I Am the Pollyanna of Stage 4 Cancer

I have a good attitude about life. I see the silver lining and the good in everything including my stage 4 cancer. This, I find, to be very annoying to people. Especially people that have cancer. In particular it's the "stage 4" of the more common varieties that finds me most offensive. I think, perhaps, the fact that I am not "all up in arms" about there not being enough done to help cure my dreaded type of this disease may be a sore spot with others. I say this to you: They don't know me. They have NO IDEA what it's like to have a cancer that so little research is being done on that the treatment of said cancer has not changed in almost 40 years. They don't know what is like to feel "blamed" for having their cancer. They don't know what I'd give to simply have awareness of anal cancer raised and a screening test of ANY kind offered to all people that have butt holes (by the way, that's pretty much everybody). I am not a complainer by nature, but it seems to me that if I had research being done day and night on my cancer and the study of it had become so advanced that enzymes and genetic expression were being identified as contributors to my state of demise I think I'd be pretty glad about that.

I've accepted the fact that there will be no "late breaking" trial results coming to save my ass and maybe that contributes to my Pollyanna attitude. You know, the "Glad Game" mentality that I own heart and soul may be a protective mechanism to help me cope with the truth of stage 4 anal cancer. But I really think not. Stage 4 "any" cancer is tough to beat and although some of the more popular cancers have many treatments to offer their stage 4 victims, in the end, it is too late for us all and an early exit is in the cards. Since my recurrence, many people ask me what's next as far as treatment and I just say we don't know or sometimes I say we are "making it up" as we go along (because we are) or even that a trip to MD Anderson is in order the next time it rears it's pesky little head. This makes people feel better but the truth is MD Anderson is going to "make something up" too because there really isn't any protocol in place. I am alive well beyond any expectation initially set for me and highly functional (ie: working, exercising, hanging on the planet). My oncologist usually just shakes his head at me and tells me to keep up the good work. So, I just keep praying as this has been the only constant in all my treatments.

Maybe that's it...my unwavering faith in God that has perpetuated this "bright side" annoying attitude I project. Although my faith does sustain me, faith and attitude are not dependent on each other. I know many people that have great faith and are negative about everything. Many famous people of great faith and most of the founders of our faith in the Bible suffered and had atrocious deaths and I don't remember any "Susie Sunshine" attitudes toward it. Even Jesus himself asked for the cup to be removed if possible. Because Jesus "took the cup" I don't have to worry about eternity so I don't dwell on my death anyway, just my life for which I have decided to hang on the bright side of, despite great suffering. So I am saying it right here and now that my faith has little to do with my attitude.

Life is good. I have a bushel of lemons right now and instead of seeing a basket of fruit that is, for all practical purposes, inedible and I might be hungry, I am glad that at least I won't get thirsty drinking all that lemonade I am going to make. You see? It's having something that I don't want or need and finding something to be glad about it for. It seems stupid. Who's glad about having stage 4 cancer? Nobody, right? So let's find something to be glad about it. Let's see...stage 4 cancer proved that I married the right man, he's proven that time and again. Stage 4 cancer drew me closer to my children than ever before, so there's that. Stage 4 cancer showed my sissy would catch me before I ever knew I was falling. Stage 4 cancer brought out my besties in full force. Stage 4 cancer enabled me to make peace with my family (most people never get that). I am breathing today...I'm awfully glad about that! I almost sound like her...no wonder I annoy other stage 4 cancer victims...I am the Pollyanna of stage 4 cancer :)

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Michele, I'm not stage 4 but even before my diagnose I was referred to as Susie sunshine/Pollyanna...I always see the glass half full...I really believe having a positive attitude has really helped me...I too really wish Anal Cancer wasn't such something that makes people uncomfortable and give me that look like what did I do to get it...for a cancer that is so rare it seems like a lot more people seem to be getting...thank you for your posts they are very helpful! Jeanne
Hi Michele , Well it's interesting because I readily admit / feel that cancer is not a gift ..and I have to admit that people who feel this way tend to annoy the crap out of me! But I know having lost my mom to cancer when I was 25 , and having taken exhaustive measures to avoid breast cancer (I was brca 1 + and had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction and a hysterectomy at age 44) and then getting anal cancer !! That sometimes you can't lose for winning or however that saying goes... I hate giving cancer any credit ! But I do know that everyone is different and they deal with it their own way.. I do think that seeing the positive is a great way to live in general and my boyfriend says to me "you must have been born on a sunny day" as I am pretty optimistic generally and never assume he worst even when things look grim.. I have to say when I was in he throes of treatment this attitude flew out the window and I was sure I was dying.. I don't find your "feelings or attitude" annoying because you are so honest about everything .. I love that about you.. You lay it on the line but I think you feel like.. I have come this far so I'm going to make the best of every day.. Which is not the same as pretending everything is fine.. So I think perhaps your may I say it.. Cheerful disposition. Is part of who you are.. I found sometimes that people who did not have cancer were more afraid and freaked out than I was.. Those people I avoided .. Lastly.. I don't have stage 4 cancer by some fortune of sort ... And so it's not the same as living with that knowledge .. Therefore whoever does have it has my permission to handle it in the best way they know how/. I agree with your comments about the "popular" cancers! Is it not bizzare that indeed there is a hiearchy ? But of course there is, as not all cancers are the same.. The trtmt is different and some have worse side effects than others.. It seem like we all make a pact with the devil in exchange for a chance at a longer life.. Some of us give up a body part.. A great sex life.. (Or any sex life) some give up he chance to bear a child.. Some may not have the chance to grow to be an adult.. We don't get to really pick what we are exchanging as our disease dictates that.. It is random .. It is infuriating to me how the breast cancer people get all the attention but it took my mothers life.. At age 49.. So I'm all for he cure.. But how long does it take ? I think that you are the poster child for "leaning in" and I love that about you:) My best,, Lori
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I sat with a few of our BFAC people for lucy about a year ago, we talked a little about this topic, and I thought it was interesting that I felt the same way about "colon" and that people are uncomfortable when I say "colon" but all the other survivors at the table were "anal"survivors, and they said, they would much rather say colon, than anal! I don't think people even know the difference honestly. Too bad colons and anus's are not as cool as boobs :(
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Lucy? I meant lunch!
Michele I can't answer this right now, it is too powerful. I just want to send you a huge hug...and so much love you can wrap yourself in it and sleep tight.
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What can I say that you already have expressed in this post, It's nice to hear from you and know your never going to stop being just who you are and what you firmly believe in.... Bless you Michele.... Kevin
I'm sure it's annoying somebody...LOL. It needs to catch the attention of just that right someone...... Be Well...
I am certain this post is annoying somebody, somehow, somewhere. LOL. But I only write what's in my heart and that makes it my truth, right? Michele
Amen sister! Very touching! Xoxo
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I love this post, Michele, and I love you, my dear friend! Hugs!
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you made my heart smile,you are an angel sent to heal those who can not see the world through your special eyes. thanks for being so brave and inspiring!!!!
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Pollyanna, pollyanal..I love it! And, my love to you, for beautiful words.
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|You make so much sense whenever you write your blog. People don't understand. everyone I know have been really kind but I know they are relieved that I never looked or acted "ill" at any stage. Only those of us here know exactly how we are physically and mentally. It can be so hard to be smiley all the time. Hugs annabelle
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I love the honesty in your words. One day at a time, Linda
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Everyone loves Pollyanna - it is so much more fun to be around than Negative Nelly!
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January 31, 1963 - June 10, 2020

Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

June 10

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp


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