Cancer doesn’t care . . .

7 Feb

Every day presents some new challenge or struggle . . . that is life isn’t it?  This post cancer landscape is truly unpredictable. It is that unpredictability that I find the most difficult. I am a planner, a list maker,  and, I suppose, a bit of a control freak.  But, cancer isn’t something you can just cross off your list.  It just doesn’t work that way.

I went to cheer Dan on at the Surf City Marathon yesterday. And, I went to scope it out in the hopes of running it next year. I met a few cheese heads along the way.

But, as I have taken on more work, resumed family gatherings (I hosted Christmas dinner for the first time in two years) and more and more of the daily tasks that once were too much, I definitely see real progress. I have to measure it that way – in what I am able to do now compared to just three months ago or one year ago.  When I look at it that way, it is a real accomplishment. But, if I compare now to what I used to be able to do, pre-cancer, well, then it is kind of depressing.

A year ago I was recovering from radiation, still in treatment, struggling to keep my white count up and just fighting to get through each day.  So, as tempting as it is to dwell a bit on what I wish I could do, I have to focus on what I am able to do now . . . especially in light of what I have been through. Thankfully, so far, I have been able to survive cancer. And, I have been able to resume many things that I was not sure I would ever be able to do again. I am very grateful for that.

And as life always seems to do . . . every once in a while you get that jolt that shakes you up and makes you see things more clearly; with a better perspective.

I recently learned of a former high school classmate’s struggle with cancer. She was diagnosed with colon cancer just 10 months ago and after a hard battle she passed away last week. She left behind family and friends, including an eleven year old daughter and a nine year old son. So very, very sad.

I got out my year book this morning and looked up her picture. Her obituary photo looks so much like she did when she was a teenager. I never knew her well. But, I know a little bit of what she has been through.  I know of the battle and not knowing how it will end and the fear of dying, the fear of leaving those who need you behind and the fear of what life will be like if you are lucky enough to survive. I am so sad for her and for her family . . . so sad that her last days were so hard and so sad that she did not survive the cancer.

I am grateful that my parents have not had to suffer the loss of a child. That was, and is, one of my primary goals to make sure that they do not have to experience that kind of grief. It has been quite enough for them to see me through chemo and radiation and surgeries. And it is still taxing for them to see me in this post cancer state; struggling to do what once came easily. I know it is hard for them.

I am told that my chances of having a recurrence are 50%. There are things that I can do to reduce my risk of recurrence (diet, exercise, tamoxifen, life style changes, vigilante follow up, etc.). I am doing everything I can . . . it is a more quiet battle that I fight now. But, it is a war I try to wage daily in the choices I make in food and rest and work and how I spend my time. Still, the cards will fall however they do regardless.  I just need to know that whatever happens I did my best to prevent my parents from the worst kind of suffering.

I am, and will be, forever grateful for this time right now and for the past several months post treatment. That I even got to the point of post treatment is such an incredible gift. My former classmate did not. So many do not and there is no rhyme or reason to any of it.

Cancer doesn’t care who you are, what your dreams are or who loves you or needs you.

I am so grateful to everyone who has been here for me. I know I would not be here if it were not for all of you.

Much love and peace,


P.S. Here are a few more pictures from yesterday . . . 

2 Responses to “Cancer doesn’t care . . .”

  1. Sandy February 7, 2011 at 7:10 PM #


    Woo hoo, you’re going to be Marathon Woman! 🙂 I’ve run the half there twice and loved it. It’s my favorite course.

    You look fabulous in your photos, btw. Good to see you out and about. “Hi” to Dan. 🙂


  2. cancerfree2b February 19, 2011 at 10:24 AM #

    Hi Sandy,

    For some reason the comments on my blog haven’t been showing up in the place that I am used to seeing them post. So, I am just now seeing your comment. Thank you, and sorry for the delay in my response to you.

    I miss you. We have to get together soon.

    I am done with my class (it really was intense and I am very, very glad it is behind me). My students take their exam next week, so I will still be fielding calls next week and hopefully getting some rest. I have, for the most part, gone to work and gone to bed. That has been the past couple of months. I very much need to get outside. The marathon was fun to go to. I was glad to support Dan there in his run. Being out in a crowd made me realize how just a year ago I would not have been able to do that . . . even less than a year ago, I would not have felt safe to be out and among that many people (germs and my at that time low white count). So, it is certainly an accomplishment to be where I am now.

    I am clawing at getting my life back Sandy. Some days I am more successful than others. And some days are just plain too depressing. Not sure where all of this will end up. But, I am here, glad of that and hoping to get some rest for a bit and then meet up soon. Maybe in a week, provided your schedule allows.

    Hoping to see you soon.

    Much love,

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