Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Disposable Timeline

Grand realization - it's not completely possible to duplicate a perfect day.  And in soars the concept of flexibility.  Betsy being flexible.  It's, well, a complete work in progress - as are many (many, many, many) things in Betsy's world at the moment.  And hence my reason for discussing a timeline.  I remember these from school.  I was so ridiculously excited to open up a new box of 12-count map pencils (you know you were, too, because you didn't have to sharpen them yet) and create a masterpiece to make my teacher smile throughout the entire year.  I do WONDER what in the world I wrote - and have they been lost completely?  I am positive it would evoke nothing but laughter should I randomly run across "My Timeline"  by:  Betsy Herrington, 5th Grade, Story Elementary School."  It probably went something  like this...
1982 - born to Mommy and Daddy in Palestine
1983 - Lucinda was born to Mommy and Daddy in Palestine
1985- Lindsay Reed was my best friend.  I met her in pre-school!  We played lots of games, but I never got to be the teacher.
1985 - A boy told me he was going to stick a needle in my eye at pre-school.  I was really sad.  I also went to the principal's office a lot.
1986 - Da's cat died.  We weren't supposed to ask why it died.  But I did after Mommy left.
1987 - Daddy and Mommy aren't living together.  But at least I got to stay in my little house!  I love it because Daddy built us the best two-story treehouse EVER.  And Mr. Jones was across the street - we stood on the fence, yelled his name, and hopped (probably literally) over to get our ice-cream.
1987 - Lou almost drowned!  It was so scary, and she was blue.  And I thought for a long time afterwards it was my fault.  I was told it was.
1987 - I lived with Mommy and Charlie in our little house on Gardener Drive.  I loved my blanket.   
1988 - Lindsay and I had chicken pox at the same time.  And we got to color together, which was really fun!  And Mommy made us take oatmeal baths... I don't know if I liked oatmeal baths.  
1988 - Mommy's hair started falling out.   She laughed and cried at the mirror.  I didn't know what to think.
1989 - Mommy and Daddy told me I have to get my tonsils removed before I can go to Disney World.  So I did, because I really love Disney World and Lindsay is going with us!  I moved to a new house on a pecan tree farm, too, and Lou and Laura go on picnics with me.  My favorite sandwich was bologna and cheese, with a pickle and Doritos on the side.  I liked eating this with Mommy.
1989 - We go to Disney World, and on my birthday we eat on a ship!  It didn't move, and I was really sad.
1990 -I started a brand new school!  I had the coolest outfit all picked out, and I loved my new, shiny, black Keds.  I couldn't wait to meet Mrs. Stephenson!
1991- Mommy wasn't feeling very well anymore, so we stayed with lots of different family members.  Mostly Da, though, and that was the best!
1991 - I started 4th grade!  Mrs. Torma was my teacher, and one of my favorites!  I loved to race her on the playground.  Jason was in my class, too.
1992 - Mommy died in January.  It made me really sad, but sometimes I hoped it was all just pretend.  Now I had to live with Daddy and his new wife.
1993 - I got Mrs. Stephenson for a teacher again for 5th grade!  I feel like I'm one of her favorites, but I won't tell the other people in my class.

I bet I wrote it in purple.  Or several colors.  Wouldn't it be such fun to share our old-school works of true art?  I love love the idea.

The real reason I bring this up is share how I went into treatment with a "Betsy will be better by September 24th" mentality.  A timeline.  I had to be better by that day, because that was when FMLA was up.  Surely I would be cured!  Surely I would be completely good and well and wonderful!  Yep.  Sure thing, there Bets.  And no.  No, that is not even close to what happened, and goodnight it took me A REALLY LONG TIME to remove said date from my mind.  Going into treatment with an agenda only hinders - it did me!  The first day... oh that first day!  I love looking back in my journal, because I was beyond infuriated!  I couldn't believe I had to drink a cup of milk and eat a bagel!  A BAGEL!  What nerve they had to serve me nothing with wheat... and quesadillas??  You.  Are.  Kidding.  Oh they have literally lost their damn minds, and I'm going back to Austin.  And that's what I thought.  For the entire first week, probably second, and then possibly the third.  I was livid and a sobbing mess of emotions, and I did NOT want to talk about how food  made me feel.  It made me feel full - what else would it do?  I was full everyday, and if someone asked me how I was I would answer "Well, I'm full, and how are you?"  So Betsy of me!  Overtime (and I mean at least a month's worth of dreading meals) it became easier.  And I soon learned that my "All Better with a Band-Aid!" date was going to come and go.  

I decided that was ok.  Hard decision, truly, but I want to be better for a million and one reasons.  So treatment continues until at least December.      

I had to dispose of my plans, and go with it.  Ohhhh, I loathe "going with it" because schedules are neat and exciting.  Like making lists (which I'm great at, as is my sister.  If you need a list-maker, please call.)  I like knowing what I'm going to do - but I also enjoy spontaneity.  Hmm.  Conflicting, but not worth dwelling on.  Honestly, being spontaneous for me right now looks like suddenly deciding to make macaroni and cheese and eat it!  Great work, Betsy!  Here's your sticker!!  Really, I get that excited.  I think a sticker chart would be a great addition to recovery - imagine how many fun ones you could pick out!  If a sticker chart doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will.

Ok, I must share how truly abnormal I can be.  I wish you could see me trying to just pick up and buy a low-fat or higher-fat version of dairy.  Take cream cheese, for example.  I cannot help but wonder what my fellow shoppers think as they watch me pick up containers and put them back down.  Pick up another one, read it, put it back down.  Pick up a third one, then the first one.  Compare.  Put them both back down.  Move around curiously as though I've created a dairy dance or something, pick up the second one and walk away quickly.  Briskly.  Almost running to check out before I change my mind.  This is how I try to conquer fears at the store.  If you see someone doing this, perhaps you'll understand a bit better - maybe even go and join their dancing.  It will make them smile.  

Have a happy day, watch out for timelines, and just buy the cream cheese.

Love, Betsy


  1. I'm so proud of you, Betsy! You are more than a conqueror! Love you!!

  2. Timelines are hard. Dairy Dance is hard. I like the veggie Aisle. *hugs, you doing good girl! timeline or no... life is a journey.

  3. Oh, my! I see the Betsy that I love in every word you've written. And I see the PAIN! I am so proud of you. Keep writing, keep your faith, and keep healing. YOU ARE STRONG and YOU CAN DO THIS!
    Love you very much,