“What we have is time. And what we do is waste it, waiting for those big spectacular moments. We think that something’s about to happen — something enormous and news-worthy — but for most of us, it isn’t. This is what I know: the big moments are the tiny moments. The breakthroughs are often silent, and they happen in the most unassuming of spaces.”
(Shauna Niequist, Why You Should Stop Waiting for Life to Be Perfect)
Since my last post, I “celebrated” my one-year diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Crazy, isn’t it? Sometimes it feels like just yesterday, other times it seems much longer. Two major surgeries, radiation, physical therapy, medication adjustments, ER visits, etc.–a crazy year it’s been.
Law school orientation was last week, and it brought an array of emotions. Last year, the first day of orientation was when I deferred school because of my recent diagnosis. It was the strangest deja vu, as you can imagine. The format was the same as the year before, and I remembered vividly the break in the schedule when I went to the Dean, made the decision to defer and took the train home, feeling discouraged and feeling like a failure.
This time, when that break came in the schedule, I remained in my seat and I a certain sense of accomplishment swept over me. It may just be the beginning of my law school career, but it is the beginning of a journey that seemed so distant for this year.
After the third day of orientation, Andrew and I went to Shedd Aquarium and enjoyed live jazz for the evening. While taking in the beauty of the aquarium and listening to the music, I was suddenly overwhelmed by it all. I realized just how different my life is now than it was a year a go. Not just in the oh-you-have-cancer kind of way, but in every facet imaginable.
Last year at this time, I frantically moved across the country, traveled around the summer for several weddings, rode my bike from Cincinnati to D.C., made one friend at the pre-orientation law school mixer (thanks Laurel ) and was diagnosed with cancer. It was a whirlwind heading into orientation week, and I was terrified. I didn’t know anything about the law. I didn’t know how my health would pan out. I didn’t know how to navigate Chicago. I didn’t have many friends and was too shy to really reach out. I started questioning where I was supposed to be, who I was supposed to be and if I was kidding myself with becoming a lawyer.
Yes, this year was challenging– yes, my health comes and goes, but you know what I have? I have a family who will do anything for me. I have a God who remains steadfast with me. I have more friends from school than a girl could ever hope for–friends who stick by me during every health season and act as family. I also have one law class completed, and I actually believe I did very well (we’ll see when the grade comes back ;)). I have favorite “spots” in Chicago and have fallen even more in love with this city.
When I realize every blessing I have been given this year, I am overwhelmed.
At the completion of orientation week, I met Professor Walters at the Dean’s Welcome Reception. I would have had Walters last year for Contracts, and throughout the year, he has been a huge supporter and encourager via email and Twitter, without even meeting me in person. It was great to finally meet him and talk with him for a while. I updated him on my current health and the unclear future. We talked about what it is like to accept my “new normal” and to push ahead through this year. He said he thought it was important I felt connected to the institution while I wasn’t there–and by his efforts I can say I truly did. He encouraged me to keep in touch and said I’ll always be part of his section, even though I was placed in a different section this year :).
Neck scan and next steps
This Wednesday, August 28, I have another neck ultrasound to see if they can find the remaining cancerous tissue. I will have the results and talk of further steps the following Wednesday, September 4. This potentially will tell me if we’re looking at another surgery in the near (or distant) future and/or alternative treatments (since radiation seems to not be working any more). If you think of me in the next couple weeks, please say a short prayer over these two important days. I am determined to go through this semester as planned, and I am concerned my situation may interfere with school again.
It’s your move
I am so excited to be on the road toward fighting human trafficking and modern-day slavery at the legal level. International Justice Mission released this new video, which pumps me up even more. Please take a moment to watch, and if for no other reason, see myself and my friend at minute 1:15
Freed people, free people. Let’s do this.