Coming up for air . . .

11 Dec

I don’t even know where to begin. I have started to write a blog post so many times in the past several months, but have not been able to finish one. I have so many “saved drafts” of what should be a simple, easy thing to do – writing a blog post – but nothing. I haven’t been able to get past the first few paragraphs because if I were to continue with something I would actually make public, well. then it would not be true.

So instead, my only contribution lately has been to re-iterate my complete disdain for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Nancy Brinker et. al. and that is about as far as I can get.

I just haven’t been able to speak personally here at all. It is just too much.

It is all fine and good when all you have to say is that the coast is clear, things are getting better, “I’m feeling stronger every day”, “everything is so much better now”, “cancer is behind me”, oh and let’s not forget my favorite: “I’m so grateful”.

First of all, I am grateful. Grateful to have celebrated, just a few day ago, another birthday. A birthday that a few years ago I had about a 50/50 chance of having . . . so yes, I am really, really, really grateful.

But, for some reason, as I make my way back to a more normal life post cancer, I am finding it harder and harder to cope with post cancer life. Because, you see, there is no real return to your life before cancer, there is no “cancer is behind me” – at least not in the sense that cancer ends and you go right back to the way things were before. And, I am not saying that I want to go back to the way things were before entirely. But, let’s just say that I liked feeling like I had a path and I knew what that path was and I was able to handle my life.

So I haven’t had much to say here. I jumped in only once during the month of October and that was simply because some idiot posted a nasty (and mostly just ignorant)  comment on one of my posts from last year where I asked Komen to leave me alone. I had to respond to this person because, well, I had to. I highly doubt that my reply has convinced this person to stop drinking the Komen Koolaid, but, I gave it my best shot.

I find it is easier to express myself in areas cancer related when it is confined to the following situations 1) talking with someone who is newly diagnosed and who needs some support, encouragement (“look at me, I am fine, you will be too”, etc.) or 2) calling out Komen for their misleading use of “for the cure” when in fact they (in my opinion) are more interested in their own commercial branding, the PINKWASHING of corporations and the continual re-perpetuation of lining their own Komen pockets and the pockets of those companies for whom they sell their pink ribbon in the name of pink washing . . . NOT the cure they constantly profess. (For those who have not heard of the term “pinkwashing” it refers to the practice of companies who produce products that actually cause or increase the risk of cancer paying for a pink ribbon – a “for the cure” stamp of approval – which then leads people to further purchase these cancer causing products, consume them and actually feel good about it). Pinkwashing is bad. But perhaps one of the most horrific things that Komen does is to to claim that they are “for a cure” and yet only donate somewhere between 14% and 19% of the money they raise in the name of a cure to research. (Some years Komen has raised nearly $400 million dollars – just think that if instead of only donating about 14% of that money to research, they donated 50% or 80% . . . now that would be something, wouldn’t it)?

See . . . this is all I feel comfortable writing about. It IS important to tell this story of Komen – the very true, very wrong story that IS Komen.

BUT, I have a life. And that life is one that has become increasingly difficult to share about here, online. I have felt guilty about not sharing here. I feel as though I have abandoned a commitment that I made. There are a group of women bloggers who are devoted and passionate about writing – this is true awareness (and it is awareness that Komen does NOT provide). There are women that have taken up the cause in every way and continue to do so, they don’t give up – women like Anne Marie at Chemobrainfog, Kathi at The Accidental Amazon, Phillippa at Feisty Blue Gecko, Nancy at Nancy’s Point, and so many others (I have so many to add to my “blogroll” here. In fact, my next post will be a list of bloggers I think you should follow, that I wish I had more time to follow). And sadly there are so many newly diagnosed women who are now joining us here on the blogosphere.

In the beginning I wrote to let family and friends know how I was doing. It was far easier than making phone calls since most of my days were about fighting with my insurance company and simply keeping up with treatment and the sometimes 6 medical appointments in one week. It was a full time job.

Now as I have returned to my real full time job there are many adjustments to make. It has been hard. There was a cancer scare last summer that seemed to trail into the fall and take over the past several months. Fortunately all turned out well. But, it was a series of tests, biopsies and finally a surgery to remove the (thankfully) not so offending tissue. It wasn’t fun. But, as the anesthesiologist told me before I went into surgery last month, “this will be a breeze compared to what you’ve been through”

LOL

I didn’t know whether to find peace in that statement or to simply cry. I did take solace in that whatever was coming was not going to be as bad as whatever had happened before. But, it did really strike a chord with me – that this surgery was going to “be a breeze”. My life since 2009 has been anything but a breeze. But, whose life is? I recall days I could barely walk and the friends that would take me on walks because I couldn’t go alone and so desperately wanted to walk . . . they went with me, walked as slow as I needed to go so that I could get that mile in if I could. Those were some days.

