I’m Back!

Hello you wonderful people! I’M BAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKK!!!

*Insert celebratory sounds here*

It has been SO LONG since I’ve written for My Bright Corner that I am rusty at even creating an engaging and fun opening. Oops. Sorry about that. I can’t help being awkward. It’s just my disposition, okay?!

I can explain why I’ve been away for so long. Okay, maybe I can’t. It’s not that I didn’t have time to write for My Bright Corner because this summer I spent it working a part time retail job and watching anime shows from my couch. So it wasn’t that.

It also wasn’t because I was unmotivated like when I first started. I thought about writing for My Bright Corner a lot. I kept a journal filled with blog ideas and rough outlines of the posts. So it wasn’t that either.

If it wasn’t motivation and it wasn’t time commitment, what could possibly have kept me from My Bright Corner for so long? It’s really easy, actually.

I didn’t want to share.

I didn’t want to share my life with the internet for a while. Sometimes I don’t want to share every thought escaping my brain or all of my opinions that I have. It’s as easy as that.

Please don’t take this as a personal offense or rejection. I think you’re all lovely people who like to read blogs and personal opinion commentaries. Hopefully you genuinely like reading My Bright Corner content and don’t just come here to hate on it with your friends. Maybe you do. To each their own. (If you do come here to hate on my stuff, you should totally make a drinking game and share it with me because that would be hilarious and sometimes you have to laugh at yourself and not take life too seriously.)

If there’s anything we’ve learned since starting this My Bright Corner journey it’s this:

1. I’m an inconsistent blogger and I should probably work on that.

2. I am really really REALLY good at procrastinating

3. If there’s an opportunity to share a picture of my dogs with you, I will. My doggos are really cute and deserve more internet time.

 

4. If I don’t want to do something, I’m not going to do it.
(Unless it’s lifesaving. In which case, I will begrudgingly agree to it and make a blog about it.)

For the last two months, I didn’t want to share on My Bright Corner, so I didn’t. I haven’t been a blogger for very long nor have I been very good at it so to go from never sharing on social media to sharing some very personal parts of my life with the internet on my very own website is kind of exhausting and, since I’m being honest right now, a little invasive. And I know! I decided to open myself up in this way to the internet and blah, blippidy, bloppidy, blah. But sometimes and don’t want to be so personal and I am not obligated to! And since I am human, I sometimes need to go back to not sharing with the internet. It happens. This time it just… happened for two months straight. 

So where does that leave us? I recently learned that there are regular readers of My Bright Corner who want more content which is really cool! Hi! Thank you for reading my stuff! I will do my best to post more often than once every two months, but I can’t guarantee every new posts every week. School is starting up again and I’m already a huge procrastinator so I need to be honest with myself and with you. Maybe I’ll post twice a month or something like that. I’m not sure. I’ll keep you in the loop. Maybe I’ll add a calendar to My Bright Corner and add the dates I’m going to upload new content so even though the new content is inconsistent, no one will be sitting in a silent void wondering if the site is dead. That’s definitely a smart option. I should be taking notes.

Long story short, more content is on its way and I will keep you more informed of when it will be up! And if you think of new ideas for me to write about or have thoughts about My Bright Corner in general? Share them with me! I want to read all about it and maybe learn something along the way! You can either send me a message from the “Contact Me” page or any of my social media sites.

It’s good to be back and again, sorry for the gap. I’m a human who makes mistakes and I’m working on being better about it.

 

Until Next Time,

Dana

Hometown Treasures

Sometimes, going home is hard. You’re leaving friends, jobs, and a place that you just got settled into. But if there’s anything good about going home? It’s that you know that place like the back of your hand and all of the little secrets that your hometown holds. The local coffee shop with the best pastries, the clothing store that always has all of its prices at 70% off, a bead shop with the friendliest owners. For me, it’s a bookstore.

I love books. I love bookstores. I love them so much that I could spend an eternity in one and it still wouldn’t be enough time. I love the atmosphere, the book smell and getting to read new stories I’ve never knew existed. My favorite bookstore is a little gem in Baraboo, WI called the Village Booksmith. If I could, I would gladly give them all of my money. It’s unfortunate that I do have bills to pay so I guess I won’t be giving them ALL of my money.

The Village Booksmith is a bookstore in Baraboo, WI that sells new, old and rare books for a great price. A popular book that typically sells for $20-$25 could sell as low as $5 at the Village Booksmith. Plus, they have a great variety of books to offer: history, science fiction, gardening, architecture, biographies, foreign language, books for kids, etc. They have any book you could possibly imagine. I even saw some old Vietnam military manuals once. And if they don’t have a specific book you’re looking for? They will help you locate in online and get it shipped right to your door. They’re book wizards I swear.

