No way it’s nearly mid-February. I still have four ornaments sitting on my sideboard, patiently waiting to be returned to the Christmas shelves with their other shiny buddies. Alas, the Super Bowl has happened, so it must truly be mid-February. Sheesh, we just celebrated Jesus’ birth and now next week we start to ponder his death.
Speaking of death…my sis-in-law’s nephew tragically passed away a few weeks ago. Always gets me thinking about the frailty of life. The delicate tight rope we walk daily and don’t even realize. Also, makes me wonder how the parents are coping. Can’t even let myself really go there. Too sad and scary. Too gut-wrenching. Then, at the same time, I realize they are going to get through this. They are. Because that’s what we all do…we carry on. The saying that “we are all just one phone call from our knees”. That’s so true, isn’t it? Have you gotten your call yet? I suppose some of us get more than one. Which is totally not fair. Well, I got mine. Or maybe just one of mine…yikes! Quite a few people have asked me how I cope with my diagnosis. What was my first thought? Could I sleep? Am I still obsessing about it? As I think about the couple that lost their son, it all comes back to me. Those first days/weeks after I heard I had an incurable cancer, I would muddle through the days. Literally…muddle. That means to pace….seriously. I also got out a rosary and prayed. I googled stuff. I walked my dog. I walked alone. I walked with my sister. I cried. Muddling. But, each night I fell into a deep and satisfying sleep. Muddling is totally exhausting even though you accomplish nothing while doing it. Each morning I woke refreshed and thought, “ah, see, I had cancer and it was interesting to see how that felt. Now, let’s move on.” Then, before my feet hit the floor, I’d realize that I STILL HAD CANCER. It would shock me! I would relive the shock for a long time. I am supposing that that’s what it’s like for everyone who “gets the call”. Eventually, the shock wears you down, and then, I guess, that’s when you cross to acceptance. But, shit, I really don’t accept this, thank you very much.
I have better things to do then have cancer. Well, I don’t really. Because having cancer has become quite a job. It doesn’t have to. And maybe it doesn’t for everybody. But, yes, for me, it is still an obsessive thought. Not my death. I have come to realize the inevitability of that. And, perhaps, it wil be untimely and what most would consider too early, but I don’t dwell on that. The work comes in the living. This disease, and many others (perhaps all others), has “hopeful” components. What I mean is, we all have a bit of control over our disease(s). So, I obsess over that which I think I have some control. Food. Peace of mind. Exercise. It may be easier to just follow a doctor’s orders and carry on as usual. But, I looked at the stats of people who seemed to do just that. They weren’t pretty. I’d like to shout from the highest mountain that we all have the ability to be more “well”, but we have to change ourselves. For me, that means chopping so many vegetables that some days my wrists hurt from it. Drinking juices and smoothies that are rather odd-tasting and trying to tell myself they are yummy. Skipping fried foods. Eating tofu. Taking the time to be still and alone every day…call that what you will…praying, meditating…whatever. I also know that I’d be miserable if I didn’t connect with my husband and circle of friends as regularly as I do.
Something else I think everyone with a “disease” should consider. When I was first diagnosed, I felt “disposable”. Thought the world must not need me any longer. I had never asked other people for real help. Had never asked God for real help. I mean, asking to pass a test you forgot to study for doesn’t count. It’s not easy to admit you need help of any kind. But, sometimes, I guess you need to realize how good you feel when you help somebody out. And then you need to let someone else have that good feeling by helping you. Each of us needs to realize how important we are to the people we share our lives with. Not one of us is insignificant, even with so many of us on the planet. I asked for help. I prayed for a miracle. But, I felt a bit selfish in doing so. Does a parent think his/her kids are selfish when they ask for headache medicine? Or a ride to school? It’s silly to feel selfish. God expects us to ask for help. So do our friends and family. And, sometimes, we get just what we asked for!