And now I can run. And now I can work a forty hour work week (and then some). And now I am getting my life back. But, there is an expense that comes with that – a lack of balance I guess. I am grateful to be rebuilding a business I had to close down because of cancer. I am grateful for the opportunity to start over. But, I am tired. It is so hard and it is so difficult.

To be reliable in my business, I have to be unreliable in my personal life. That stinks. I hate that. But, what choice do I have? I have been clawing my way back with every ounce of my being to regain whatever I can – physically, financially. To do those two things I have little time or energy for anything else. I am trying to create a new version of my business, one that will fund a more balanced life. But, until then I am working very long hours after which I pretty much just go to bed. I communicate with few people and go out rarely other than work related things. I am determined, so determined to get my life back. But, I am grateful for what I have today and I am hopeful for a future that enables me to do more of what I want.

I miss spending time with friends and family. I miss having time to connect with my friends and family. And, I miss writing here too. I hope to be back in more ways than I am now. But, I am here and so grateful for that. This most recent birthday was amazing. I truly did not think back in early 2009 that I would be here now in 2012. I will never forget what my doctor told me when I asked her if I could survive this. She said, “The best thing in your favor is your youth and that you are physically strong . . . fight”

Those were chilling words for me. When I pressed for statistics I was told not to think about numbers (of course this was because the numbers for me were not good). But, that time is gone now. Those days are over. And now I look toward a future where hopefully I will remain cancer free.

It is hard to keep your eye on that prize sometimes . . . I have lost three friends to cancer in this past year alone. I have seen two more friends diagnosed with cancer. It is an epidemic and it seems to be one that is affecting younger and younger women. Of course I am no scientist. I am simply going by what I see. We need to do something. Komen is not it. (I know, I always come back to that). But, clearly what they are doing is not working. We need real money going to a cure. We need research funded for all types of cancer and in particular – the kind that kills – metastatic cancer.

Well, now maybe you will understand why I haven’t posted anything here in so long. This ramble, jumble of a post is going to be posted. To those of you who have been unable to reach me, who I haven’t called back, or been able to see, please understand why and please accept my apologies. I hope that next year will be one where I am able to have more balance and  can do more than simply work 🙂 But, I AM so, so, so very grateful I am able to work like I am right now. It is wonderful.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday. I will be spending mine with my family – we will be doing our third annual Tappas Christmas (that is how I celebrate Christmas now post cancer – no more boring turkeys or crown roasts for this girl . . . I’m mixing it up).

Much love to you all and thank you for your continued prayers.

Lisa

P.S. To everyone who has tried to reach me, please keep trying and don’t give up on me. It is not because I don’t love you, I am just doing the best that I can. Things will get better 🙂 I appreciate your understanding. Happy Holidays.

Me and my niece last summer :)

Me and my niece last summer 🙂

10 Responses to “Coming up for air . . .”

  1. Sandy December 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM #

    I love the idea of the annual Tappas Christmas, and even more so, the attitude it represents! Cancer does have a way of changing our priorities, doesn’t it? I only thought I knew what was important before. Or more accurately, I knew, but I wasn’t living it. Now I’m acting on my priorities with a new vigor. Maybe I’ll try tappas for Christmas. 🙂

    • cancerfree2b December 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM #

      Hi Sandy,

      🙂 I hope you are having a great day today!

      Tappas for Christmas is fun, I will post some pictures from last year’s. We had many different items and it really made it feel like a special day in a new way some how 🙂

      Hang tough, you are doing great, almost done with chemo, you are almost there. Radiation for us fair skinned girls isn’t so bad . . . tiring, but, not so bad. I am proud of you and how you are managing everything. I know it is tough, but you make it look easy. Call on me anytime my friend.

      All the best and much love to you always,
      Lisa

  2. Stacey December 13, 2012 at 8:50 AM #

    Lisa, don’t apologize. I’m so glad to see you’re busy and that your absence wasn’t anything other than that! Enjoy your family, work, anything you want to do. That’s the whole point of getting through all those rough days, isn’t it? I’m slacking off on my blog for the same reasons, so I understand feeling like you’re letting someone down, but you’re not. I’m happy for you. Have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year. xoxo

    • cancerfree2b December 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM #

      Hi Stacey! It is so nice to hear from you. I really, really need to catch up. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you have a terrific new year! This Sunday I am going to set aside a few hours to catch up on some blogs! (Yours is on my list of course)! All the best to now and in the new year. Happy New Year! xoxoxoxoxox

  3. chemobrainfog December 13, 2012 at 10:46 PM #

    Love, Love, LOVE to you….. Happy Happy Joy Joy and all that jazz… and thanks for the endorsement… I’m fixing my blog and rearranging things (because that’s just what a chemobrain should be doing…..)

