Saturday, August 17, 2013


I was thinking today about how most people who are in my predicament only want to be "normal" in some way. I was thinking about how I sobbed with a few people on the phone who I have yet to speak with since. I didn't speak with them because I expected them to have any answers or solutions or brilliant answers for me. For me the talking and sobbing was more of a release. There are times, though, that I wonder if people think I want them to be able to fix things for me or have that perfect answer. When they don't have the perfect answer to the unasked question they may think I am asking, it may be possible that they feel badly about me, my situation, and/or themselves. As a result, I think it is possible they avoid me to avoid further discomfort, pain and disappointment.

from cedonaah.blogspot.com
Even without cancer, many of us don't have the answers to life's most pressing questions. It really is just one big guessing game. So many try to make people who are dealing with cancer into something "courageous" "empowering" "inspiring" and more. Much more. I can't (and won't) speak for everyone dealing with cancer, but all many of us are really likely trying to do is live. Live to the best of our ability, and often in the face of those things that others make our situation that sometimes we would probably never would.

We are all on this journey of life. For each of us it may look a bit different. For each of us it may be challenging in different ways. For each of us, there will be times of pain, times of dismay, times of joy, and times of play. There really is no comparison, and yet often that's exactly what we do. The only thing that we really have in common is the fact that we have a life to live and emotions to feel. But those emotions are like dice in a cup that gets jumbled and tossed. How it lands is anyone's guess.

Once the dice have been thrown, we look to see what we identify with. We look to see what makes sense to us in some way. There are things that can come out of it that are quite valuable at times. And many times those things that resonate the most are the ones that key into the parts of us that are the most basic to our humanity. The things that don't cost money to buy have the greatest impact on us and what we relate to the most and often has the most inherent value in the grand scheme of things.

While so many would make the experience of cancer to be something grand in some way, I wonder if the message really is quite the opposite. I wonder if the message of those dealing with cancer is really one of simplicity. I wonder if it is a message that simply reminds of the greatness of life and the opportunity it gives us to live and love. It is a greatness within all of us that often is deeply buried in the quagmire of what many of us have come to think life is about because the immediacy of our concerns takes up all of our attention. cancer has a way of clearing things out; and those who are dealing with it can often see things more for what they are than what they once thought they were made out to be. 

In this vein, I saw a posting on Facebook that I thought a worthwhile share here. It is from Ann, the author of the blog, ButDoctorIHatePink.com. A bit of perspective from another I think is often helpful. Thanks to Ann for her allowing me to share.

Four years ago today, a radiologist walked into the exam room and told me I had breast cancer. I was shocked and surprised but not afraid. Little did I know what the next four years would hold: numerous surgeries, both big and small, years of chemo, life-threatening infections, constant tests, and the knowledge that my life will be cut short and cancer will be my end. My health is now destroyed - but not my spirit. My love for my children has been intensified and my tolerance for the pettiness of others decreased. I am not a better person because of cancer, nor am I a worse person. I am still just a person. I don't have the secrets of life and humanity, but I do know that worry is your enemy and enjoying each day as it comes is a good way to be. I've learned to be grateful and accepting of the help of others and let those who harm me leave my mind. I've learned a fulfilling life can be as simple as waiting for a hummingbird to feed out of a plant on your windowsill.

I hope that I live four more years - I hope that people whisper behind my back, "Is she still alive? I thought she was supposed to die years ago" but I've seen many with the same hope pass quickly. If I don't make it four more years or four more months, I hope that my children will always know that their mother loved them deeply and would never have left them given a choice. I hope they know that whatever happens to me, that I know they will go on to be successful and happy. I have faith in that.

She also blogged at length. Also a worthy read.


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  1. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey. Most of us know someone close who have had the big C. Even though I am nurse I still find it scary. I am in awe of your bravery of sharing your story.

  2. Your deep thoughts can't fail to strike a chord within the reader. When it all boils down, we are left with basic humanity and love. We should all live each day as though it's our last--because it could be for any one of us. Visiting from UBC.