2014 was one crazy beautiful disastrous year and all I have to show for it is a really cool neck scar. I’ve been telling people I got my scar in a bar fight, sadly no one believes me. I need to practice my stick in the shower and then just maybe someone will believe my bar fight story!
I have to stop myself when I look back and realize how far I’ve come. February brought tears and mixed emotions. The six year fight against Merck was finally over. Merck does not have to admit wrong doing, they just swept us under the rug and carried on as usual. We were nothing more than the collateral damage they had accounted for. Merck created a $100 million dollar slush fund to compensated 3,800 women for their injuries caused by the Nuva Ring. No amount of money will undo the damage and it will never make us whole again. I was never in this for the money, I I wanted to make a difference and to make sure no woman endured my fate.
Fate is a funny thing, some might say 2014 was the year of the Cancer scare. Cancer didn’t scare me, even when my name was put before the “C” it didn’t shake me. It humbles me to know that God didn’t bring me this far to bring me down. This was the year that I listened to my gut and urged doctors to look deeper. A sore knee lead me to a neurologist who ordered a multitude of MRIs and CT/PET Scans. Those scans lead to a fine needle biopsy and that biopsy lead to the removal of my lymph nodes. Surgery went well, however my recovery was anything but. A nasty surgical site infection was a tiny piece to the unfolding puzzle. In late July I was diagnosed with an auto inflammatory disease. I am still learning how to move in my new normal.
Steroids and anti inflammatory medications had me feeling like my old self by August. 2014 was the year of being wise enough to know when to fold them. The Manhuman moved in and out in August. He and I were never meant to be. I am a go getter and well he just took up space on my couch. I couldn’t let someone live off of me, so I threw in the towel and took back my space. He moved out and I moved on.
Moved on to take road trips with my Dad and discovered new not so boring places. The state school for abandoned and neglected children was both heart breaking and amazing. Finding one of our own among the rows of the children’s cemetery took my breath away. Iowa proved to be beautiful and the Bily Clock Museum did not disappoint. Niagara cave was more of a bust than a wonder. Now circus world, now that lived up to its name. Wisconsin Dells with my mama is always a good time and wine tasting with my dad is the best way to spend a weekend on the north shore.
I am so crafty, that I bleed glitter. When I think of 2014 I think of a never ending river of spray paint and refurbished furniture. Who knew spray painting a dumpster find would be so much fun. Yes I AmandaJean actually dumpster dove. Well not really, it’s more like I alley picked and went for the items next to the dumpster. If it was near a dumpster it still counts as dumpster diving in my book. I let my creativity flow and discovered a new sassy crafty side of myself. I now have this crazy obsession to design and build a tiny home out of reclaimed materials and repurposed items. I also want to have back yard chickens. Yes my own little flock of laying hens. I need chickens in my life.
Life this year was full of firsts. Sophia said “I love you Auntie” for the very first time and my heart melted into the floor as I scooped her into my lap. Her little face lights up when I walk into the room, her hand practically falls off as she excitedly waves and shouts “HI! Auntie Mannie! HI!” I love Sophia’s little voice and her sassiness. For a two year old she is bold, holds her own, and is as sweet as pie. Watching her personality grow throughout 2014 was a joy. I can’t believe she is almost three. Time sure does fly when you are having fun.
The fall brought lessons and heartbreak. It’s hard when you realize your male best friend was never your best friend. That you were just a pawn in his emotional game. That you meant nothing and that he was embarrassed to call you his friend. His true colors were on display and our friendship was eliminated. Breaking up with your friend is hard. But in the end it showed me exactly who my true friends were. They are the people who love me for me. They accept my flaws, laugh at my blunders, and cheer me on in moments of doubt. Mostly they are the ones who give me the strength to change the world.
Change occurs when we least expect it. I finally have the type of love you read about in books and watch unfold on the silver screen. I have an amazing man that I do not have to chase. He tells me that I am beautiful and that I am the missing piece to his puzzle. In his eyes I am perfect. Jay thinks my flaws are beautiful, he digs my kind of crazy, and loves that I am a strong quirky woman. He is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. Even I couldn’t have imagined this type of soul connecting relationship. It feels like I have known him for a thousand years. When I am with Jay the world melts away and I get lost in the moment. For the first time in three years I have allowed myself to feel, to connect, and to fall in love again. I finally have my movie worthy romance!
2014 was more than a Cancer scare and it was more than a diagnosis of a disease that has no name. It was about living in the moment and remembering to find the beauty in the disaster.