Wouldn’t it be so nice if plans always remained plans? God, I would love that. Stress, life, family, the unexpected — they always seem to interfere. Whether it’s our flooded basement, changes at work, rain, rain and more rain, it just seems like life is set on throwin’ me some loops!

I have to question whether or not I put too much on my plate, and why I am so surprised when things start falling off. I admit — I’m a “buffet lover at heart” (and at gut.. and at stomach .. and at thunder thighs). I just love piling things onto a plate. Much like when I hit up the All-You-Can-Eat, I’m bound to leave sick to my stomach and cursing my dad’s teachings of  “You’ve gotta eat more than you paid for, otherwise you’re not getting your money’s worth!!,” says my skinny dad who manages to eat more than anyone I know. Always the immigrant mentality, Dad. My dad is also the one who gives advice such as, “Don’t fill up on the bread, it’s just a waste of space” or “They get you on the drinks. Don’t get any drinks at a buffet. First, they are expensive. And, second, they take up space in your stomach and keep you from getting your money’s worth.”

I think I’ve internalized my dad’s obsession with piling my plate. And, my “money’s worth”  is the time we have on this planet. Gotta get it all done, right?

So, I started this year off knowing that I was going to do a few things:

  • train for a 1/2 marathon and find the time to run/workout
  • apply for a doctoral program and hopefully get in
  • blog more regularly
  • spend more time with my family
  • have a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction
  • be the best professional at my job and make huge differences on a campus that really needs it
  • start an intense doctoral program
  • be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend

So, where should I begin….

a) Thank you, Mother Nature, and my wimpy attitude towards running — I found myself rained out of workouts more often than I care to admit. So, I’m very, very behind on my running schedule

b) I actually did get my application in for my doctoral program, made it through my interview, and am waiting for the decision. Yet, I’m freaking out about the workload, the timing, and the expectations for getting it all done.

c) blog more regularly? I started off with 1 a day, then went to 1 a week, then just couldn’t maintain. This one makes me a little sad since blogging is “ME TIME” – a time to put down thoughts, pay attention (even if for 10 minutes) to what I’m thinking, and hopefully inspire others through a shared journey

d) Did I mention I’m blogging right now…. at work.. on a college holiday.. during the most religious weekend of the year?? where is my family — with a baby sitter so I can get work done. And, while I know my own advice is “pay attention to your family, your work will always be there and work never loves you back”, I still need my job to provide for my family. And, unfortunately, that’s requiring me to work on a holiday when the office is empty. I also take great pride in my work, so to do anything but my best just wouldn’t sit well with me.

e) This is the hardest one for me to write down — the surgery. Because of unexpected stress at work, I’m going to postpone my surgery. Yes, you read that right. I have to postpone my surgery. I truly have no choice  — to not get my job done means I don’t meet professional expectations. Without my reputation and my work, I can’t provide in the ways I need to (nor want to) for my family. Unfortunately, I have to postpone this for a few months until I can get a handle on the work situation. Believe me, as hard as it is for people to read this, it’s about a billion times harder for me to write this. At this point, what I need from my friends and readers is encouragement …. not judgment.

f) Yeah, I think I covered this part with the job comments above. Not a good situation for me, but I have to do what I have to do in order to even be able to reconcile myself as a professional.

g) Which leads me to the doctoral piece. I never imagined the stress at work would affect so much, and I’m seriously considering whether I can do the program. I was timing my surgery so as not to interfere with my doctoral classes, and with the postponing, it wouldn’t be possible to attend classes in the Fall (given I have a November mastectomy).

h) I think once I cross these bridges, I can continue to work to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister.

Life interferes. I can fully appreciate that notion. I’m terribly sad about it, and know that I still need to trudge along. If cancer taught me anything, it was to be flexible — the best laid plans are always prone to surprises. I know that cancer also taught me to put family, emotions and people first; where is the balance in that?

For now, friends and readers, I’m in a rough stage of my process. I’m not feeling good about having to make some of these changes, and I’m asking for support — not judgment — from folks. Good positive energy needed here!

Peace, love, and the most depressing blog entry ever (dahh!!!),


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  1. Julie says:

    I can only imagine how difficult the decision was to postpone your surgery. I think you are very brave and only shows how wonderful of a person you are. Just remember to spend some time on LIZA!!!! xoxo

  2. Jennifer says:

    sending you healing, at-peace karma…

  3. Alice says:

    You could never disappoint anyone but yourself. I’m sure your family, friends and supporters will always be there for you, regardless of your plans.

    You’re bright enough to recognize when “I’ve bitten off more than I can chew” and that says alot about you, as a person.

  4. Peter says:

    Hey there work wife,

    No matter what, you can lean on me. Chances are high that if you go in to work on a holiday, or weekend, you’re gonna see my smiling face!

    So, here’s what I think – you’ve got to be OK with focusing on all of your dimensions of your life at once – and your work/life sanity balance definitely plays into that. Hell, we Americans compartmentalize our lives too much as it is. So long as you, Liza Talusan, are at peace with the choices you make about all the individual facets of your life, then all of your friends will be behind you. (Except me – I’ll be just across the hall from you.! 🙂 )

    So… even though it sucks for you to have to postpone the surgery, it seems that it’s probably the best solution for you given the circumstances.

    Be at peace my friend. I’ll be looking out for you.


  5. Grace says:

    I’m sure it’s fine to wait. Your risk factors are different as you know bc of some of your life choices. As long as you’re doing your screenings, you should be fine. I’m more concerned about your work/life balance. Hope you get the support you need. We’re all here for you.

    • Liza says:

      Thanks dear friends! It’s so helpful to have a fantastic support group! I was really hesitant to post all of that, and your comments (both published and ones sent to me offline) have been exactly the encouragement I need. Thanks for keeping me honest and brave!

  6. Becky says:

    You can only do so much, Liza. Do not allow your mind to play tricks on you. You are the ONLY one who knows what your limits are. Be true to yourself and everything else will follow suit. Thinking of you on this very special weekend. God bless!

  7. CB says:

    “what I need from my friends and readers is encouragement …. not judgment.”

    Forget it – you are getting judgement. I judge you as an amazing person who made an important decision that was best for you and best for your family. I think that was brave. That’s my judgement.

  8. Cheryl says:

    Stop beating yourself up, silly girl! Trust yourself and the decisions you are making.
    I am a firm believer in “all things for a reason”, so there is a reason to wait.
    Remember you are not alone and have a huge group supporting you in all you do.

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