THEY EVEN HAVE A WHOLE THEATRE SECTION.

For you non- Thespians, let me explain a thing or two about finding a theatre section that sells theatre texts for reasonable prices. To find a bookstore that has a theatre section that has more than Shakespeare in it and contains more than a shelf of dusty Ibsen scripts is like finding a unicorn in your backyard. In other words, it’s nearly impossible.

But the Village Booksmith has done it! They have created a unicorn in their store for the theatre nerds. Their theatre section is a whole 8-shelf bookshelf filled with books on every genre of the theatre: scripts, theatre history, costume design, directing, makeup design, scene design, prop design, sound design, acting, stage management. And scripts. Lots and lots of scripts! Needless to say, it’s my favorite spot in the whole store. The last time I was there, I purchased about 10 theatre books that would normally run for $400-$450 for about $80. It was such a good deal I almost felt bad. Almost.

So if you’re in the Baraboo, WI area, be sure to drop by the Village Booksmith. You’re sure to find a treasure or two in there. I know that when I’m back in my hometown, the Village Booksmith will be the first place to visit (even before my parents)!

 

Until Next Time,

Dana Qualy

The Last Chemo Session

The last chemotherapy treatment is DONE! I have so many thoughts and feelings about it that I don’t really know where to begin. For starters, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on this whole journey. More specifically, on my first day of chemo.

I was terrified. Who wouldn’t be?

Of course, being me, I put on a brave face for my mom, the chemo nurses, for myself. I’m sure it didn’t matter how cool and calm I thought I sounded. They could all see right past it. There is no way to quiet the fear in your eyes when you feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs about to get a painful shock you can’t get away from.

I remember being scared that the needle going into my new port was going to hurt. I remember my oncologist looking surprised at my mermaid colored hair. I remember thinking that receiving chemotherapy was going to physically hurt me. I remember thinking “Get in. Get out. Be done.”

Of course, it’s not that simple. It’s never that simple even for an easy case like mine. I remember a lot of the fear from that day, but I didn’t process any of it at the time.

I didn’t process those awful things because a lot of good came from that day as well.  I remember my sisters coming into my chemo room with a big gift bag filled with stuff from friends and family to make my chemo treatments easier. I remember all the love and support my friends sent me through messages and snap chats. I remember being excited when I found out getting a needle in my port didn’t hurt at all!

I remember a lot of joy from that day and I am so grateful for it. I have met some of the most incredible people on this little side quest of mine. They are truly amazing. There’s this one person, one man, I met only briefly on the last day and he may have been the most significant person I met. I’m not someone who believes in aligned stars or fate, but I met this man and his family and had one of the most important conversations I believe I’ve ever had.

While my mom and I were in the waiting room (the last time we were waiting for chemo!), a man sat in the rocker next to my mom. He was in his late 70s, early 80s. He seemed to be nervous. I got up to go sign my mom and I in for our session and as I did, he began to strike up a conversation with my mom. When I returned, so had his wife and daughter. I sat down and joined in on the conversation. I learned that the man was about to go through his first chemo session. I looked at his daughter and she seemed to be incredibly nervous. She and I swapped some medical stories and hospital horrors before she asked for advice on how to combat chemo side effects on behalf of her dad.

My first thought was, “Hah! You fool! I know nothing. I haven’t done this enough to know anything about combating these side effects. You should ask literally anyone but me.”

And my second thought was, “Dana. You’re an idiot. You’ve been doing this every two weeks for the last six months without a break. You have no hair. You’ve combatted extreme nausea this whole time. Your skin is probably more white than a ghost. You know at least something.”

So I told them what worked for me and explained that all cancers are different, so to are chemo side effects and that they should find something that works best for them and stick to it. Most importantly, they shouldn’t let this disease overpower their minds. Then the nurse called me back for my last session, I wished them well, and went on my way.

As I sat in my chair receiving my concoction of various toxins, a horrifying thought came over me as I was reflecting on the conversation I’d just had:

Cancer will never end.

I’m not saying that I’m going to have cancer forever. I’m done (thank goodness). I couldn’t be happier to have that portion of my life be over.

But cancer didn’t start with me. It didn’t start with my friends and family who survived their cancer and those that didn’t. It didn’t start with the strangers that sit in the waiting room. And it’s not going to end with us either. And that is what is so terrifying to me.

This needs to end.

So my cancer journey isn’t over. I am going to take some time to recover and then do anything I can to help find solutions. Whether it be volunteering or fundraising or something in the middle, I will be there helping others find their cancer freedom as well.

I walked into Marshfield Clinic with fear, but I can assure you I left with determination and it because of that man and his family and I don’t even know their names.

So here’s to cancer freedom! May I have it for life and may many others get to celebrate theirs real soon!

 

Until Next Time,

Dana