Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What a Difference a Month Can Make

Here we are, over a month since my last post, and I can't believe how much has changed.  At the beginning of this year I was really motivated to make 2014 count.  I wanted it to be better than 2013 and I wanted to achieve that by making conscious decisions to better myself inside and out.  The year has started off pretty rough so far, and at times I feel like I've already failed to accomplish my goal, but at the same time there has been so much good, especially in the little things.

In January my husband James and I moved out of our beloved first apartment and relocated to San Diego.  It was one of the hardest decisions we've made together and it was definitely bittersweet.  In November, after having been laid off for the second time in a year, the Christmas season found us in a tight place financially, and also a little low in spirits.  On Christmas Eve my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out that she would be undergoing major surgeries early in 2014.  My head was spinning as I tried to remain in control of my life and emotions but I was ultimately reminded again at how little we can really control, apart from God.  After many tears and prayers and days spent sick to my stomach, I agreed to quit my job so that we could move down to San Diego to be closer to my family, and to help us save up and pay off our debts.  Leaving our home, our church, and our family and friends was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  The last few days in our apartment I could hardly walk through the door without crying over losing our first place, our little corner of the world where our marriage started and so many great memories were made.  Long Beach is only about an hour and a half by car but it feels so much farther when you have no friends in your same zip code.

During late February and early March most of my time was concentrated on my mom.  She had a double mastectomy and tram-reconstruction (where they take your stomach muscles out to form new breast mounds) and was in the hospital for almost a week.  When she got home she could do very little by herself and needed a lot of personal care.  Two nights after we brought her home from the hospital my dad came down with a fever that required an overnight stay for us in the emergency room, only to find that he had contracted diverticulitis and would be dealing with that for likely the rest of his life.  To make matters worse, my kitty cat was acting very unusual and after a handful of visits to our [amazing] vet, she's better now but only after learning that she has a heart condition that will follow her the rest of her days.  I have to forcefully administer her medicine twice a day and three times on Wednesdays and Sundays, and her discomfort just breaks my heart.  Needless to say, I felt like I was playing nurse for everyone in our house this month and often times I was so burned out the days just blended together.  My dad is back at work now and my mom is doing amazingly well--she might even go back to work next week.  She is cancer free and doesn't even need chemotherapy--praise the Lord!  During this whole time I have been taking video clips of her progress and I put them together in a family documentary.  I'm so excited to put in the finishing touches and show it off...but maybe not here, as the subject material is a bit personal!

These past three months at home have been a bigger blessing than I anticipated.  I have really enjoyed spending all this time with my family, getting closer with my parents and Kayla & Shayne, and just being back in my hometown has been refreshing.  I can't lie and say that unemployment has been a walk in the park... there are definitely downsides, like having no income, and feeling like a bum, but it has also allowed me time to slow down and reprioritize the things that matter to me.  It's also nice to just take a breather and step off the "treadmill" that is life, to stop and smell the flowers.  It's harder for James who didn't grow up here, and who is suffering through the experience that is living with your in-laws, but I think he's managing well.

My absolute favorite part of 2014 so far has been my time invested in Photography.  If you will recall, last September I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, to study photography and apprentice under a good friend of mine who has been shooting for years.  She lent me her Nikon dslr and gave me regular photo assignments to start learning the art and the industry.  We had a few practice shoots together and I've been shooting a bit down here in San Diego too.  I invested in my first dslr camera, my Canon EOS 60D, and I am in love.  Come February I settled on a name and started up my official "business" (how fancy schmansy that sounds!) and thus became Doskofoto.  Our last name, Doskocil, is Czech and in the Czech language, photography is written "fotografovánĂ­."  I figured the name would not only sound cool, but it would subtly incorporate a bit of our heritage to merge the two Czech words.  In March I bought my first domain, created my own website, and now am officially in business, pending my small business license.  I don't have as much professional experience as I'd like to have had by now, but it's coming, little by little.  This year I already booked five weddings and countless photoshoots, and I couldn't be more excited.  To think I could one day make a living off of doing something I truly enjoy has been nothing but a pipe dream these past few years, but now it is becoming reality.

On a more personal note I have had quite a slew of health complications myself, ranging from my ongoing hip problems, to random bouts of gastritis, heartburn, and waking up covered in hives.  I seriously can't catch a break.  I know the inside of my doctor's office better than most people know their own workplace, as I'm there at least three times a week (for physical therapy amongst everything else).  After undergoing an MRI, CT scan, arthritis bloodwork, and after receiving a cortisone steroid injection, I think we are nearing the diagnosis of whether or not I will have hip surgery again this year to correct my hip dysplasia.  While I don't relish the thought of another surgery plus the recovery, if there was ever a perfect time to do it, it would be now while I'm out of work and living with multiple caregivers.  So I guess the next 3-6 weeks will tell all..

So 2014 has surely been off to a loaded start, but like I said, there has been so much good.  I look forward to the next few months (sans the reality of hip surgery) and I am truly thankful for all the prayers and support that have gotten us this far.  Thank you!

While perusing the fabulous internet app that is Pinterest I recently found a cool little article on women's health and a few habits that each woman should have.  I thought I would share it on here for anyone to read, so if you have a minute, check it out: