War of Words

Within me lies of war of words that I cannot seem to get out. Some call it writers block. My hope is that if I "blog it out", as I like to say, I will be able to sort it all out and return to the place where my words flow freely from my brain to my fingertips again, the dam made of my emotions can be broken apart. Forgive my ramblings. Here goes...

My 52nd birthday is coming, my five year cancerversary nipping close on it's heels. The fact that I will be alive on February 4, 2015 is a miracle in many people's eyes, my own included. It was never impossible, a 22% survival rate at five years for stage IV anal cancer, but it was improbable. My odd presentation of the disease I think weighted the odds in my favor, even though the doctors impressed the gravity of my diagnosis into each conversation and consultation. I decided to fight on that very first day, to not back down. To never say die. I have had to battle the beast two more times since then and, to be honest, I have become...not fearless...just better equipped for each bout. I arm myself in between rounds with knowledge and plans of execution. "How will I war against it next time? What weapons do I need?" I don't wait in fear anymore. I prepare. To quote my sister "We have a plan. We can do anything." I believe this. I believe in God and in grace; I trust my gut and doctor's wisdom. I have to. I must.

Recently I have been giving much thought to this five year milestone. Some may think I need to "just get over it already". Honestly, I will never "get over it". Who get's "over" it? Well, a lot of the people around me have "gotten over" it. They are tired of it. Who isn't? I mean, I didn't "die on cue" like I was supposed to. It's just dragging out the drama, right? Even my doctors are pushing me to "just walk on". I have tried to resume my life, return to normal, whatever that is, with little luck. I am not the same, I will never be "over it". It's been like trying to put on skinny jeans the day after you have a baby, no can do. They just don't fit. My old life doesn't fit anymore. I have a renewed sense of being and a whole new life agenda. It's not about me anymore and how much I can accumulate or indulge in self-gratification. Now don't get me wrong, I love treating myself with my weekly lattes and a massage now and then and I spend a lot more time just trying to maintain my health. It's just that some parts of the last five years feel so surreal. Like it didn't really happen. How could I have survived all this time and be alive and well? People can only be amazed and happy for you for 'so long' and then they want to move on and they wonder why I can't. I have definitely stepped out of the shadow of my old life and my cancer, but to where? My direction has definitely changed and, just to be clear, I'm not always sure of where I am going. I vacillate between moments of great clarity of mission and a bit of aimlessness. I don't know. I just know that I didn't survive this for nothing. I'm not into wasting time these days. To be frank, I don't even know what this blog entry is about. These are my feelings falling out. This "five year" impressive milestone is mind boggling to me and has pushed me a bit off kilter.

The thing is, I am alive and I am "walking on" but on a different path in these days of respite from my disease. What I do know is this...I am only sure of love, happiness and inner peace. All are gifts. I have decided that I will take improbable odds over impossible odds any day because with impossibility lies despair and with improbability lies a chance and with a chance, no matter how small, lies hope.

Okay. That's it. It's all out...now maybe the writing can begin again :) 

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Yeah I know ... everyone knows that life never can be the same.. when you have something hanging over you ..its a new way of living.. some parts are really cool.. especially when you get to help someone who is really lost in the beginning of diagnosis.. its real good for them to see someone surviving even if you have head problems( literally) and making it... but personally, if your not a person that has had cancer and had this terrific assault on your body and mind then you can't get it... yes people can be sympathetic and they do want you to get over yourself.. but to bad.. as for me.. so do I.. but it's not that simple .. and there are many days I still cry out in horror of what has happened to me and my Dad.. who is now gone.. I can freak out if I want to and I feel like I can be really cool about it to... its up and down and I think it may always be this way.. as long as I have a memory..I definitely would go back if I could and not have this happen... I hear some people say different .. not me.. I wish I could get me back but I know its not going to happen.. and I am moving forward one day at a time.. hoping for the best.. sometimes still scared of death and always grateful I have my life...trying to make my way into something.. right now I still feel I am recovering.. so its 3 years and the beat still goes on with all stuff from the cure... This is the first week in 3 years without an appointment.. next week I have 3.. next week I find out if they do or don't see anything that looks like cancer.. again... So its like going to trial... will the jury say she is free.(till the next scan).. go to prison.. (another treatment)... or death row.... soo there is the Grimm fairytale .. so dramatic.. right? How is one suppose to be back to normal when you constantly are up for an academy award?...lol.... We will see how I take the news this time... just another tricky day in paradise...lol... Michele I always think of you when I go for my scan like I have told you before... The picture of your hands.. so innocent but not anymore ... its such a shame we have to experience any of this.. I am praying for us.. hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
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Michele, I certainly don't read any writer's block in your well-written story of our new lives. You are able to clearly communicate.

