The Call, Thanksgiving and New Priorities

Waking Up

November 24th, 5:15 am

It was dark and no one was out, other than an occasional passing car. I decided to go jogging. I had never been this early, but I had to go on this significant day. I fastened a light to my arm and took my cell phone to appease my husband’s concern.

There was a cleansing mist in the air and the temperature was just right. The last hours with my body just the way it was created: what an odd feeling.

Once back home I went on auto-pilot: I showered, dressed in comfortable clothes, gathered my bag, had no coffee or food. And off we went: my husband was driving nervously, much unlike him.

6:45 am: Ready for Check-in

After a mountain of paperwork and receiving a personalized wrist band, I was questioned by a nurse. The usual pre-op questions, including what I had done so far that morning. It was her first time having to type ‘light running’ as an answer.

I couldn’t have picked a more effective way to calm my mind and prepare for what was to follow.

A Routine Check-up

Caught in the whirlwind of life, I had waited a few months past the recommended 1-year period. But that should be fine, I thought. This kind of problem doesn’t run in my family and my mother has not been to one of these check-ups in her entire life! (She is 79 and alive today).

A Few Days Later

While sitting at my desk trying to work, I got the call: ‘please come back for diagnostic imaging, we need to take a closer look’. There was no need to worry just yet, it is a common issue and additional testing is mostly a precaution.

A Few Weeks and a Biopsy Later

Unexpectedly, I was in the 20%. The 20% of patients who receive a cancer diagnosis when presenting the same picture. In line with my rational nature, I stuck to the facts without getting too emotional. Early stage, great. No chemo or radiation therapies needed, wonderful. But I did have to undergo a mastectomy.

November 25th

Thanks to many, I lived through it better than I expected. The day after surgery, I slipped into the same clothes as on the previous day, with a little more difficulty and some help. Ready for a long recovery process in the comfort of my home, family and friends. I had never valued what I had the same way before.

Thankful Not Only on Thanksgiving

The following day I got to live through another birthday, what a gift!

Thanksgiving was the day after; it had never had the same flavor to me before. I was thankful for being alive, for being cancer-free and for the loved ones who saw me through it. The festive meal and company were icing on the cake.

On Friday after Thanksgiving, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary with a lavish breakfast out. I can still remember where we sat, our compassionate Brazilian waitress and the amount of Muesli that I had. Both of us had never appreciated that day and our traditional anniversary breakfast the same way.

A sunny December followed. I had never spent as much time with my Christmas tree as during that year.

The Aftershock

The year to follow was a challenge.

The events had caused some rough waters in my teenagers’ lives. Trying to keep their boats from capsizing was strenuous. From the outside, they looked so grown, yet they were still frail inside. Following my second, reconstructive surgery, one of their boats capsized. By the grace of God, the teen stayed fairly intact.

I had to get away for a short while, far away: my husband and I left for a week, while the teens were in trusted hands. We needed to re-energize, regroup and gain some fresh perspective.

How were we going to move forward, and what would we focus on from here on?

New Priorities and Adjustments

For over a decade I had been working from home in the translation field, while raising my two children. It had been a unique opportunity with some invaluable lessons learned.

First Things First

My first priority was crystal clear from the day of the aftershock: I had to get my teen back on a safe boat while caring for my second teen and staying close to my husband. It was going to be a lengthy and arduous process, and I had to make changes to my work schedule. As there was little flexibility within the business I was employed with, I had to take a deep breath, trust myself and jump.

Did I feel that it was the right time to jump? Of course not, and I doubt that most of us ever feel that way when at that junction. But I am very glad I did it.

Second in Line

My second priority had to be my health: how would I be able to care for my family and how was I going to complete the jump without feeling strong?

An amazing community center near me made it possible, thanks to its terrific offerings and instructors. As well as my patient husband, a natural born jogger, who waits for me no matter my pace.

The Rest Fell into Place

26 days after the jump, I had founded my LLC, Tell Language Solutions. 48 days later, the first Tell website was live.

Languages, their underlying cultures and precision in language use are topics I feel passionate about. I love reading and writing about them. I love sharing information about foreign cultures with whom is curious, and developing curiosity in whom isn’t yet wondering.

I relish beautiful translation and language. Dazzling voice-overs are music to my ears.


What do you delight in?

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

Not every day will feel like a harmonious song. There will be ups and downs, questioning and compromises. We might be forced to take a detour rather than the straight path.

But once we know what we relish and strive for, let’s keep working at it, at our own tempo.

And no matter what our day is like, let’s find that bright stone that gives it some shine.

With thankful thoughts today and every day.


This post is dedicated to Geri, in loving thankfulness.