Thank you for visiting cancerland. We hope you enjoyed your stay.

18 Nov
Cover of "One Fish, Two Fish (Dr.Seuss Cl...

One Breast, Two Breast, Red Breast, New Breast . . .

I haven’t written in a while. I keep starting a blog post, even get quite a distance into it, but, then I stop, save it as a draft and put my laptop away. When I return to it the next day I am no longer “there” anymore and so I start over, writing about something else. I have nearly posted something on a number of topics in the past couple of weeks. But, I just can’t seem to put myself behind it long enough to get it done.

Lately, I either write because I feel particularly down, displaced by this cancer nonsense, and use writing as a vehicle to somehow transport me back to a better spot or I write because I want to share something really good.

I think the past several weeks I have had so many highs and lows and have so quickly felt tossed back and forth from one extreme to another that I can’t wrap my head around either place long enough to write about it. Friends are calling and emailing to see how I am doing: “You haven’t written in a while . . . are you okay?” etc.

I am tired. I am overwhelmed. I am happy. I am sad. I am grateful. I am angry. I am joyful. I am mad.

I am quick. I am strong. I am slow. I am weak. I am exhausted. I am invigorated. I am bereft. I NEED sleep.

Maybe I can turn the above into a Dr. Seuss book for cancer patients.

In a tree. In a boat. On a train . . .

I know . . . I could call it: One Breast, Two Breast, Red Breast, New Breast (you know, the Dr. Seuss book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish). That would have to be the breast cancer-mastectomy-radiation-reconstruction version of the book. Or I could do a new version of “Oh the places you”ll go” . . . and call it: “Oh The Places You Will Never Want to Go”?

I am fierce . . . the hot-pink-now-faded t-shirt I wore to nearly every infusion for over a year.

I am 20 months into this cancer roller coaster and still I am not off the ride. It isn’t like there is a graduation day. No Pomp and Circumstance marks the end of my war. I don’t get a diploma that says “cured”. There isn’t a sign that says “Now Departing Cancerland”.

Instead, there are the daily reminders of both what I have been through and what I look forward to, what I have lost and what I have gained. Every time I get dressed and look to see if a scar shows through or whether a top still fits or does it need to be tossed. And, the difficulty even getting some clothes on and off because my arms don’t go all the way up over my head anymore (the radiated side is not cooperating at all – one of the things they don’t tell you is that when you go through radiation your pectoral muscle can shrink which can leave you with a frozen shoulder . . . back to physical therapy at $100 a week . . . )

I marvel at how far I have come, but, I am sobered by how far I still have to go. It is a very strange and surreal journey. And it is not over. I guess that is the most difficult part right now – navigating through this time – from cancerland to the rest of my life. I feel pain on a daily basis, but, it is better to keep moving than to lay in bed. I definitely feel like I have my wits about me again . . . chemo-brain be damned (my brain really does seem to function again . . . the way it used to . . . what a huge relief). And, I have been able to work out a few times at the level I would have before all of this began (I put in a pretty intense hour and a half at the gym just a few days ago). I AM making my way there . . . where ever there is . . .

I just wish there was a map.

4 Responses to “Thank you for visiting cancerland. We hope you enjoyed your stay.”

  1. Sally November 18, 2010 at 8:09 PM #

    It must have been so very scary and so incredibly difficult for so impossibly long.
    I guess it’s better we don’t know ahead of time or we wouldn’t have the strength to face life.
    I am glad your brain is back to working mode and that you are able to work out. You will only get stronger with time, so don’t push yourself too hard. Glad you have your great sense of humor! I’d love to see you be another Dr. Seuss writer.
    Love always,

  2. cancerfree2b October 5, 2013 at 12:10 AM #

    Reblogged this on cancerfree2b and commented:

    What I was not aware of until I went through breast cancer myself: The following blog post was written 20 months after I was diagnosed. I am re-posting it now because it reminds me of how long recovery has taken – 20 months out I was still struggling and fighting. I am now 4 1/2 years out. Back then (November of 2010) I marveled at how far I had come and how far I felt I still needed to go . . . and I still do the same to this day. It is a good thing.

  3. sally peck October 5, 2013 at 8:31 AM #

    Confession–I don’t remember reading this, but must have since I replied to it. Lisa, you are such a great writer, so articulate. Be well. Stay fierce.

    • cancerfree2b October 5, 2013 at 9:15 AM #

      Awe, Aunt Sally, thank you 🙂

      I love you! And here’s my confession: I don’t remember seeing your reply earlier – I’m guessing that I did not see it back then as I did not reply – my apologies.

      Have I told you how proud I am to be your niece? Well I am, you are amazing!

      Much love to you.


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