To this day, our bodies (and souls) have all had some sort of damage or changes to them we can be attributed to our cancer treatment - but what really gnaws on my keister is when someone tells me "don't play the 'cancer card' - your cancer is over" - yeah, well tell my body that. "Cut me some slack, jack". It's like Archie Bunker telling Edith to "get over her menopause" in a day - it ain't gonna happen.

I would have thought my cancer to be the 'push' that I needed to make important changes in my life; but I wanted to be 'comfortable' with the way I've known for the past 25 years, rather than change them up. Despite trying, relationship changes for the better have not occurred. I still work for the same arse who considered my chemo days as 'vacation days'. The most positive thing to come from cancer survival is finding this great group of people here on BFAC who do 'get it', and being able to relate to my parents and their cancer, even though they won't take my advice to save their lives, as if I'm not already uniquely qualified.
Cancer sucks. Some consider it a time bomb in our bodies, but it's no more a time bomb than a heart attack, a stroke, or a plane crashing through your house roof - we can't live in constant fear, and I know cancer 'survivors' that do- and that's sad. The fought the battle, but lost the war.
Yes, we may get the old, you only have a 22% or 55% chance, but you know what, SOMEBODY has to be that 22%, and it might as well be YOU!. That's what we all need to realize - we CAN be the percentage that survives 5+ years (and to those who survive 5+ years WITH cancer, my hat is off to you, and you know who you are).
So, after my incohesive ramblings, we all have our scars and badge of courage, and HOPE, hope that we will be that percentage that does make it thru the tough times and prove the oddsmakers wrong.
MGBY,
John
Beautifully said and can totally relate. I don't think there's one person here who couldn't! But then again, that's why we are here..For each other right? Congrats and God bless on your 5 year cancerversary!
I was given a 45% 5 year survival rate. 2 weeks shy of 2 years NED myself. And like you, it's just self consuming sometimes..I'm lying. Every day I wake up, it'the 1st thing I think about! My coach is Paul, just read his blog and Wow. But I think that's his reason to be here under odds I wouldn't take, if I were a betting man. Same goes for you maybe?
God bless. And have a Very happy Birthday!
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Michele, I can't tell you how many times I've looked at my life now vs what it was 7 years ago. There is NO comparison. Gone are the days when I woke up each morning worrying about the small things. Now, instead I wake up worrying about cancer coming back. But as you have stated so well, no one else, it seems, has that same worry for me. They have all split, moved on, gone on with their lives. No one ever asks me how I'm doing and they don't know or even want to know about this concern my doctors have about this "thingy" on my liver (my term, not theirs, even though the docs don't know what it is either!). I have found that being a long-term survivor of this disease pretty much requires me to worry and/or suffer in silence. I guess that's the way it is. Thank God for this blog. Hugs to you, my dear friend.

