securing a patent. A year and a lot of money later, my patent was denied. My heart was broken and my dreams of selling an invention were dashed. But, what if I hadn’t done anything only to find Franklin or Wilson selling my goal years later? No regrets! I didn’t make millions off selling an idea but I did learn quite a bit about the process. Live and learn, right?
My life has been a mix of amazing blessings with heart breaking disappointments sprinkled throughout. My willingness to Go For It has given me both. One thing it hasn’t given me is wondering what if?
The week I found out that I was pregnant with my second son, I found a lump in my neck. I was sure it was just lymph nodes. But, when I asked my doctor, she immediately sent me to an endocrinologist saying it was not my lymph nodes but an extremely enlarged thyroid.
Though the doctor indicated he had never seen a thyroid growth so large in all his years of practicing, the fine-needle biopsy showed no signs of cancer. Due to the size, he strongly recommended I have the growth removed, but since I was pregnant, suggested I wait until I was 5 months into my pregnancy. My ObGyn agreed with the plan and though I wanted to wait until after I delivered, they assured me, cancer or not it was not only safe for my unborn baby but a necessity.
The surgery was successful and the surgeon found no signs of cancer during the removal.
I was beyond relieved. I had a very active two year old at home and was preparing for a newborn. I had a new lease on life after the scare and was ready to take on the world.
Then came a call I wasn’t expecting. The post-surgery pathology analysis revealed that it was indeed thyroid cancer and not just any cancer but at least stage two and it was so unique they couldn’t type it.
I spent the last couple months of my pregnancy trying to stay calm and relaxed and positive while a little chunk from my body traveled from Duke to the Mayo Clinic to Penn in search of an answer.
In hindsight, the details didn’t matter. Two weeks after delivering my precious baby boy, on my 33rd birthday, I was back in the hospital having my entire thyroid removed along with surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. A few weeks after that, my thyroid took a blast of radiation that forced me to be quarantined from my husband, my toddler and my newborn for 14 days. Those two weeks were spent alone at my parent’s house while my parents stayed at my house with my husband juggling the responsibilities of two little kids.
Thankfully, the radiation did not make me feel sick, so I was mostly lonely and bored.
I created my first Facebook account (remember this was back in 2007) and spent hours friending every person I had ever met in my life. I watched one of the two channels on my parent’s guest room TV (pre Netflix and Firestick). And I read. I read a lot. I discovered how easy it was to read books on my iPad. Just buy, read, finish, buy another (wish I had discovered the digital public library back then).
I didn’t read self-help, parenting or wellness books, I read pure fiction; mysteries, horror, fantasy. I read anything that took me to another world. It was escapism. I would fall so deep into the stories and wondered who the hell were the people who came up with this stuff? I remember telling myself that I could never be a writer. These stories were so long and intricate and OMG so many words!
My husband and my parents along with friends and neighbors gave me all the support I could ever need and my books gave me a way to forget. Just for a while.
It has been 15 years since my diagnosis, surgeries and treatments and I am still cancer free! I was able to have another child, race bmx bikes, play roller hockey and racquetball with a bunch of dudes, coach soccer and flag football, build my own website design company and still find time to dress like a cow and embarrass the crap out of my three boys.
I never stopped trying new things, things I never thought I could do. I failed. I failed a lot. But with every failure, with every experiment, with every loss I learned something new about myself.
I never thought I could write a novel. But, I wanted to write something that could be entertaining and just maybe help someone else escape for just a bit.
Just for fun.
Two years after I first gave novel writing a go, I have published two psychological suspense novels with another one coming out this summer (June 22, 2022).
Try something new.
Say Yes to What’s Next!
Don’t wait for an awakening or a crisis to live your life with no regrets.
You may fail, but you may surprise yourself by doing something you never thought possible.