Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dignity Is Always En Vogue

Sometimes life isn't about the things that happen to you; it's about how you handle them.

There's something to be said for handling bad news and tragedy with dignity and strength. That message has been repeatedly shown to me over the last few days - through both friends and strangers. If you need examples of strength in adversity, let me know. I have some very amazing and inspiring people to point you to who smile in the face of tragedy and celebrate life despite loss and grieving.

It's not easy fighting every day. Some people, though, don't get the chance to fight. They're gone in an instant. I'm blessed that both my mom and I have had the opportunity, strength, and support needed to fight. I try (emphasis on try) to live life each day to the best of my ability - rest when needed (often), eat horribly bad food for me, laugh, love, cry, and take every hug I can get. It takes a lot of energy to stay motivated and positive; it's an effort worth making though. Don't think I don't have depressed moments - given my last post I obviously do - but with the love and support of Eric, my parents, my siblings, my family, my friends, I continue.

We don't get to choose the bad cards we are dealt, but we do get to pick how to play them. Dignity is one of the many things that no one (or no disease) can ever take from you. Classiness never goes out of style.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nobody Fights Alone

Cancer makes you feel very alone sometimes. I'm disconnected from my friends and coworkers. I have this new weird schedule that revolves around doctor's appointments, chemo, and picking up prescriptions. When I get depressed I feel pretty alone. It's the worst at night. Both my mom and I have experienced pretty bad insomnia. Awake, alone, with our pain and all our thoughts about cancer, life, death, and weddings. It's alarming to say the least.

While my family and friends are amazing and amazingly supportive, in my bad moments I feel alone. It feels like no one understands what it's like to be almost 30 years young, fighting for my life, putting some dreams on hold, and living with chronic pain.*

So here's what I've found helps, in no particular order:
  • Take medication
  • Call my sister
  • Plan my wedding
  • Take more medication
  • Commiserate with my mom
  • Play buck hunter with Jacob.
  • Re-read the 100s of fb messages and cards I've gotten from my wonderful friends
  • Text Rachel
  • Take medication
  • Listen to rap music on youtube

For Christmas, my brother got me and my mother cancer bracelets - the rubber ones that are colored for each cancer. Teal is the ovarian cancer color; royal blue is the colon cancer color. They say "no one fights alone!" on them. He gave us 50 each for us to give out to our supporters. We gave out all 100 in less than a week and had to order more! I don't expect people to wear them all the time (especially my more fashionable friends as blue/teal doesn't go with every outfit). It's just nice to know how many people are out the rooting for us. It's our own little tracking device. Our diehard supporters wear their bracelets everyday and I appreciate that.

I'll put my cancer fighting bracelets on when I feel alone. That way when I feel lonely I can remind myself that I'm connected to our family and friends who love and support me. It reminds me that no one fights alone. No one is alone, even if it feels that way sometime. We're all in this struggle called life together.

In unrelated news, this week was my mom's birthday! It also marks the one year anniversary of her being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sufficient to say last year's birthday sucked and this hasn't been the most fun year. However, we're thankful to still have her with us and we're all hopefully about the vaccine she's receiving from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

One thing I've been struck by lately is that there is a lot of suffering and tragedy in the world. Things can change in an instant. Not to be too much of a downer, (you are reading a cancer blog though), but people can die suddenly from heart attacks, car crashes, bear attacks, you name it. I guess what I'm trying to say, very uneloquently, is that I'm thankful for the time that I've had over the last year with my family - even if it hasn't been the greatest at times. I'm still thankful that we still have each other. Yeah we've had bad days, but we've also laughed a lot, mostly at each other. It's humbling to think that even through this cancer treatment, we still are very blessed to be together. There are greater tragedies in the world than ours, for sure.

In the end, no one fights alone. Some just have bracelets to prove it.

*As I write this,  I know one person reading knows exactly what this feels like - and I hope she had a good week visiting with her sister :)