Martha
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Thank God for you Michele, and ypur well-written posts, as well as the others on here who "get it". I guess because we "got it" (cancer), now we "get it". I was hiking the other day, and said something to a fellow hiker who asked why we didn't go all the way up (no potties on the mountain!)about cancer, and his reply was "That's over now. You can't play that card anymore." If only..... Because I fared pretty well through my treatment, my adult kids are convinced I'm "from another planet" & "super human". My friends and workout buddies never saw me stop, so they all assume it must have been easy and that I am "all better" now. Yes, I feel great. My energy is almost normal and I look like me. I did gain 25 pounds during treatment (steroids?), which I am just starting to get off- 4.6 pounds gone as of yesterday! I have a much different attitude toward every aspect of life than BC- before cancer. I don't obsess about it coming back, but the thought is there, every day, at least once. I am so busy with work- I'm the balloon lady and ProBowl & Superbowl are both here in Phoenix this year- working out, taking care of my disabled son, and keeping employees & paperwork straight that those around me think I'm the old me. But we all know we can never be our old selves. Cancer changed us. I am striving to make those changes positive ones. I do have a vacation scheduled and paid for in July- woo hoo! My hats off to all of us on this site- may God bless us, keep us, and give us what we need.
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Yes, so true. Every day I wake up and my first words are, "Thank you Lord for another day". That's how I measure life now, in very small increments.

Congratulations on this milestone, and thank you for all the great, thought-provoking posts.

Hugs,
Mari
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Well, you said it right there in a nutshell. After only a few months, people were saying to me "but you don't look sick" when I said I couldn't do this or that, or that my priorities had changed, or...or...or...In my new reality I just say it and that's it as far as I'm concerned. Family and friends HAVE to accept this, and others...well they just don't matter in the scheme of things. I'm all for cutting back commitments, whatever they are, and concentrating on YOU. You are an inspiration to so many of us on this site, Michele. Take care, and love...Lucky
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Happy 52nd Birthday. You should celebrate all week next week. You earned it. My birthday gift can only be the words "Thank you". You have taught me and inspired me with every post. As for those who think you (or any of us) should "get over it", it's likely they will have their own day of awakening and then they'll understand. Not that I wish hardship on anyone, but being human, it will come.
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I so agree with your post Linda! Wish I would have been more compassionate with friends and family who have or had cancer and gone through treatment. Now, I understand!!
I really can relate to this post and the comments. This is the 5th time "it" is back in 3 years. My own son doesn't want to hear about it anymore. No more bad news. Thank God for the people on BFAC. I feel that someone understands. It doesn't get any easier for me to hear "it's cancer". Thanks Michele for giving voice to my feelings. May your birthday celebration be full of joy.
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Michele, I am very glad that you turned out to be in the 22 percent! Why did my father die at 41 and I'm still here at 70? Inexplicable.

Read Stephen Jay Gould's essay sometime about being told that the median survival with his cancer was 8 months. He died twenty years later of a different disease...You are here and you inspire so many people on this blog. Be strong. Be well. Hugs.
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Michele,
Sorry for the delay in my response, I did see you had posted and always do enjoy your posts and wanted to be able to sit back and savor comfortably. You are always able to put in words all that is going on in my head. Tomorrow will be 3 years since my diagnose and I'm going out to a movie with Danean from BFAC, no it isn't really a celebration but I think just an acknowledgment...others don't get it and I'm really kind of glad they don't...thank you for being here and for being you...Hugs Jeanne
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I have to hand it to you Michele, you sure have a way of voicing what many of us are feeling at the most opportune moments. My five year cancerversary is coming up in March and I have been doing a lot of reflection. Most of the time I keep it to myself, since people are getting tired of it. Even doctors think I should be moving on now. And I certainly do not want to discourage any newbies by saying you will never be the same again. Life does go on though, and it even throws some good stuff at you from time to time. I have learned to cherish those good times.
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I love every word of every blog you write. HAPPY BIRTHDAY for 31st Hugs Annabelle
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Beautifully written as always! Happy Birthday Michele! XOXO
Michele likes this comment
Wishing you a very happy 52!.. Wish you another 40 more! May you stay healthy and happy! 👍
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

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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