Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thank YOU

Before I do anything else today, I need to thank some very special people who have been providing some much needed support these last few months:
To Peter, Melissa, Holly, Shannon, Gregg, (and any other MPIPers that I've forgotten to mention)- thank you for your constant supply of strength and knowledge. It has truly been a blessing finding you.
To Andrea, Jacki Doss and Jacki Donaldson, Stephanie, and my friends and family that read and comment regularly, as well as all you lurkers who are showing your support just by being here.
To my co-workers who have been checking in and picking up my slack.
And especially to:
Mandy, Carver, Kim, and of course, to Faith, Linda, and Katherine- my sisters, where would I be without you? You have been my rock, my means for finding something positive in all of this, even when I didn't want to. Thank you for giving your free time and energy and wisdom and hope. If I worked from now till forever, I don't see how I could possibly repay you all.
And Bobby- what can I say to you? My God, there are no words to express it. The only thing that even comes close is to say that you have no idea how wonderful you are and that you've made every moment of my life exponentially more amazing.

Okay, wow! That was all very deep and very cheesy, but very necessary. I sincerely thank you all.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sarah T.

There is little to say today except the obvious: Derek has posted an update and we are losing Sarah. I pray for a peaceful passing for her, free of pain and anxiety and all the unfair things she's had to go through of late. I wish I would've had a hundred more years of getting to know her, but I didn't, so I'm thankful for what I had.

Bobby and I talked at lunch after we read the post, and told each other what we mean to each other. I can only try to think that maybe she would be happy about that, that all of us are taking a little love from the journey.

I wish I had more words, better words, but I don't.


Sarah's Blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I know it's a little early for Christmas, butt......

the picture just makes me giggle!
A quick update, then I'll have to post more later. First, if you have tried to post a comment, you'll see that I'm now regulating them. Don't let that stop you from posting comments, though, because I need those words of advice and solice, and they get me through some tough times! Hold me!
It's just that, for one, I've gotten some spammy type comments this week in addition to some OTHER type comments that I'll address on another post. But trust me, they're interesting, and Jerry Springer-style scandalous. You'll want to check back in on these.
As far as the latest on the doc home front, the surgeon is now officially recommending surgery, and there is even some hope that this node isn't even melanoma! Which makes me, for one, EXTREMELY happy, even though at first I wouldn't let myself believe it for fear that it's too good to be true. Now, I'm jumping whole-heartily into the hopes that this is a reactive node, and not a melanoma node! Feel free to pray for that, too. So we're planning on taking the sucker out in June. This week, however, I have been talking to MDA and to another local dr's office (who comes highly recommended in the melanoma field) and we're getting some info as to what other experts suggest. With all this in mind, I am happy to report that I am feeling very, very positive. Very positive that I am getting opinions of experts and therefore will have the highest level of care. That's a big jab at Parkland, but nonetheless, just let me tell you, I feel good. And as soon as I hear anything else, you'll be the first to know!
In other news, I'm working with about 34 fifth graders who are antsy for summer and there's not a brain to share between them all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

White and pasty is HOT!

Saw this great video and just had to share it with all of you! This guy is my hero, by the way.


P.S. Did you know...
One person dies every hour from skin cancer.

Monday, May 14, 2007

You don't have to call me darlin', Darlin.

Allow me to go full-on hippy on you today.
The truth is, despite the malignant melanoma, I know what I'm supposed to know. I know that if I don't take the time to enjoy every moment, a whole lifetime can suddenly sneak by. I know that ultimately, death is nothing more than another experience in a long line of experiences. I know that being aware of every emotion I feel and being true to those are what keep me happy and make me feel sane. I know that seeing things exactly as they are is the means to daily peace. I know those things.