    Trying to catch up on everyone and realizing those who are too “quiet” ….glad you updated…. Love Life Lisa… xoxox

    • cancerfree2b December 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM #

      Hi AM! Thank you for your message – so sweet!

      I hope you had a wonderful holiday and I wish you a very, very happy New Year.

      Let’s skype in 2013!

      Love to you,

      Lisa

  4. Nancy's Point December 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM #

    Oh, Lisa, I completely understand. I’m struggling with the balance thing too. Perhaps we all are. I find it so much harder to get as many things done as I used too. I also find it often takes me longer to get fewer things done. It is frustrating sometimes. We just do the best we can carrying on with life. Write when you can. Ramble whenever you want. We are out here listening!

    Enjoy your holidays. And my best to you and yours in the New Year. And thank you so much for the mention! Big hugs.

    • cancerfree2b December 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM #

      Nancy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      It is tough isn’t it . . . simply taking on what used to be a normal day? Funny how it is. But, we do our best and that is all we can do.

      I am going to do some serious catching up on blogs in the next week, lots of reading to do!

      I hope you had a wonderful holiday! Happy New Year to you, here’s to an easier year!

      love,
      Lisa

  5. The Accidental Amazon December 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM #

    Lisa, I am SO glad you wrote this post. I have been wanting to reply to your reply on your last post, but WordPress was not cooperating whenever I tried. But this post is the reality of cancerland. I’ve only managed myself to claw my way back to working 80% of full-time, which in my job ends up being full-time anyway, with all the extra stuff I end up having to do. I can completely relate to how circumscribed your social life has become, compared to what it used to be. I’m trying to improve my own, slowly, but every bit of progress is slower than I want it to be.

    The thing that is so hard to explain to people is that it’s never really ‘over.’ It’s so hard to describe how, even four years after diagnosis, I have to adjust my expectations and priorities all the time, every day, sometimes every hour. I never really know when I’m going to be hit with a bout of brain fog or fatigue or pain from scar tissue, or anxiety because I have a test or a checkup coming up. But it’s true for all of us. And it’s important to tell it like it is, because it’s important for our friends and our own psyches to be real about this. Sometimes, I get tired of having to explain, and I just avoid the truth; and I don’t know if it’s me I’m protecting or my friends and colleagues. *sigh* A bit of both perhaps.

    This feels like a big leap for you, and perhaps now you will find your blog serving you, rather than feeling like you have to serve your blog. Wishing you every good thing for Christmas & the New Year. And thank you so much for mentioning my blog. I’ve been feeling my way on it, too, these past few months, but I think I have a better sense now of where it’s going…and where I’m going. It’s a never-ending process. Much love to you. Kathi

    • cancerfree2b December 28, 2012 at 12:40 PM #

      Oh Kathi,

      Your words speak volumes. I so feel all of that – half of the time the secrets I keep are to protect others as well as myself, a bit of both – I completely get that. It is sometimes just too hard to explain it – just like you say.

      I feel like I am this bitch sometimes because I get so frustrated with things and those around me don’t necessarily understand. That is my fault though for not being honest with those around me – after all, how can they know if they don’t know, if I don’t tell them. Incidentally none of my immediate family follows this blog. It is just for those that are not around the corner . . . or down the hall. In fact, some of my immediate family simply can’t look at it, couldn’t look at it when I was going through the worst of things . . . and now . . . well it is supposed to be over, done. So they don’t follow it. My Mom and Dad would if they were online and my Mom asks me to print out posts for her (to have for herself and to share with friends – who also are not online). But, my brothers can’t look at it, it is supposed to be past, done. Why do I keep going on and on about this cancer crap . . . LOL (One of my brothers actually said that). Sorry, I shouldn’t whine, but there it is.

      He just doesn’t get it. On some levels (when I was actually going through treatment) the fact that I was ill brought me closer to that brother. But, now we are farther apart I think. I think it is because in his opinion I am dwelling on something negative. But, he isn’t in my body and simply just doesn’t understand it. And I am not going to try to make him understand, there isn’t any point in that, it won’t change my life and it will only make him sad (if he even believed me).

      Well, thank YOU. Thank you for writing what you wrote here, it means so much and I completely get it. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for your kind words.

      Much love to you Kathi, I wish you all good things in 2013!

      XOXOXOXOXOX

      Lisa

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