Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cancer's Rush

I found an unfamilar yellow post-it in the smallest pocket of my backpack.  The one I had with me on the day of my latest surgery.  On it was a name and two phone numbers.  Not my handwriting and I don't remember putting it there.

This little piece of paper was proof that not everything has to be about me all the time, or least, it shouldn't be.  I don't know if you've noticed my blog lately, but crickets are chirping.  Not much happening.  I've been quiet.  Too quiet, I think.

It's funny because when other bloggers write about long pauses in posting new content, I wonder why they're so worked up.  I know I'll always return to my favorite blogs no matter how long it takes for a new post to appear.  My reasons for liking someone don't evaporate if they're not feeding me enough.

Yet, I find myself with the same anxiety.  Almost a panic, really.  Afraid I'll lose my readers.

So, here I am, more than a week from my last post -- thinking.  Thinking so hard.

What can I write about?  It should be meaningful, personal.  What's happening with my doctors, maybe?  Well, I have a visit with my plastic surgeon next week to finally talk "nips and tats."  Other than that?

Nothing.

Then I found that post-it and here's the thing.  Maybe cancer's lifespan is like the tide.  Ebbs and flows.  As we stand on the shore viewing the horizon of our future, cancer comes in with such force, we're nearly bowled over. Sometimes, we are knocked down, but we get up, wash off the sand and deal. Because that's all we can do as the tide relentlessly gushes in.

Waves, different for all of us, but still powerful and scary.  One after the other.

Tests, appointments, surgeries, treatment, more surgeries, more tests.

In the swirl of the water, we wonder if we'll ever see our lives again, find ourselves.  There's much to blog about and without warning the sea calms, sparkling toward the horizon once again.  Life resumes.

I may be in the ebb of cancer's rush.  I've done all I can at this point to beat it down.  This yellow post-it, along with bloggers such as ihatecancer prove others are still drowning in the waves.  They need help.

The post-it bears the name and phone number of a nurse I met the day I was having my ovaries removed.  That day...that was supposed to be all about me. She has breast cancer, not stage 1.  The details are fuzzy because she came to me while I was waking up, trying to shake the anesthesia.  We have the same oncologist.  She's about my age.  She's not interested in support groups, but would like someone to talk to.  She had declined chemo.  I don't know why she did, but it worries me.

Finding the little piece of paper she placed in my backpack reminds me -- This journey, at this time, may no longer be about me.

I'm calling her.  This stranger.  I can do that now, during this lull, this ebb of cancer I find myself in.  Knowing full well, as one who walks on the water's edge, the tide will flow back in any time.  I can't help thinking it's inevitable, but while waiting, I'll keep walking.  There's a lot to do.





12 comments:

  1. This is beautiful Stacey. These lines took my breath away.

    "I can do that now, during this lull, this ebb of cancer I find myself in. Knowing full well, as one who walks on the water's edge, the tide will flow back in any time."

    Thank you for sharing,
    Katie

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  2. For a lot of people that 'stranger' on the other end of the line can be a lifeline. Someone who isn't all about - it will be alright, in an attempt to comfort themselves as well as you. Finding them during the ebbs for you allows them to return that favor, pay it forward, but sometimes also gives you a lifeline if the water gets less calm.

    It is a good thing you do to call her.

    Ashley

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  3. I often feel the way you do about making "regular" posts to keep my readers interested. I don't want the blog I created to keep my life sane turn into just another stress bag.
    Take your time, you will still have a reader here.
    Much love,
    The Cancer Assassin

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  4. Katie, thank you so much. That's a nice comment. It's probably how we all feel.

    Ashley, I know what you mean. For me, it's sometimes easier to share with a stranger simply because they're not emotionally invested. It's hard for family. I'm happy to talk to this woman. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    Laura, nice to meet you. You're right. I didn't start blogging to add more stress to my life. I have to learn to take it as it comes and not worry. Thanks for your kind comments. I just checked out some of your posts and love your blog. I'm looking forward to reading more.

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  5. Lovely. I will always stop in to see what's up with you because I'm always rewarded. There is everything good in letting life and time flow freely around you. It's good for the soul.

    hugs,
    Jody

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  6. I like what this social worker at MSKC said about metastatic breast cancer:

    "It's like you have a radio in your head that's on at all times distracting you from life. And you can't turn the radio off, but you can turn the volume down as low as possible."

    —Roz Kleban

    http://www.curetoday.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/article.show/id/2/article_id/256

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  7. Thanks for that, Jody. I'm with you.

    Katherine, thanks for the quote. It's a good one and describes breast cancer perfectly. Also, I want to thank you for helping to inspire my post. I'm happy to have discovered your blog and look forward to reading more.

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  8. Beautiful post Stacey. I can relate as during one of my ebbs I helped my daughter's 6th grade teacher through her diagnosis, surgery, and radiation treatments. She was so VERY, VERY thankful to have a 'veteran' there to help her through. I was glad I was in a 'space' to be able to help her. It's what we do...x

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  9. Stacey, The comparison you make here between cancer and the tide is so vivid and true. At times it does feel like cancer's waves will overtake us. The day of my diagnosis was certainly one of those times for me. I agree, sometimes talking to a stranger fills a need for both parties, that's why I go to an in-person support group once a month. And I think I have to learn to take your advice about not stressing over blog posts. Thanks for the great post.

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  10. Without the ebbs, the flows would be way too overwhelming! There needs to be a time of quiet in our lives, whether it's cancer or something else. Take blogging...when my blog posts ebb, I find renewal and start up again feeling refreshed after some blog down time!

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  11. Debbie, thanks. It's weird to consider ourselves veterans, but I guess that's what we are. I remember how lost I felt when first diagnosed, so it's easy to want to help others feeling the same way.

    Hi Nancy, I'm glad you go to a support group. I know it's not for everyone, but I found mine invaluable and will hopefully, get to attend this month, after misssing it for a while. Time to reconnect, I think. Yes, let's not stress. We've come too far for that.

    Ginny, I like what you wrote, "There needs to be a time of quiet in our lives" Absolutely, I crave that and savor it when I find it. Thank you.

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  12. I love the tide analogy too, lovely. Thanks.

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