Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't Just Put On a Happy Face

WANTED: Someone who will let me speak my mind about this terrible disease, without having to be brave or positive or sun-shiny. Someone who will let me blow off steam and rant, someone who will let me feel negative and speak my fears about what lies ahead.

DESPERATELY SEEKING: Someone who will let me say that I am scared about what might be. That this disease freaks the crap out of me. Someone who will let me not be tough for a few minutes, but break down and cry about my anxieties.

I may get some static for this post, but I think that there is too much pressure on cancer patients to stay upbeat and cheerful all the time, dancing through treatments and smiling during scans. "You can beat cancer with a positive attitude!" Bah, if only that were true, I wouldn't have lost so many friends to cancer. On the contrary, it is perfectly natural – even healthy – to allow yourself to imagine various scenarios ...continue reading...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw

When I was a kid, the playgrounds had the wonderfully simple see-saws that were nothing more than a plank of wood over a pivot point. We would play a game where one person would be all the way down, and the other all the way up. That child would say,
"Farmer, farmer, let me down!"

The other would respond,

"What will you give me, Charlie Brown?"

And then a negotiation would ensue, with poor Charlie trying to get back down to earth. If the Farmer chose to, she could jump off the see-saw, sending Charlie plummeting into the hard cement. Ah, childhood.

As a metastatic cancer patient, I ride a see-saw between hope and acceptance. Thankfully, on my current treatment, there are days that feel almost normal, where cancer takes a back seat and it easy to hope that this could go on for some time. Then, of course, there are days that the knowledge of what I am facing leaps into my face and refuses to be ignored. The unrelenting nature ...continue reading...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest

You are sitting down to a nice dinner when you hear a knock on the door. That's strange, I wasn't expecting anyone. You open the door a crack to see who it is. He shoves the door all the way open and barges in.

It's Cancer, the World's Worst Houseguest.

He walks right past you and leaves muddy footprints all over your carpet. You are in shock. You didn't know there was any chance of him coming over. It was the last thing on your mind, but here he is, lounging on your couch like he owns the place. Who is this? What is he doing here?

Once the shock wears off, you try to talk to him. How long will he be staying? Why did he pick you? He just shrugs, rolls over and goes to sleep, snoring loudly. ...Continue reading...

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Dedicated to the Caregivers

Last night renewed my admiration for caregivers.

My husband and I were getting ready for bed when we heard a strange noise coming from our daughters' room. We ran downstairs and found one of the three-year-olds standing outside her room, mouth hanging open and making a horrible gagging, coughing sound. At first we thought she was throwing up, but then she kept trying to suck in air, and it almost sounded like she was choking. "Can you breathe?" She shook her head and tears rolled down her cheeks.

My husband donned his superhero cape while I grabbed her coat and hat. He whisked her into the car. I scraped the ice off the windshield while he buckled her into the car seat. And they were off.

I stood there and watched them drive away, feeling totally helpless.

How do caregivers do this?!? ...continue reading...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer

Gather together all of your ingredients and whip up something delicious just in time for the holidays. Some of these ingredients may seem hard to find, especially if you are newly diagnosed. But with a little searching (and soul searching), you can create something wonderful to sustain yourself through the hard times.

  • First, you will need three heaping cups of support.
This support can come in a variety flavors, and many blend well together.

The first cup includes your close circle: spouse, parents, family, friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, religious groups, community groups ...continue reading...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.

Having stage IV, incurable, metastatic, terminal lung cancer (or "eventually terminal" as my cancer buddy says) has made me acutely aware of death in a way I never expected to be at age 38.

I walk in the land of the living with the oppressive knowledge of how very close we all are to the land of the dead.

I know that right now my cancer is under control, but one day this roller coaster will dip down again. Will it come back up or will it be the final plunge? ...continue reading...

Friday, December 12, 2014

The "Why Me" of Cancer


This can't be happening.

What did I do to deserve this?

Am I being Punked?

Is this my fault?

This isn't real.

Why me?

Cancer. The Big C. The malady that once was only spoken about in whispers. The Voldemort of diseases. With so much fear surrounding this diagnosis ... click to continue reading ....