Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thinking

Once, I was listening to a woman talk about cancer. She said, "Your life will never, never be the same. I did not understand this. I thought she was being just a trifle overdramatic. That was while I was still in treatment. That was when I was expecting that when treatment was done, I, my friends, was going to have a party. I figured that kicking cancer's ass warranted a major celebration. Whoo-hoo! Bring out the party horns.

The reality, though, is a little bit different. I feel a little bit like a child playing hide and seek, crouched in a dark place, the sound of my own heart pounding in my ears. 'It' is cancer. Will 'it' find me again? I don't know. I've got myself in a fairly safe place...treatment is done. I'm mindful of my diet. I'm mindful to stay active. I'm mindful to be mindful. However it is too early to yell 'Hooooooome freeeeeeee' and do a victory dance. I'm not sure how long it takes before a person can do that. How do you know you're safe?

I've been really thinking on people's responses to cancer. I guess that Daria was right. You make the journey. Along the way, you deal with shock, anger, fear, grief and probably a lot of other crap that I can't think of right now. Somewhere along the line, acceptance comes. Each of us stops at the waystations though. Some of us stay angry longer than others. Some of us stay shocked longer than others. Some of us grieve longer than others. We all however, make these little stops on our journey, and finally we get to acceptance. I seem to revisit these waystations, strangely enough. I think that I'm as shocked as I can be, and than *slap* I've discovered something new to be shocked about. I think that I'm beyond being afraid, and then I come across something that scares the living bejeebers out of me. I'm getting to where I need to be, I suppose, just as everyone else dealing with this is getting where they need to be.

I find myself thinking of that woman who spoke about cancer. "Your life will never, never be the same." It sounded overdramatic then, but I'm starting to realize that she was right. There will always be another oncologist visit, there will always be tests. Drugs. I'm physically different then I was. The scars are always going to be there. The differences are not alway a bad thing, mind you. I'm a lot more mindful of the pleasures, the infinate number of 'small' blessings that enrich my life each and ever day. I am aware of the ticking of a clock. If you all stop this very minute and listen, you will hear the ticking of your own clocks. Most people don't notice it until something likc cancer comes along, but once you do notice that ticking, your life will never, never be the same.

10 comments:

ARISTIONO NUGROHO said...

Hi friend, peace...
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Anonymous said...

Hi Deb. Just catching up with your posts after P and I got back from Rock Vegas yesterday. Whew!! We left BB and family there for the next day or so and she sure will have plenty to share when she can get to the computer.
I just have to agree with all of the above. At first I was stunned and just operated on auto pilot a bit I think while I thought I was still more or less in control. Then I finally came back to being nearly me but the cancer experience was always part of my backdrop.
As so many say, it isn't an experience one would seek, but funnily enough though,I really appreciate the insights and depths it has given me. Your life is never the same, yes, but it can become so much richer when it gets woven into your life. At first the shock, then the frenzy of treatment that takes over in spite of ordinary life going on simultaneously (or not, sometimes), then the numbness and floating and relief when treatment stops - then in time the awareness forever and the present and the future take a more realistic and precious appreciation. Happy outcomes become sometimes different to what we would have thought they would be BC - (Before C).
I wish for all who are in various stages of growth through cancer peace of mind and a happy outcome, whatever that may be for them.
Love Barb

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Debby, very profound. Another way that cancer can change you (and your loved ones) is that after cancer you know-not in theory, but from experience- that in the grand scheme of things much of what seems important and worth worrying about really of little consequence. In other words, you truly know the answer to the question(s), would I (care, worry, be concerned, be having this argument, be holding this grudge, etc) if (knock on wood) I got a phone call telling me that I or someone I loved had cancer?
Sometimes, the answer is yes, but most of the time it is no.

Take care,
DavidM

Scotty said...

Great post, Debby - food for thought, that's for sure.

Warmest wishes to you and yours from across the pond. :-)

Lavinia said...

Some things change life irrevocably and yes, I'd say cancer would be one of those things. Well you've made it this far Debby and may it bode well for your future too.

Debby said...

Aristiono, welcome.

Lavinia and Scotty too, welcome back!

David M., you are correct, though sometimes, you find yourself looking at a relationship and realizing that it is simply time to 'let it go', set down all the emotions associated with it and walk away, wishing everyone well. I guess that's forgiveness.

Barb...there's no one who 'gets it' quite like someone who's lived it.

Caroline said...

Its been nearly 28 years since my first cancer diagnosis. While cancer faded into the background of my life for 25 years, it was never really gone. Every doctor appointment was a 'what if' they find something. I always had an annual chest xray to check a thingie in my lungs. Every lump was analyzed six ways to Sunday to see 'what if'. Then after 25 years of good tests, then there was another diagnosis. You never get past it. You can't have a party that says 'hooray, I'm cured'. You can only have a party to say 'hooray, I'm still here'.

Lesley said...

Debbie, How very true your words are. This cancer IS something that changes you. I guess with me, it was kinda difference because I've known since I was 12 years old that I would get breast cancer.... it was just a matter of 'WHEN' I would get it. I am only 3 years younger than when Mom found her first mass and my mass was only 1 centimeter smaller than her's. Eerie if you ask me. Mom has been cancer free (knock on wood) for 30 years now thankfully and I pray that she remains that way too!!! I too, like my Mom, and like you, will beat this. We just need to keep our chins up and keep duking it out with those 'bad thoughts/feelings'... and keep looking to the Lord. Talk to you soon Deb. *Hugz*
~Lesley~

quid said...

It's funny, Debby --- just reading this, I was startled by the parallels of how having this experience changes your life.. much like the experience of giving birth. Odd, so much joy in one and sorrow and worry in the other...

quid

PaintedPromise said...

wow.

food for thought!! as usual from our Deb...

but really. WOW!