And yet somehow ugly malignant melanoma poopie head still has a knack for taking control of my thoughts, of my actual BEING, to the point where I feel that I don't even know who I am. Literally I think to myself sometimes, who am I? Because when it boils down to it, I'm not who I thought I was. I thought I was a fighter. I thought I was the type of person that could come out of this shining, with renewed vigor for life and a stronger conviction for... I don't know, something. I look back at those thoughts now and I just think about how naive they are. Yes, I am a fighter. But would I "fight"- risk my quality of life for a year for a 6% increase in chance of survival? No. Never. Am I coming out of this experience shining? Yes and no. No, I'm not the spokesperson for unprecedented optimism. And yet I don't think that's a bad thing. I think I actually see this for what it is, and acknowledge how painful it is not only to be diagnosed, but to see friends and family and people you love go through horrible experiences. Not even horrible like death (although a painful death is a given). But just horrible experiences like dealing with the fact that treatment hasn't worked or that the recurrence has spread through their body. Yet I do see that life is different for me and changed and, I admit, in some ways better. Not better like I thought it would be, but still, better. There isn't a time I talk on the phone or hug someone goodbye or even just talk to them that I don't think, "This could be the last time I do this." Even with cancer-free people I think this. Some may call this morbid, but I believe this is the reality of this life. We just never know what could happen, and I know this from experience. Lia. She was there one day, and it seemed the next she had moved in with her parents, then just like that she was gone. Like that. Two weeks. A whole life whisked away from me. A bright star I never got to see again. Who knows what could happen to me or anyone else just like that? In Tibet, there are stories of monks who pour the water out beside their bed before they go to sleep because they know the moment of death could come at any moment. Why plan on being thirsty when we have no idea when this life ends? It's an amusing thought and yet at the same time I think that's how we should all be living. Why not embrace this impermanence? Isn't that what living is about?
I think a while back I told you that I had dreamt of my dad. This had to be a year or so ago. But when I woke from that dream I had the most insanely peaceful and warm feeling. Bobby was laying beside me and I was trying to explain the feeling- a warmth I could not express, a peacefulness and an ease that would not allow for any anxiety or regret. Slowly, as I lay there, the feeling crept away, and the normal feelings of isolation and futility which we often don't even realize we have took over. I didn't think much of it. In the last few weeks I had the same experience again, but this time it wasn't with my dad, it was just some sort of shadow person. And the feeling was the same again- warmth, peace, calmness, comfort. The feeling that everything was truly going to be alright. The feeling that all the worrying I do and the guilt I feel are such complete wastes of precious time. When I tried to explain it to Bobby, what I finally said was, "It was like love. Like realizing for the first time what love feels like and what it feels like to be unconditionally loved." Warm and glowy and wonderful, like nothing can do you any harm. I even said to him, "that's why people that have near death experiences aren't afraid- because they have felt that feeling." This is part of what I know. I know that this type of feeling is available to me- that I can find this peace in myself if I embrace what I know. I know that if I don't take the time to enjoy every moment, a whole lifetime can suddenly sneak by. I know that ultimately, death is nothing more than another experience in a long line of experiences. I know that being aware of every emotion I feel and being true to those are what keep me happy and make me feel sane. I know that seeing things exactly as they are is the means to daily peace. And knowing all of this brings me closer to that feeling of ultimate love.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Thank God it's Doomsday

Thank God for my job. I say that because lately it's been the only time I don't obsess about whether we'll do radiation or surgery. Not that it matters, really. Why am I so concerned about this? In a way it feels silly. I mean, it's not like I'm sitting around waiting to find out if I have cancer or not. The truth is, I know it's there. And I feel like we'll do whatever it takes right now to get rid of this, and then continue to be vigilant and fight it whenever (did I say whenever, I meant IF ever) it comes back. When I say it like that, it seems like no big deal. And yet it's eating up my thoughts, always there in the back of my mind, nagging me. Like a big, "What IF?" The crazy thing is I've never felt like the what-ifs in life were worth pondering. Why waste that energy? Now, it feels like it's all I do. What if..... That's different for me, as a person who has lived her life fairly fearlessly up until now. I've never been much for limiting any activity due to fear, including things that I probably should've been more afraid of. Maybe I've been in denial this whole time, acting like I'm immortal, acting like nothing can hurt me, diving into the moment despite the little fear that was there. It's worked, though! I've always felt very alive, and now, here I am, realizing just how human and fragile I can be. And it's overwhelming, of course. I try to just be myself and at the same time grasp these new feelings. Sometimes I'm a basketcase. I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry in the bathroom at work. I've had the same headache for 3, 4 weeks now- the type of headache I have to take Vicodin to get relief from. But, it's a process. I'm working through it. I'm a healer, I'm healing. I'm a freakin' machine. A healing machine.
Bobby and I had an argument yesterday- ok, more like a disagreement- about vacationing this summer, and I swear I thought I was losing my mind. We had essentially decided that plans we've been making all year are not going to happen. I felt like we don't even know what we'll be doing in the next 5 years, how many times we'll be fighting cancer, when I'll have to be in the hospital, when we'll have another chance to just go and do. I threw a fit. Do you know how long it's been since I pulled a "I'm locking myself in my room" fit? High school at least, maybe even jr. high. Good God. I really did come near to a break down. And I finally just let myself cry and lose it and feel sorry for myself, and after about an hour of that, I felt better. Like way better. I don't know why I fight being so human like that, but it's ridiculous. If I would just accept my feelings for what they are, it'd be a whole lot easier to move on from there. Just a bit of advice for the rest of you Wonder women out there.
Thank God for Gilda's Club. I come full out on Thursday and say I'm happy my cancer is back- o.k., not happy, but you know, relieved- and almost everyone in the room said they knew how I felt! Where else can you get that? I don't think I could even pay a room of people to be that convincing.
Thank God for all of you. I really don't know what I would've done if I hadn't had so many of you writing me, calling me, posting comments. Emails full of advice. Emails that brought tears to my eyes. Emails from complete strangers that offered their home to me and old me their own stories that are so similar to mine. Beautiful stories of hope. I sincerely can not thank all of you enough. I can't list all 109 of you right now, but just know that you're loved.

More scans have been ordered. I'll let you know what they say. Thank you again for all that y'all do.



I'm Too Young For This!