Monday, October 15, 2007

A horse walks into a bar...

sits down, and sighs. The bartender walks down to where he is sitting, throws him a napkin and says, "Hey buddy, why the long face?"

Well, no long faces here. Everything in my world has been unbelievably good. It's actually kind of a strange thing to find yourself in the middle of an awesome life. It's been a while since I"ve felt that way, but it's exactly what's been going on. If you can believe it, I've even been having a little antsy, just kindof feeling like things areTOO good. Too good you say? I know, nuts. Like maybe I should tone down the happiness a little just in case cancer comes back. Isn't that crazy? It's an absurd thought, but it's true. I'm just so damn happy. Somebody slap me.

Which I guess is why I haven't been able to write much. I still check all my usual blogs regularly, still read up on my peeps out there in cyberland that are keeping me grounded and inspired. But when it comes to offering something to them, I'm sort of at a loss. A couple of them are really battling right now, really pushing through some rough times. Fighting like hell to keep melanoma out of the picture, but it's just not working. I know that the struggle takes so much life out of you that you can barely get out of bed in the morning. That kind of struggle fills your every thought. Every minute of the day is zapped by that kind of struggle. They could use the support that a survivor can offer. Yet, when I write to them I feel like I have nothing of worth to say. No real words of wisdom, no advice that will help them carry on. It's like I'm somehow lost at providing any kind of uplifting words.

I know that the truth is that part of it comes from the guilt that everyone who survives while others don't carries. It's an illogical guilt, but forget logic. It's what's there no matter how illogical it is.

And speaking of illogical, then there is that seemingly built-in instinct to prepare yourself, that distance you feel you have to put between yourself and those who are in the midst of their fight with cancer. It used to anger me back when I was first diagnosed, the fear that people get in their eyes when they know you're in the midst of fighting cancer. But b/c we blind ourselves daily with dissilussions that we're all invincible, reaching out to those with cancer has to, in the beginning at least (until you train yourself to do it instinctively), be a conscious act. I still do that every week, b/c I know I won't be able to live with myself if I don't pay forward what so many did for me.

Nonetheless, the thought of cancer of cancer- what it's doing to friends, what it did (and could still do to me) and others, sends chills down my spine. Even now, it's difficult for me to write that I'm NED and a cancer survivor. I guess b/c I know that I could've been like my friends- Leah, Sarah, Shannon, Oscar, Dad- whose cancer spread faster than they could fight it and their lives were cut short. It seems silly to think that I can say I "battled death." It's silly b/c it was hardly a battle; it was not valiant at all- and more like dumb luck that I came out alright. In reality, though, if you've been following me for a while, you were there when the PET scan lit up, when I came home to write and say, "I really hope it's nothing. It's probably nothing." And when they told me they were almost certain that it had moved to my illiac node, you know that it was a battle just to get through that. The surgery and rehab after was nothing compared to the mental fight I had just to keep my spirits up. It feels like Death is always there, just waiting for you to drop your guard. And you start to question the point of doing anything.

Which is why I decided to stick close by all those friends I mentioned before, the ones I didn't want to say good-bye to, but had to. And I assume my hesitation in doing so now stems from them memory of the pain that I felt in hearing that they'd died. And that they were gone forever.

Maybe that's what it is. Or maybe it was just realizing it for the first time, how possible it all is. Either way, I'm glad for all of this, believe it or not. Every pain and every joy I've received from this journey of mine, and every chance I've had to get to know someone else going through the same thing, even though it hurts so bad sometimes to see what they have to bare. At least we're all alive to see it.

I'm sending out good vibes to all of you in the midst of your own battle right now, and to everyone who's ever had to battle anything. And giving thanks for you, too.



Carver said...

Beautiful post Lori. I think of you often and you express so well much of what I think about and can't express. As ever, Carver

Snobby Bobby said...

As always your posts make me realize how great of a person you are. The even better part is I get to call you mine.

I disagree that you weren't strong during your treatment, surgeries and everything after that.

You are the strongest person I know and it makes me want to be a stronger and better person.

For that (and so many other reasons) I love you!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing your thoughts so well. I have not had cancer (yet) but have been a caregiver and support system for my mom who has battled like mad and as of right now is cancer free. Your words about not wanting to be too happy in case it comes back ring so true for me as a caregiver. I panic when I see her get tired or sound down, I reel at the thought of going through it all again just from the sidelines, I can only imagine what you survivors feel. It does sound so ridiculous though when you put it on "paper" and realize that you need to get on with life, let go and let God, and simply love, laugh and appreciate every moment, gift you have been given. Thanks again.

Tara said...

Hey there.
I'm so glad to see your post; it was beautiful. You're an amazing woman. You deserve to relish in the good things in life. Allow yourself to do that.

With admiration,

Anonymous said...

Miss M - Glad to hear that everything is going well for you! Keep on enjoying life. Your post, as usual, was on target!

Stage IV

Anonymous said...

Miss M,
I am your sister in spirit. I have been reading your posts after I stumbled upon them, when I was in search of a support system for melanoma survivors. I was diagnosed at late stage III in June of 04 and finished treatment in December of 05, 6 weeks after my 40th birthday. I have struggled with some of the same emotions, and until recently, the same survivors guilt. I had a PET scan yesterday and it looks like I have another struggle on my hands. Tumors on my right side. (Primary was L wrist). I am waiting the official results of size and treatment options. I do not have a significant other, no children. But I have 5 of the best sibs and really won the lottery with the best mom and dad on record. Took me in, gave me my chemo, drove me to dr appointments and still cheer me on through every small victory. I am thrilled that you are on the other side of this battle and look forward to getting back there myself. I had almost 2 years NED. This time, I know what I am fighting and will be giving all I have. Best to you, survivor, Ellen

Lori's Friend, Kim said...

Ah there Lass!
If there be joy in your life, hold onto it with both hands, for it is bestowed on you by some higher power. It is yours as a gift for good deeds, known or unknown. And the universe won't take kindly to ya feeling guilty for it neither...
Let your troubled times go.
I love ya, Darlin' Girl.
PS It's about time you were updatin' your blog. Your admirers start a' frettin', indeed.


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