Sometimes I Worry…

Sometimes I worry.  I give off the impression that I am strong, determined, and that nothing can make me break.  I try and see my cancer as a learning tool; something that is shaping me for something better to come.  My friends see this side the most; the worried side is someone they rarely see as I keep a lot to myself.  Sure, even I believe I am strong and I will beat this disease.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I get scared.  And I break a little.  And I cry to myself in the safety of my home office or on a walk by myself.  I’m so scared.  This is just crazy – this amount of cancer in me, and for what?  Why?  I feel that I am destined to do something else.  The life that I had before cancer was not fulfilling, and my God did I know it.  I went off on sick leave, not so much for the cancer but just to give me some peace of mind.  At the time I was dying, and well, I didn’t have to be dying there at work.  I received a card from my co-workers.  Written in very small letters, in a little corner of this huge hand made card were the words “God has a special plan for you”.  It was initialled, but no matter how many times I try and figure out whose initials those belong to, I just can’t determine who the author is.  Even though this person remains nameless, they have kept me going.  

Cancer, as you can well imagine, is a horrible, debilitating disease.  There are times, however, when things can sometimes go well, and right now I’m at that stage.  “Stable Disease” they call it.  I get tired out easily, my body aches at times, but I am alive.  I am so thrilled to just be alive! So when things go wrong, they just don’t seem so bad.  In the big scheme of things they are such small items of worry.  But they are there – financial worries are the main ones.  And those small, trivial problems are what create more fresh tears.  I can handle cancer, I can handle never knowing when my time is up, but I’ve had it with the other parts of life this disease has eaten away at.  

But as soon as I ponder the predicament I’m in, or rather the predicament that my husband and I are in, the tears stop flowing.  I’m alive! I woke up today! Another day to explore and enjoy! So things are wonderful and I accept what life has brought to the table as an offering.  I just wish the hot water tank was not dying! 

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This Really Is “Just a Thought”

I was flipping through the internet, attempting to get ideas for a few good blog entries.  I came across The Daily Post at WordPress.com.  There were a few great suggestions but nothing I really wanted to write about.  Let’s face it – if all bloggers out there in cyberland chose this method of planning a topic idea, the blogs would be pretty much the same.  But then I came across one that said “Do we live life forward, but examine it backwards?”.  Every person out there with a terminal illness will tell you the same thing – you look at life very differently when it becomes precious to you.  When there is a risk of letting it slip between your fingers, one thing that will never cease to be reflected upon time and time again is our past; those years of sweet ignorance of what lies ahead. 

We steadily live life forward, day in and day out.  We surround ourselves with the familiar; our loved ones, a great career, or maybe even a dismal job but one that holds great benefits or salary.  We have “stuff”, whether it has been passed down to us from past generations or a collection of something that we hold near and dear.  Some of us may participate in recreational activities, such as camping or horseback riding.  These are all things that make us feel safe and give us a sense of stability.  We live life, every day, and we try and get a sense of satisfaction and a large percentage of us indeed achieve that feeling of fulfillment.  Stable.  Safe.  We live life forward.  But tell me something – if you were to die tomorrow, next month, or next year, would you live your life differently?  Would you still feel the same satisfaction?  Would you quit your job that brings in a paycheck but does not fulfill you?  Would you remember that painting hanging in your parents living room from decades past?  The sense of nostalgia running through your veins?  Would it matter?  When you live life forward, you think that these things are what are going to cocoon you, to keep you free of suffering, to keep you close to your roots.   They don’t.

I love to write and I have always been a writer.  I have helped friends with university assignments when I have never been to one of their classes.  I have written long emails to close friends helping them stay afloat when a relationship dies, only to send another one later on that cheers them on when they are feeling triumphant in achieving a goal or a dream.  I’ve written short stories, contributed to a blog about nutrition and other healthy therapies in combating cancer.  I’ve been told that I’m good and that I can pour out my emotions onto a computer screen.  I’ve thought of doing it more, but the thought of doing that was always pushed forward to another time when I might have less stress or life just might be easier.  I examine this backwards; I don’t feel like I’ve let go of a dream.  Even with Stage 4 cancer, and even “terminal” as the oncologist seems to like to call it, I could very well still have time. 

