On any ordinary day you can find me full of hope and positivity for what the future holds for me & my loved ones. Specifically how we’ll continue to encourage and inspire one another to reach harder and further for the brass ring. How we’ll always be one another’s advocate for dreams attained, lives well lived, and giggles through “senior moments.” It sucks, then, that this is no ordinary day. Today I’m feeling much like cold, sodium-free broth….bland and unappealing with no possibility of being a delectable dish or even the base for something more appetizing.
You see, the past couple of days have been physically unpleasant, and feeling physically unwell contributes to feeling psychologically and emotionally unwell, too. I suspect that this is the way it is with most who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. My physical issues are persistent reminders that I have been personally smacked by cancer. Right in the forehead. Everyday I see the imprint. On good days, though, it’s a mere shadow instead of the throbbing red beacon that it is today. A beacon that flashes Life’s Not FAIR!!! It’s not.
When I was diagnosed three years ago at the ripe old age of 40 with pancreatic cancer, I thought there MUST be a reason for it. There must be some environmental or hereditary or karmic contributor. And in the three years since one of the worst days of my life, there is still no apparent reason. The truth is that our global medical community remains in the dark about causes for this swift and deadly disease, and continues to struggle to affect early detection. While modern medicine struggles with that, those like me struggle with acceptance, anger, and unfortunately abandonment.
It’s amazing how many so-called loved ones turn heel & hit the happy trails when the going gets tough and their support is needed. There have been no fewer than four friends & family members who, upon learning of my fight for life, decided that it was too much for them to bear. As if the road would be easy for me. I guess since it was my cancer, I owned it, it would be easier for me? My situation was more fortunate than so many others: I was able to have surgery to remove the tumor that quietly grew inside, secretly stealing my hopes of a long and joyous life, a family of my own, finding a career that creatively challenged me. While I was being robbed, those on whom I relied figuratively locked their doors and drew their blinds.
The fighter in me says, “Screw them!!! I am my own fortress!” The mere mortal asks, “Who the hell wants to be a fortress???” Seriously. Being that – a fortress – forces one to keep everything, both good and bad, at bay. I have a support system. People who’ve been around and will
continue to be in my corner cheering me on. That’s what I keep telling myself. There are far too many times, however, when a cheer is not enough. I need a hug. I can’t help feeling that at some point the only one standing in this corner will be me. Alone. I am currently cancer-free, but if it returns who else is going to bail out? Who else will slowly pull away until our communication is reduced to the occasional text message? Is it possible to feel more alone during a greater time of need than I do now? And now…now I’m defective. My body has betrayed me in the most unimaginable way. There is no man in his right mind who would welcome the adventure of loving someone with such a miniscule chance of survival.
All things considered, I am doing exceptionally well, which sounds funny in light of how I feel today. Maybe I’m not so well emotionally. Okay, maybe not so well psychologically, either. I make do; I’m not dead. There are physical effects of my new organ deficiency and configuration. Things don’t work like they used to; this is my new normal and my new normal is sometimes depressing. There are lingering effects of 6 months of chemo, especially fatigue although chemo ended over 2 years ago,. Oddly enough, full time employment isn’t conducive to midday naps. I should be thrilled, though, that finally I get to begin shaving my pits & legs again! Every woman’s dream, right?
Of the few with whom I’ve shared my diagnosis and journey of acceptance and healing, I don’t think any truly get it. They see me and their perception is that all is well. In fact, I maintain a semblance of an ordinary life in spite of all the times I need a helping hand and there isn’t one being offered. Granted, I’ve never been one to often ask for help, but it seems to me that those who know would offer.
I would offer…Wouldn’t you?
**Please check out my weekly blog at www.Road2acure.org coming SOON!!!**