Friday, October 24, 2014

Acting As If...

I have been acting as if nothing is "wrong." I have been living in a way the last few weeks that I haven't done in a long time. One might think that is a "good" thing.


Yes. and No. I think.

This break from the doctors I believe concerned them. I was even asked if I had wanted a heavy-duty narcotic for pain before the break - just in case. At first I said no. But then, my doctor was a bit persistent, so I said, "what the heck?" When she realized I was "naive" when it came to them, she decided against it. She also quickly explained what "naive" meant in medical terms, so as not to offend me.

There are times I am barely aware that I am dealing with cancer. I feel good. I have energy. I am doing what I want to be doing. There is no extreme pain. It is incredible. I can only imagine it might be healing, too, on some level.

But this pushing that I am doing, and there is no doubt in my mind it is pushing, is taking a toll on me. I am more and more exhausted at night when I don't get any rest during the day. There have been a few mornings I could barely move, and was in bed for hours before deciding to finally make my way out of bed.

Today I was in bed for hours, but it was a bit more a choice of venue for a long conversation I had with Sherri Robbins. She has become such a good friend and ally throughout this journey. We met just over a year ago at a networking meeting. She could have very easily have kept her distance, like so many do, but she chose to get to know me. She got to know all of me by spending time talking to me. She even went on one of my doctor's appointments earlier this year, and got to see what I go through when I have my visits. Her jaw dropped a time, or two, or ten.

Sherri could have easily have run then, too. But she didn't.

Now she is planning a fundraiser for me for next month. It, I believe, will be held in Bel Air, Maryland. I should go get the link, and put it here, but I am being "lazy" and choosing not to. You can find info about it by contacting me, or her, or checking my Facebook page Facebook.com/relatetocancerevents.

I put "lazy" in quotes because when you feel the things I do, you really have to be mindful of everything that you do. Each and everything takes energy, and you become acutely aware of that fact when you have limited energy to draw upon.

In our conversation today we touched on many topics. One of them had to do with my "marketing," or lack thereof. Sherri was being supportive, and was being persistent about how I needed to do more to get sales and get the word out. Not that she isn't "right," exactly, but it pressed a button and I started to cry. Even if I agreed with everything she said, I would need another two, or more, of me to do everything that "should" be done. I just can't do it all.

I know that what I am doing is less than ideal. But it would be really great if people would work with me instead of sitting back and judging what my perceived lacks are. Is what I am doing incredibly professional? On some level, absolutely not. But, so freaking what? People have been trained so well to expect certain things for a certain appearance. But that doesn't mean it HAS to be that way. But some may just think it has to be because somehow one person's idea became the expected, and the "norm."

There is so much I would love to do. I just can't do it all. I can't even do as much as I could, if I wasn't dealing with what I am dealing with. I feel like I need to say that, as all too often I think I am lumped into categories like "jewelry maker" or "business owner" or "struggling person" or many others that have me seem to be "just" like everyone else in that category. The fact is, I am not. I wish I was. I miss those days of appearing non-exceptional.

It's not like I want to make a big deal of cancer. I really rather not. But the fact is that it is a fact in my life. It is something I have to deal with. It is something that appears to me exceptional - at least when acknowledged. It is something that precludes me from being wholly categorized in the same way that others are in a certain grouping, unless that grouping is single women dealing with cancer, with no mate, no children, no family to count on financially, business owner, jewelry maker, artist, with shoulder and back pain, at times unable to move, their mind has been altered by chemo, wears glasses, has lost weight due to surgery and chemo, and has gained weight thanks to steroids to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions, needs money for car and teeth repairs, but doesn't have enough money for the most basic of bills, is teetering financially and reluctantly considering bankruptcy, has no money to pay for rent, and is living with a friend who is being sweet enough to allow her to live there, but it is not a permanent fix, and needing a place to stay looms in the background and the doctors think she should go back on chemo, or likely die sooner, rather than later, having been told they believe chemo will not take care of the cancer this time.

I am sure there is more, but I am sure you get the idea.

The fact is we are all unique. Even those who are in those groupings without dealing with cancer or a major illness. We just tend to ignore many of the facts. We tend to focus on what we relate to. If we're struggling with something, then why should we pay attention to another who is struggling with a similar thing?

But. Here is a weird part. I find that those who seem to want to help me the most are the ones who are in some ways the least likely to be able to help. They are ones who are dealing with some heavy duty stuff themselves. Is it that our ability to understand or understand another's situation appreciates with the level of pain and dysfunction? 

I know I was in pain before, and had issues before, but while I wanted to help others then - I never wanted to help others more than I do now, being where I am, dealing with what I have been dealing with. But the difference between now and then is massive. Does it take a massive shift to want to make an impact for others dealing with issues? 

I recently had a friend who did things for me. I gave her some money. She noted that it seems that we just pass money back and forth between us. Neither one of us has any to spare, and yet when we can we seem to try to help the other out. I don't suppose that is a "bad" thing, but it would certainly help us both if others outside of our loop could somehow partake.

There are times I do not want to be "special." There are times I absolutely hate it. But, just like there are times I just can't do all that I want to do, there are times I also need to call attention to the things that people aren't noticing - or want to notice. How are others to know what is truly going on if we don't speak up?

I haven't been making much "cancer" or "need" noise lately, and I haven't received much in the way of donations. A few weeks ago I received $100. It was a big deal, made bigger by the fact that I later found out that the person is out of work and dealing with her own issues. I am incredibly grateful. 

But here's the thing: it is "only" $100. I can't live on only $100. I have a greater need that I so wish I did not have. It has been made clear to me by some that "need" is a dirty word of sorts. Say lots of things, but say positive ones. I am not supposed to be in that place. I am supposed to be powerful and smile and say "cheese" for the birdy, no matter how I am feeling.

Well. These last few weeks I haven't been as verbal, and I also haven't gotten the kind of help I have gotten when I have expressed how I have truly felt, and the urgency around my situation. My silence is more a function of exhaustion than of an exhausted need.

It is now several hours later, and I need to get some rest...so this will need to end abruptly...oh well. Sweet dreams.

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