I was thinking today about a painting that hung in my old childhood house in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario.  It was an oil painting, one purchased from a gallery that my mother used to work in.  My mother is now suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.  My father has been gone for ten years.  I remember that painting, a snowy picture of a couple of cabins nestled in very frigid woods, but with a light glowing inside one of the cabins.  A promise of warmth from a fire that greets the visitor walking up the crisp pathway.  My Dad used to say that it reminded him of where he grew up in Quebec.  He would tell me why he found the picture so peaceful and soothing, and I would catch him gazing at it many times.  After going through my mother’s things, the picture is one of the last things to go.  To ship it somewhere to a relative would cost an absolute fortune, and it would not blend in with the decor in my home, or at least that’s what I’ve told myself.  In fact, I find myself hanging by a thread, swaying in the breeze that surrounds me, and I find myself wanting to move forward, not backward and never allowing life to get stagnant.  That beautiful picture, the one that promised the person visiting the cabin on that freezing night a reprieve from the bitter cold was just a picture.  It exuded a stable atmosphere but it did not offer me any such stability.  I found solace in that picture when I was young, but now that I’m fighting cancer and literally fighting for my life, that picture does not belong in my home.  It represents a different perspective than the one that I now know.  Life moves on.   

So am I living life differently, now knowing that my life is fragile, and not really knowing exactly how long I’ll be around for?  I’m living life now to make up for the 43 years of a life that I played safe – but wasn’t overly happy in.  I’m writing and I’m trying to get my articles published.  I want to succeed at this and I know I still might have time.  But the very best part of my writing?  I love it.  I have never had so much passion for anything else in my life.  It brings me peace; it may even be keeping me alive.  I see the beauty in everything, even the bad.  I’ve learned that every day is an absolute miracle.  I’m living life forward but when I examine it backwards, I hold no regrets.  It’s just that I’m living differently now and absolutely loving life.

 

Up and Running (Sort of!)

I am a writer.  I love everything there is about the process of putting words onto paper.  My only regret?  That I didn’t attempt to make a living at it! I was well into my forties by the time that I realized I really am good enough to write.  You will find many writers have low self esteem when it comes to their writing ability.  They can be confident and exude charm, but when it comes to pen to paper they turn into a ten year old child.  I started gaining a bit of confidence when various friends saw what I wrote – an email here or there, a written report at work.  Then came along a blog that I have about my cancer and people really took notice.  The only problem?  I pictured these people, some I know well, others not so much,  reading it and wondering, “What does she mean by this or that?”.   Sometimes I feel like I am even possibly being judged.  That puts a damper on the writing, as I write from my heart and from my gut.  It ends up being very personal.  That is the type of writer that I am; emotional and raw.  I talk to many writers about this feeling; everyone seems to feel judged somehow.  And since my other blog is written completely about my cancer, it’s can at times be a very private affair.

Please bear with me while I get this blog into the format I would like.  I’m not particularly fond of the jumbled “justathoughtinmymind” but after trying to change the words to something that can be easily understood, I got a reply back from WordPress saying that this task cannot be completed right now – and try back in a few days!   I’m sure I’ll find some other interesting details and some changes in appearance that I can do with WordPress. 

The photo at the top of my blog is of my “kids” in Tofino, B.C., Canada.  A beautiful area, one that I would enjoy eventually returning to.  The photo was taken during the spring before last, but when I had not yet been diagnosed with my Stage 4 breast cancer that had metastasized to various parts of my body.  I remember wondering on that trip why I was so tired, and why walking a short length of the beach would leave me exhausted.  I soon found out.  I feel better – my tumours have shrunk in size, and I no longer have debilitating pain in my back and ribs.  I can walk relatively pain-free – and I want to walk that beach once again, this time a walk of someone who is surviving this disease.  Now, as one last learning task for the day, I think I’m going to include some photos below:

 

 

The photos are taken of, you guessed it, Tofino, B.C.

About

I am a 43 year old writer who lives in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  I am married and have 2 dogs who are like my kids.  Oh ya, and I have this crazy disease called Stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized to various bones and my liver.  One thing I’ve learned is that the world does not stop turning so I’m going to hang on with both hands and enjoy every minute of this wonderful ride!