Life Beyond the Travel-sphere: When Things Get Real

I close my eyes and tears slowly begin to form as the hypnotic trance sets in. The calming tones of “Wonderful Chill Out” music on my You Tube “Relax” Playlist tries to do its job, but this feeling is overwhelming. How do you begin to tell a story that is still developing and going through its twists and turns? What happens when you’re one of the characters in a plot you wish wasn’t your real life? This is what happens when life gets real.

I honestly don’t know how to start writing this post; call it a brain dump if you may. Who knew a writer could be lost for words.

So This is the New Year

And I didn’t feel any different. Cue “Death Cab for Cutie’s” hit song to tell the story of how I anticipated 2013 to be kinder than 2012 was. After painful job losses, not being able to move to The Netherlands & turning down TWO Grad School programs (I promise, a future post) – I thought the silver lining should be somewhat close by. I returned in January from The Netherlands refreshed and ready to take on the New Year. I had a fresh palate to play with; I knew I wasn’t going to move until the Summer of 2013, so that gave me months to do new things, reconnect and close up this chapter in New York.

Frantic February

February was a blur; it’s such a short month that it truly feels like an extra long week. I made plans, booked trips and had my eye on the prize. This is what grown-up’s do, right? I’m a travel writer, but first I am a human being who is getting her life together, piece by piece. Until the pieces come crashing down.

March Madness

I’m in limbo right now; my life is between two cities, two countries, two continents. 80% of my belongings are in my new home in The Netherlands while I live at home. That’s right: I’m a boomerang child and I have nothing to hide. Why would I rent an expensive apartment in New York when I am moving in a few months? My parents could use the extra help around the house since my father is elderly and frail.

And then the moment hit when it was revealed why my move to The Netherlands didn’t work last year and why I was going to spend another year here in New York City.

My father was diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer in early March. He beat this disease 16 years ago- yes he was cancer free for 16 years. It was hard to see it coming back until it was at its worst point because my father also suffers from End Stage Renal Failure. His kidneys don’t function, which cancels out the first symptom of it coming back- frequent urination. My mom and I take turns taking him to and from dialysis. Yes, this is the same father I spoke about who had a heart attack during his knee replacement before my second trip to The Netherlands in 2010.

My dad is a fighter; he is quite possibly the strongest man I know. He may be weak in appearance and physically unable to do what he used to, but he is so strong in mind and spirit. He still vows to break any man who breaks my heart; but luckily, he adores my guy and see’s no reason to. (But he still wants to beat my ex’s down for causing me grief!)

Hospitals are my new Airline Gates

77th Street Station

My Third Home

I’ve *literally* spent the last month in hospitals. My father had many complications because of the recurrence. It’s aggressive and in a strange spot. I won’t go into gory, personal details, but it’s heart breaking to watch. My dad is being treated and seems to be doing pretty well for the time being. We are trying to get him an Oncologist at a local Cancer hospital, but thank you bureaucracy for making us wait so long to be seen.

I’ve *literally* spent the last month running around doing anything and everything for my dad. From getting extensive paperwork, to old medical records from his past, to speaking with doctors for opinions to getting him his favorite Organic Ginger Ale. My razor sharp focus went to him and trying to understand what this means for the future.

So, Now What?

Cancer is a disease I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Understanding it is comparable to explaining Advanced Calculus to a 4 year old in Ancient Greek. Right now, I am making sure he is okay for the moment with his treatment. We are trying to get an advanced opinion to understand the direction this disease may or may not take. Any advice for anyone trying to deal with doctors- be persistent, direct and on top of things. I know a lot about the Medical World having a mom as a nurse and having previous experience in it and that gave me such an advantage into understanding this.

I have to cut my upcoming trip short because of my father’s condition. I was supposed to be in town for Queensday and the Coronation of the new King in Amsterdam, but I will miss my dad’s appointment with the new Oncologist and I am not letting that happen. I’ll have to go for a short time to do some Visa paperwork for my move in the future and a quick work trip. I will not be attending TBU Rotterdam; I will most likely be going home that weekend and if not, honestly, I am unable to do the whole Travel Blog Conference thing at the moment.

Which brings me to the point that I need to introduce my new site name at some point. I need time to do what I need to do. I can’t focus on moving to another country when my dad needs me most right now. My dad gave me 18+ years to raise me, giving him whatever time he needs is invaluable.

I may not be very interesting lately, my spirit may be somber, but this is why. I’m doing the best I possibly can and I have a small, but lovely support system. I pray and hope everything going on with my father will continue to improve and that he gets the proper care he deserves. I won’t stop at nothing to make sure that happens. And to my readers, I hope to share some more positive travel/non travel related stories in the near future. Thank you to everyone on Twitter who sent loving thoughts, kind words and prayers; they are much appreciated and still needed if you could possibly do so.

This post is all over the place, but so am I. All I can do right now, is take things one day at a time.

6 Comments to “ Life Beyond the Travel-sphere: When Things Get Real”

  1. Shaney Hudson says :

    I don’t think this post is all over the place at all- it’s honest, and you’re obviously where you need to be right now, so be kind to yourself and do what needs to be done.

    And tell your dad I love his hipster glasses.

    Love from Roffa,

    1. Teresa says :

      Thanks 🙂

      Phew. I need to take your advice- be kind to myself. More yoga, Thai Red Curry & Bucket Listing in addition to what needs to be done.

      Re: Hipster Glasses. Aren’t they adorable? He hated them at first, but I told them they were super trendy.

      Hugs & Love from a somewhat warm NYC

  2. Hi, Teresa. Your dad sounds like a great guy and you’re so lucky to have him (and vice versa). I hope that you get some positive information and that things improve somehow…

    I think it’s good that you wrote this post. It must have been therapeutic on some level. I think your focus is where it needs to be and you’re doing great.

    Sending positive energy your way…. xo

  3. […] By late February, my father was suffering from health  complications and in early March, he was diagnosed with Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer. […]

  4. […] posts tell the story of heartbreak, tragedy and perseverance. The struggles of my father may continue, but so does his unwillingness to give up. It is that same tenaciousness that allows […]

  5. […] posts tell the story of heartbreak, tragedy and perseverance. The struggles of my father may continue, but so does his unwillingness to give up. It is that same tenaciousness that allows […]