Friday, October 30, 2015


It's Halloween, & I am haunted. Thursday was a very special day. It was a luncheon & a fashion show for breast cancer survivors. It was fun to see my very special survivor friends. They are dear to me. I sat next to a woman who is a longtime cancer survivor. She said the fashion show made her want to cry. It broke her heart to see such young women suffering the grueling treatments of cancer.

I was having the same thoughts. It's such a day of mixed emotions (same as The Race for The Cure). It's  a bond so strong with other women, yet the connection is so bittersweet.  It's a lump in your throat. It's sharing the same pain & fears, yet each story has its own little twist. It's a real live nightmare with the loving arms of others who are having the same dream wrapped around you.

As I was scrolling through Face Book last night, I came across a post that troubled me deeply. I understand that people are sick of hearing about breast cancer. I understand that even other cancer survivors are sick of it. I am sick of it. I didn't ask for it, & if given a choice of which cancer I would choose, I don't really have an answer. They all suck!

This post was speaking of another disease which I will not mention. I will just say I have a loved one effected by it, & I do not take its impact lightly. However, the post stated that the said disease isn't sexy. It isn't pink. It doesn't involve boobs, football players, or cute shirts. I read the post, & I did a double take. My heart sank. I sat on my couch stunned.

Please tell me that nobody on this earth thinks that breast cancer is sexy. It takes all the strength & courage a woman can muster to have her so called "boobs" amputated. The repercussions are great. I will never be the same, nor will my relationships. There is nothing sexy about it. I am appalled that a human being could be so heartless as to think, promote, or state such thoughtless words.

I am haunted by my disease. I actually have a number of diseases, & they all haunt me. It takes my all to live life to the full in spite of my circumstances. It's a choice & a daily discipline. It's not easy, but it's the only way to live, alive, vibrant, & full. I don't want a pity party. One disease is not more glamourous than another. They all potentially rob you of your dignity, your femininity or masculinity, your life, & your grit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"At least you're alive."

So… it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, & some people are rightly so in being sick of hearing about Breast Cancer. Even I am sick of hearing about it, tired of thinking about it, & heartbroken for my dear friend who is battling with all her might & suffering unimaginably from the side effects. It isn't just breast cancer. It's colon cancer, it's cancer caused by Agent Orange, it's every kind of rotten caner known to man & animal.

If you have not been diagnosed with cancer & somehow have avoided thus far loving someone who has, you may wonder what toll it takes on a family. I was at a meeting a few months ago where a newly diagnosed young woman said she wanted the world to know… "It's about the patient." I felt ill at ease, but I had to speak my peace. NO… it's not just about the patient.

Being the patient is awful, but being the family in despair is just as awful (only in a different way). I can honestly say that cancer has changed almost all if not every fiber of my being. It has effected my life on every level imaginable. It has done the same to those closest to me. It has caused depression. It has robbed my family of joy.

Sometimes I get angry at cancer. Sometimes it makes me cry. Other times, I thank God for it because it has forced me to have experiences I would otherwise never have known. I believe life on this earth is all about being refined for the next life. It has certainly refined all of our hearts. The effects are so deep, yet sometimes, we are not even aware of them. It has connected me to some of the best friends I have, & then it has taken them away from me.

We need research, because research changes treatments. Research brings life. Research recognizes specific DNA's of cancer genes, & allows for specific treatment that works. We need research into how to help the patient & the family deal with the devastation. Yes… we have support groups, but too often the answer from the doctor is, "At least you're alive." This statement is true, but it is not comforting.

The cancer patient & the family members often feel very alone even when they are not alone. It's a disease that can cause you to recoil. It can build a wedge in your relationships. It causes grief, & people grieve differently. Sometimes, it steals your dignity. Sometimes it scares the you know what out of you. It's a mixed bag of tricks. No 2 cases are alike, yet connective threads always exist.

AS I close this blog, I ask you to be aware. Do the right thing. Don't put off tests that are recommended. They really do save lives. If this journey becomes your's, let people into your life. Let them share your journey. Let them help you. It's healing for both the patient & the loved one. Be your own advocate. Ask questions. Never feel stupid. Whatever part you have in this journey, acknowledge the truth, & seek  help for your needs.