I recently read a post by another about the fears that hiccups in cancer recovery can cause.  I’m not linking to her post, cause this is going to end up my space, but I want to load my response here.  I need to read parts of it every so often – to remind myself.  See, I’m VERY good at giving advice to others, but pretty crappy at giving it to myself (or following it).  So…  here is my post….

 

I just started reading your blog and with this post found instant resonance. I don’t have cancer, have never had cancer (pay to all that’s holy that cancer is one thing I never have to deal with), but I DO have my own diseases to fight – the easiest to describe is depression. The hardest? Well, let’s just say I never have to worry about what I eat anymore – starvation sux (especially when I can pound double quarter-pounders like water). I’ve fought depression for most of my life and it was only after getting GOOD treatment that I was able to effectively combat it, not just hold my own in the war. Yeah, I anthropomorphize my illnesses. Depression is this evil, soul-stealing, anvil in my head. But I know his face now. I can fight it. It’s NOT ME!! It may be inside of me, or a part of me – but it is NOT ME. Depression is a guerrilla fighter…. it lays in wait for those days when everything is going good, the sun is shining – life is GREAT – and then he strikes. But I have learned how to spot him in the grass of my mind. Sometimes it is hard – that is why I have Gumby standing watch with me, but as soon as he is discovered – the fight begins anew. There is no shame – just a determination to not let that bastard steal anymore of my life from me.

The other one – I haven’t learned it’s face yet. It crops up in different ways each time. The signs change often – once it might be that my pants are too loose. But another time, it’s that all my pants are too tight. I’ve ended up in the hospital so often, I’ve made sure to carry my advance directives with me when I travel. My daughter freaks out if I have to go to the ER – even if it is because of arthritis issues or earaches… That one is going to kill me – the question is when and how I will live to that day. I am constantly aware of my disease (whatever the hell it is). My whole family is constantly aware – if I fail to eat for over 2 hours, Gumby gets stressed. We even have our own code language for it – I often “need a cookie”. This is the first time in 4 years that I haven’t been visiting the docs every 2 weeks – or inpatient – as Jan rolls around. Part of me is elated – part of me is terrified. I look in the mirror and weep – I look like a caricature of a woman most days. I know that I am one blood draw away from crying for hours – wondering what I could have done differently to avert this.

 

 

I think I will start writing again – aybe even incorporate this into the website i am building.  We shall see – but for now – I will remember these words.  And read them at need.

But then…… I finish falling apart. I remind myself that this damn disease is NOT going to define me. It is NOT going to beat me. I WILL enjoy life. I WILL follow dreams that I am just finding – that bastard depression stole enough years from me – this disease won’t steal any more.

I know the pins and needles while waiting for blood work to come back. 8 enlarged lymph nodes for over 9 months – can we say terror? I STILL feel my armpits to make sure they are gone – and that was 3 years ago. Be terrified if there is a hiccup. Turn to M and cry or cuddle, or whatever you need to do until the results come back in. And then pick up your superwoman cape, dust it off – and KEEP LIVING! It’s the best way to show cancer who is the boss!

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