moving forward

Well it’s been an intense few days.  I have no idea why I intentionally add such stress and pressure to my life.  I knew my designation exam was October 2nd, yet I still chose to go “live” with all the health stuff on October 1st.  Regardless of removing myself from technology, I knew that my attention wouldn’t be on the exam.  Le sigh.  I guess the good news is that the exam is over and now I have a few months to wait for marks.

I have felt at peace with the health stuff over the past few weeks – from what I kept telling myself, truly at peace.  Then Thursday happened.  I was nervous, unsure, and scared to go public with any of it.  I kept on telling myself that so many people (and women) in this world go through so much worse than I had been through.  I started to realize that a large part of worried was that it wasn’t about what I’d been through, it was about that I’d hid it from everyone.  Many people in my life see me as a driven, career-focused, community-oriented, young woman.  They see me, I smile… I pretend everything is fine.  Life isn’t fine… but it’s getting better.  I am making progress every day and for that I’m thankful.

On Thursday night, I stayed up until almost 4am editing the blog post… I wanted it to be perfect.  I wanted to ensure that my message came across the way I had intended.  The last thing I wanted was for someone to say “I’m sorry”… I wanted people to reflect on what I’d written and make positive change in their lives.  Whether that means you are a woman who is going to TOUCH. LOOK. CHECK more often, or a friend who will truly offer support the next time someone is in need, or you are going to donate your money or time to a cause that is relevant to you.  My primary goal in writing my story was to make a difference.

A lot happened during the last few months – there is much more to the story than what I have written, but throughout my writing, I realized that health was the most important.  All the other “life” stuff was no longer important; all the garbage just reinforced to me that I needed to come out of this situation on top.

I published the blog post, sent off a quick email to close friends with the link, and forced myself to sleep.

Friday was overwhelming.  The last time I shed so many tears was during the unknown diagnosis weeks of June and July.  These tears were different though.  They were not filled with angst, fear, and stress.  By publishing my health battles, I made myself vulnerable.  My tears came because I didn’t realize how much love and support I truly have.  As confident as I can be, I have been scarred from the past.  I have been screwed over quite a bit in the past few years.  I have been backstabbed, hurt by friends, and not supported in so many facets of my life.  I just keep on telling myself that no one else matters… “Jill, you are what’s important.”  Keep focused, make progress, and eventually everything will come together.  For years I have been waiting for a support system and I’m finally thrilled to say that I think I have one.  It’s unfortunate that it took this situation to make me realize that.

I received a phone call late Friday afternoon.  Tony, Marketing Manager at Melrose, had called to confirm Ming as my venue for “Pretty in Pink: A Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit.”  I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Little did Tony know, but this was just the distraction I needed to once again re-focus and look toward the future.  I have a short three weeks to plan a memorable event, a glamorous pink wonderland.

In less than a day, I had 307 views of my blog post – my highest view count to date.  I will admit (even though I was supposed to be studying), I did consume myself in the messages of support, inspiration, and love.  Just thinking about a few of them brings tears to my eyes.  It’s funny how in situations like this your true friends always come to light.  I have read every email, text message, blog post comment, and Twitter mention or message.  I have absorbed every ounce of good everyone had to say.  I have been surprised over how honest people are – and potentially, so in tune with who I am as a person.  A huge thank you to Shannon Hilton Photography for utilizing Rethink Breast Cancer as the charity of choice for her recent photography promotion.

What do I plan to take away from this experience?  I fully intend to live in and cherish the present.  I have realized how important it is to surround yourself with good people; people who truly have your back.  In order to achieve my hopes and dreams, I am re-prioritizing quite a few people in my life.  I naturally put a lot of effort into both relationships and life.  I need to be surrounded by people who truly do the same.  I am very goal driven – and function best when I have something to look forward to.  In the short term, I’m competing in KPMG’s “What Makes a Top Employer” video contest (ends October 18th), hosting “Pretty in Pink: A Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit” at Ming (October 21st), attending the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan (early November), and I will be speaking at the Young Women in Business’ (YWiB) annual conference, “Beyond Pink” in Vancouver (November 20th).  In the long term, I have no idea, but intend to start thinking about my 2011 goals as we move through the next few months.

All that’s left to say is – thank you.  Thank you for the support.  Thank you for the love.  And thank you for believing in me. ❤

August 2010 – Still healing. Photo taken by a fantastic friend named Madigan Reilly.