The Theory

It is the early morning hours of Sunday morning. My typical Sunday consists of waking up to the smell of my husband's coffee and the gentle crinkle of the newspaper that he is reading wafting through the air until they reach my sleepy ears in our bedroom at the top of the stairs. A most pleasant way to be roused from slumber. I anticipate our Sunday services at church followed by a stop for coffee at our local Starbucks. But this is no ordinary Sunday. 
 
First of all I am not at home I am in Houston. There was no delicious smell of coffee or turning rattle of newspaper page to awaken my senses. Instead I was awakened by my thoughts and after tossing and turning for 15 minutes I decided I was "up" already so why not get up and allow the tangle of words in my mind to spill forth on this page of mine. My husband is not here with me for this visit. I am here with my soul sister (SS) of of more than two years now and she is a wonderful support to me. I feel connected and close and cared for by her as we both prepare for testing tomorrow and doctor appointments to follow. I miss my husband but I am okay. I know I can do this without his physical presence but when it comes down to it I am not exactly sure how I will feel when my testing results are revealed. I suppose I am about to find out and most certainly will tell all about it here, where words come through fingers when vocal cords fail.
 
I arrived yesterday since my SS has temporary long term housing near to MD Anderson. I rented a car so we could have the freedom of wheels while I was here and we could have a day for fun before we are all consumed with our health and swallowed by the medical center with it's needles, scanners and anxious waits. We will be there for each other in a way that neither of us can really understand until we experience it. I hope we can be "enough" for each other. I hope I do not let her down as we buoy one another in this sea of advanced staged anal cancer. What we are doing goes far beyond the function of any support group or close friendship. We are truly sisters at arms. In the fight together, as literally as written here. 
 
We spent yesterday chatting over a lunch of turkey sandwiches and fruit, catching up on our day to day struggles sharing the latest photos of our families and exchanging stories of what our clans had been up to the last several months, eventually wandering over to the swimming pool to sunbathe for a few hours before dinner. The sky was partly cloudy and there was a cool breeze tossing about our hair as we chose a couple of chairs that faced the pool and settled in to watch the people around us. There were some young couples setting up an early afternoon BBQ under the shade of the adjacent pavilions designed for such purpose. The heavy smell of kerosene being burned off of charcoal would intermittently arouse our senses. There were a couple of young boys swimming with their dad. They looked to be about six and not quite two, neither afraid of the water, or running along pools edge and our conversation became interspersed with little gasps as our instincts of motherhood grabbed hold with each of the boys daring moves. 
 
As always our conversation became more deep. When my companion's phone rang and she identified it as her son I urged her to answer. I understand that ringing phone and need that lies on the other end. After all, it's testing week. These calls are often packed with emotion for both parties and when she had expressed her love and thanks with her goodbye our conversation took a turn. Things got deeper as we talked of the difficulties of being away from the ones you love and dealing with cancer. They are desperate for time with us, a desired need for closeness. they view every minute away as time lost and that is truly their perspective. Tears had begun to form in my soul sister's eyes as she was swallowed by the enormity of the distance from her home and keen desire to be home and not here. It is a despair that I have tasted as well but not nearly as large a portion as she was enduring. Weeks and weeks away from her children and grandchildren. I struggled with what to say to comfort her and then I remembered something I had heard this past Christmas from a friend of mine that has suddenly since passed away. Greg, that was his name, left a small piece of wisdom with me and not only did I really understand what he shared with me for the first time in this moment, I knew I had to share it with my hurting friend and now on this page. He had a theory about time and used Christmas as his example. He asked me to recall being five years old and waiting for Christmas and recalling how long it took for it to come. That was easy enough, can't we all? Then he asked me how I perceived the wait now, as a fifty year old. I told him time moves fast and the holidays seem to come up and pass by very quickly. His theory was it was all based on percentages. When your five, a year is twenty percent of your life. When your fifty, twenty percent of your life is ten years. Now ten years is a long time and to a kid that is five years old it feels like it takes that long for Santa to come around each year but as we age, although time doesn't change, it is the constant, we do. Our perception alters along with that. At fifty a year cashes in at about two percent. That is quite the theory, right? It really makes sense to me now. So, if we put ourselves in our kids shoes for a minute, a few months of being apart is perceived differently simply by virtue of age. Couple with that having a potentially life shortening illness and you can try to understand how they feel. Although not truly. I had my mom through my entire young adult life. I was never threatened of losing her. I have my mom now. To our children, we are not just their mom, we are their "constant". They have known us their entire lives...their forever. And while we may think that a few months isn't very long, to them it feels like an eternity. While we would sacrifice that few months to have longer to spend with them and they can understand that on some level, on a guttural level the theory grabs hold. 
 
