Thursday, February 12, 2009

What to Say?

One year ago, cancer was still something that happened to other people. One year ago I still hated my hair. One year ago the idea of giving myself shots in the stomach would have been something that I would have said that I could never do. I would have still been the self sufficient woman my husband married. My poor stressed dog would not be an emotional eater. The list goes on and on.
I've learned a lot about myself this year. I've learned that I can endure a lot more than I ever thought that I could. I've learned that turning to others is not a weakness. And that no matter how close I am to 'breaking', if you bring my children into the room, I become a mom, and I am wise, and sensible, and practical for their sakes. I've learned to live day by day, to deal with the issues at hand instead of fretting over the stuff that looms on the horizon.
I've been trying to assess the impact that cancer has had on my life. I'll be speaking at Clarion University at their Relay of Life, and I cannot imagine what I will say. Cancer is not the worst
thing that has ever happened to me. This surprises me, but it is true. The truly good things in my life were only made better by the experience. I finally found the courage to simply step away from the negative things that I've agonized over for years. This awful time has been filled with blessings. Cancer is scary and uncertain. It's uncomfortable, and it is a mental challenge, always, but I feel like the person emerging from this dark place is a better person than she was before.
I'd also like to vote that the next time I have a big life lesson to learn, I just get issued a study guide with the answers at the end of the chapter.


Caroline said...

Cancer is very scary. It changes your focus on your life. It changes your life in to a roller coaster but you know you really learn to do what you need to do to survive. We adapt and we change. I am also volunteering with the local Relay for Life - currently I am doing publicity for it but will probably at least walk as a survivor. I am not sure I am up for being on a team right now. I will probably tell my story there as well. People look at my as a 27 year survivor but I had a second diagnosis in 2007. I don't consider myself a survivor - I am just someone living with cancer, doing what I need to do, day to day to survive.

PS I am going for another hair cut today and my hair has almost completely returned to its original color!!! (Its these little things that become VERY important.)

Mike said...

I don't know how to say how much I appreciate your posts.

Bush Babe said...

I don't want a study guide. Just the answers. Of course, no-one actually gets that for any of the big stuff: marriage, kids, cancer. I am planning to use this blog as one of my 'guides'... not much pressure, eh?

Debby said...

Hi Caroline. It is important to use our own lives to impact others. I couldn't bring myself to say no. You don't know how happy the hair news makes me.

Thanks Mike. I loved following your trip with your daughter.

BB - see now, I'm willing to actually do the studying. This is not much of a guide. No helpful hints for surviving cancer. Just the records from the trip.

MuseSwings said...

For your speach say what you just said to us! Perfect.

Mrs. Spit said...

My mother has this great poem that talks about how limiting Cancer really is. I'm sure you've seen it. We all had to remember that.

Congratulations on making it down such a long and hard road.

jeanie said...

I have just started reading another blog where the writer's MIL is at final stage cancer - she never went to the doctor until well and truly too late.

She is having to live with her MIL's children (her own husband) deal with grief and anger a great deal.

I think you have been on an amazing journey, and truly appreciate that you have taken us with you - and I think the words that you chose for the Clarion University thing will be magnificent.

Anonymous said...

You say

"I'll be speaking at Clarion University at their Relay of Life, and I cannot imagine what I will say".

And yet the rest of your post is filled with things you might say, not to mention the rest of your blog. How Ironic! :)


Scotty said...

It's a tough way to find out about one's strengths and weaknesses, Debby, but not only did you make those discoveries, you shared them with the rest of us. Bravo, I say.

Good luck with the talk at CU.

Lavinia said...

I think its too soon to assess the impact. I believe that nothing, not illness, not travel, not big events, nothing, can be properly assessed until its been properly digested, and that takes a while indeed.

Dave said...

The "Book of Life" doesn't have answers in the back! We learn as we go, from our experiences and those of others. - Dave

Dean said...

This is going to sound silly. When I'm happy, I am happy. When I'm sad, I am sad... what I mean by this is that the emotion, sickness, action or thing defines me completely. It's who I am. I am it. It permeates my essence of self. This is a very unhealthy way to live life - it's a life of blame and finger pointing.

Your philosophy is a little different. These cancer posts are very refreshing to me. You have insight and experience to share. If you can't think of anything to say then just say this:
"Cancer is not the worst thing that has ever happened to me." and wait for the ball to drop.