There are things that happen in life, things you have no control over. While some people may argue this has nothing to do with my business or this 52 Weeks of Sheep adventure, I disagree. When something happens in your life to someone who means the world to you, it affects every single aspect if your life. Some people may do a really good job at hiding it, or pretending it doesn’t exist, but it does. I thought I could be one of those people who could just plow through, keep up with my insanely busy schedule, and still give to everyone. What I found out is this. Me, the woman who thought she could do it all with a smile on her face simply couldn’t. I was scared, I was worried, I was exhausted, I was angry. This person I had become wasn’t me and it began to trickle in to everything I was doing until I just couldn’t do anything. It was a struggle to get out of bed and go to work or work on my fiber arts business – or give anything to anyone. I am always such a happy, positive person that this new, whatever I was, began to really scare me. So in my mind, rather than be negative, I just simply kind of stopped everything. I did put on a very good front for a very long time and then I just couldn’t do it anymore. I felt bad and guilty because I felt like I was letting a lot of people down, but when there is nothing left to give, quite simply, there is just nothing left to give. So I focused on what was really important – my dad and his illness.
As many of you know, earlier this year, shortly after I started this group, I was faced with some family health issues with my dad, and I never really got into what that illness was. At that time, I just couldn’t. Now I am able to talk about it and share the experience with people – especially people who have been following my journey. In early January, my dad went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment to a procedure he had a few years ago and while they were running tests, they found a spot on his lung. He told me not to worry and they were going to run some more tests. I won’t lie, I worried anyway. He had blood tests, MRI’s, x-rays, etc. Then they did a biopsy. I waited. He called. He had lung cancer. My world completely turned upside down.
To give you all a little bit of history, after high school, I didn’t have much contact with my dad. After I had been married for 20 years, my now ex-husband and I parted ways. He stayed in Pennsylvania, and my dad moved me, my daughter, a horse, 3 dogs, 7 cats, 2 birds, and all of my household and worldly possessions to Montana. He gave me a job, provided a vehicle, and helped me move into my little house in Lincoln, MT. I believe this was my dad’s way of making the first effort to re-build our all but non-existent relationship. We’ve grown closer over the last several years. He gave me a brand new start, and whether he realized it at the time, gave me the chance to find myself, find my passion, and rebuild a life for myself that I could be proud of.
In April, my dad had surgery and they removed part of his lung. He seemed to bounce back from that, but after they tested lymph nodes, they decided he needed to go through four rounds of chemo. He began those treatments in May and he had his last treatment in July. I’ve gone through many emotions, self-discoveries, temper tantrums (because dammit, dads aren’t supposed feel sick like that) and many other roller-coaster rides through this process. He had his follow-up with his oncologist yesterday, and I am happy to report, they are optimistic and things look good. He goes back in three months for continued follow-up and he’ll continue to recuperate from those grueling treatments.
So now that what appears to be the worst is over, I can begin to take on some of the things that are important to me – but not all of them. The other thing I learned through this process is that I don’t have to do everything – and I am human. I have gone over in my mind the things I really want to do… run my fiber arts business, teach and inspire others, enjoy my home life with my honey and the animals, and be available if, when, and as my family needs me. Every minute of my day does not have to be filled with “something.”
What I want to say to all of you is thank you – for being patient with me while I’ve learned these lessons and taken the time for my family. We are officially 28 weeks into this 52 Weeks of Sheep adventure. I still have some catching up to do – both on spinning and processing, but I know I will get there. I’ve said it to everyone here in the group or following along… this is meant to be a fun, educational journey with like-minded people. It’s not a race, and no one is keeping track or forcing time tables on anyone else, so I should also take that advice – and I am. Below are some pictures of what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks (Portland, Charollais, and Cheviot) and next week, there will be new fiber adventures on the horizon.
Until then, happy spinning!