Archives for posts with tag: Friends

I was quite an awkward 11 and 12 year-old, as many girls are during those ages. I was and I still am very close to my mom and I remember talking to her about that stage of not being a young child but not quite being a teenager. Mom had suitable song lyrics for this and sometimes responded by singing, “Too young for boys, too old for toys, I’m just an in-between.”

“In between” is a phrase that has been popping into my mind frequently. I feel like an “in-between” as a cancer patient.

Actually, when I really think about it, I’ve felt like an “in-between” during this whole process and I see my friends going through the same thing. I remember in the early days of breast cancer I was shuttled back and forth between assessment and treatment. And even some of the treatment, that is surgery, was also used for assessment. There are blurry lines. It is a systematic process but there are many data gathering and decision points.

Other than my tamoxifen and Lupron shots, I am not in active cancer treatment. My oncology appointments are more spread out. I don’t even see my surgeon any more, I just see the nurse practitioner in the surgery office who works with “survivors”, the ultimate “in-between” status. Actually, there’s another in-between because if I am to need to have a breast cancer surgeon again, I need to see someone else. Dr. Wonderful not only “broke up” with me for being too healthy, he also retired from clinical practice, just last week. He is remaining at my cancer center doing research and in a leadership position regarding improving patient care. At least I can still send him a Christmas card later this year. He will not have moved back home yet. (He is Canadian, from Toronto, and I’ve always figured that he and his wife will move back to be with their sons and grandchildren.)

My current “in-between” balancing act is juggling my responsibilities. Okay, this is not a new balancing act as I have done it throughout my entire experience with cancer. However, as my energy is increasing, I have been able to work more. During 2013 my income, after deducting my expenses, was 50% of what it was pre-cancer. 2014 will not be a year like 2011 but it will be a much better year. I can see myself getting out of debt. My husband and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversaries along with our 50th birthdays in 2015. We would like to take a trip to Turkey along with our daughter, to celebrate. We have a lot of saving to do if we are going to be able to take that trip. I certainly can’t contribute to that kind of expense without getting out of debt.

I am feeling the tug of responsibility to my friends, especially my friends in the breast cancer community. I know that I am not as available for communications as I once was. Some of my friends I know only through online conversations. I don’t like to distinguish them from IRL (in real life) friends because all of my friends are real life friends. Great distances as well as time differences can make communication difficult, though. And further, I confess that I am less likely to ask, “how are you” to friends who are having emotionally and physically difficult times. I don’t like to ask that question unless I am prepared to respond with the kind of time someone needs if the answer is not, “I’m fine, thank you. And you?”  I am frequently pulled away to other responsibilities at home and at work. I don’t want to do a half-assed job of supporting my friends. I’ve had too many times in my life when a friend has asked “How are you?” during a hard spot in my life and my eyes tear up with the anticipation that I will be able to share my burdon with someone only to find out that the friend really does not have the time or mental energy just right then to tend to me.

I am also worried about losing my connection with the breast cancer community. I write frequently, but when I am really busy, I have fewer ideas. I don’t want my ideas to dry up and then the social connections to dry up as well.

Most of all, I am worried about losing my connection to the opportunity (not “gift”, mind you) breast cancer and my emotional recovery have given me to truly cherish life. I want to be connected to and mindful of the full richness of life.

I suspect I will work my way through this. I also suspect that I will not run out of things to communicate, even if not through blogging. And as far as blogging goes, I think I still have much to write here on this page. But I also want to respect and take note of the anxiety and fatigue I’ve been feeling lately. The anxiety is of the “lurking in the shadows” variety and not the spinning top anxiety I get when I go into overdrive.

Maybe the “new normal” that is talked about is actually a radical acceptance that life is always in-between.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

When faced with cancer or any other serious illness, it is only natural to think about the uncertainty of our futures. Lately, I find myself thinking about this more frequently. A year after diagnosis, I find myself finding more and more room for non-cancer related life, “the new normal” as it is often called.

I find myself thinking that I have no way of knowing whether I have cancer in my body or not. Frankly, this is the truth for everyone with “no evidence of disease.” I don’t know if it will come back. I also know that just like everyone else, I may have a different serious disease or injury in my future. And my family and friends will face illnesses and other hardships. We often think about disease and death as the enemy, but they are part of the natural world, and we will all face them.

By nature, I crave certainty and dislike ambiguity. In my job, I help kids and families reduce the chaos in their lives. I am the family administrator at home. I may have even been described as a “control freak”, maybe just maybe, once or twice in my life.

The last two years have been the most challenging in my life. I been been mired situations that I’d hoped I’d never have to face, full of ambiguities and dire possibilities.

What I have been noticing the most in the last month or so is the fact that I am not freaking out. Even in the scariest, grayest parts of these years, I’ve found a constant. There has always been love. Love from family, love from friends, love from healthcare providers committed to help. And the love I have for others is stronger than ever.

Life can be murky, ambiguous, and downright scary. But love is clear and love is always beautiful.

XOXOXO

Love-in-a-mist is a lovely but tough flower. If you plant it in your garden, you will have it forever.

Love-in-a-mist is a lovely but tough flower. If you plant it in your garden, you will have it forever.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Art, Science, Heart ❥

journals of a mature student nurse

Heart Sisters

For women living with heart disease

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

KomenWatch

Keeping our eyes and ears open.....

Life in a Wheelchair

You never think it could happen to you!

4 Times and Counting

Confessions Of A 4 Time Breast Cancer Survivor

Nancy's Point

A blog about breast cancer, loss & survivorship

After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

Exploring progress in cancer research from the patient perspective.

My Eyes Are Up Here

My life is not just about my chest, despite rumblings to the contrary.

Woman in the Hat

Cancer to Wellness in 1,038,769 Easy Steps!

SeasonedSistah2

Today is Better Than Yesterday

Telling Knots

About 30% of people diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage will develop distal metastasis. I am one.

The Pink Underbelly

A day in the life of a sassy Texas girl dealing with breast cancer and its messy aftermath

The Asymmetry of Matter

Qui vivra verra.

Fab 4th and 5th Grade

Teaching readers, writers, and thinkers

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

making sense of the breast cancer experience together

Telling Knots

About 30% of people diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage will develop distal metastasis. I am one.

Entering a World of Pink

a male breast cancer blog

Luminous Blue

a mother's and daughter's journey with transformation, cancer, death and LOVE

Fierce is the New Pink

Run to the Bear!

The Sarcastic Boob

Determined to Manage Breast Cancer with the Same Level of Sarcasm with which I Manage Everything Else

FEC-THis

Life after a tango with death & its best friend cancer