We sat in silence sprinkled with glistening tears. The inability to spare our loved ones, especially our children, the heartbreak that accompanies our disease is overwhelming sometimes. It is my deepest regret. We both sigh, dab at our eyes and agree that some things are just out of our control, trusting God with the details. We quickly put our melancholy behind us. We cannot change what is but we can enjoy this moment together. We can mark our time. We snap a selfie :)   
Helen Marshall, Karen threw a punch at your cancer.
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Michele likes this comment
Once again a beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing the theory and heartfelt emotions. May you continue to be NED and a supporter for all of us!
Michele likes this comment
Hi Michele..That is so interesting about time.. It does seem to go by faster as I get older ... and when younger it seemed forever to grow up and get on my own... Chances get slimmer of survival as we get older and since my Father's death 5 years ago , I have a foreboding this could be "it" at anytime for me or my mother..... It just leaves me in a feeling of panic to , say things now, do things now.. try to fix all the things now...... and I cry alot, missing everyone as if "its" already happened.... I have to fight all that off and logically say that, the world is evolving exactly like God wants it to and that I have to have faith in that and get over myself..It's not easy this journey of life:) I will be praying for excellent results for you and your sister:) big hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
Michele likes this comment
My 5 and 6 year old routinely tell me "I'll never let you go Mommy." This statement comes from the fear of cancer taking me away from them. It breaks my heart but at the same time reminds me how precious time is with them. I'm lucky my next Houston trip will only take 2 days away from them. Praying for a quick trip and NED for both of you!
Michele likes this comment
I love the way you express yourself. You take us with you on your journey...so please be sure to finish with your test results being a happy ending of this chapter of your life's book.
Michele likes this comment
Beautiful Michele. Blessings and strength to you both this week. I will be praying for you...xoxo
Michele likes this comment
Thank you for speaking so candidly about that which we all fear. Praying for positive outcomes for you and your SS.
Us engineering "Spock"-types have the same perspective on time- it does come down to percentages- school was an eternity because is was 10% of your life in 1st grade; now all 4 years of my daughter in high school wasn't even 10% of my life; so the time theory is a very valid one, and a perspective for us to be aware of with the little one.

I pray that you and your SS have a productive week at MDA and one filled with hope and faith for healing; and for your loved ones waiting for your return.
MGBY,
John

So glad you have each other and I will be thinking of you and sending hopeful thoughts your way!
((Hugs)) to you and your SS. Your comment, "The inability to spare our loved ones, especially our children, the heartbreak that accompanies our disease is overwhelming sometimes" is so true. I have felt that feeling, which to me is harder than actually fighting the disease. I'm glad you and your SS were there for each other at the right moment. Good luck with your scans. I pray you continue to be NED.
You have aa beautiful way with words. Prayers are with you. I hope you feel them!!!
Michele likes this comment
Love your posts Michele, always share the feelings and emotions that we all feel!!! Thanks for being you. xxxooo
Michele likes this comment
I have never thought of a theory of time like that. You know it all makes sense why when we're young things don't seem to go by as fast as when we get older. When you view it in a percentage of time left, your age is flying by now more than ever. We really need to enjoy the time we have now, the next 10 years are going by faster than the last and can you imagine how fast it's going to seem like when you have 10% left. The whole thing is as you age you don't know when your 10 and then 5% actually are. OMG I better go call my daughters now, I'm running out of time as I write. Thanks Michele. Or should I say, THANKS ALOT FOR NOTHING I'LL BE GONE BEFORE I KNOW IT... LOL
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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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