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REFLECTIONS

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

Well, it's been a year since my diagnosis. What a year it's been! I remember feeling the lump and then the fright that accompanied it. I remember feeling so alone with my feelings at that very moment. My family was sound asleep and I could not wake anyone up. I wouldn't do that to them. I left my bed and headed to the living room and felt the lump over and over again. I somehow managed to get some sleep and when I awoke I prayed the lump was all just my imagination. It wasn't. I remember seeing my husband come towards me with his "good morning Hon" greeting. He looked at me as I tried desperately to look happy as I smiled up at him. He stopped and asked "what's wrong?" Cue the floodgates. He was stunned but practical. He told me not to get ahead of myself and wait until I see the doctor to figure out just what this lump is.

THEN.....my daughter and son in law make their way out of bed. They just flew in the night before from Israel to spend 3 months with me and my husband. My baby girl took one look at me and asked what's wrong. I told her I felt a lump. We just hugged each other and fell to the floor. No words. Just tears. It was the saddest moment of my life.

I see my PCP that morning and he tells me it is a cyst. But did say he wanted me to get a mammo right away. I had the mammo the following day and that's when my world came crashing down around me.

Cancer, to me, is psychological warfare. It messes with your mind just as much as it does with the body. I was lucky. I dodged the chemo bullet. I did 2 surgeries and 38 rounds of radiation. Most of you know that my ride is not over and know what a year I've had.

I learned not to lean on family. Such a sad statement for me. I have 7 brothers, 1 sister and my dad. The brothers have basically turned a blind eye to my plight. I figure they know their sister to be one strong SOB and will get through this. They are right but I really do need their support. No matter. It is they who will be hurting and feeling guilty should anything happen to me. They will have to answer to a higher power in the end. They will have to face their own demons and live with themselves for being so distant.

My dad an sister are completely opposite from the brothers. I am blessed to have them go through this with me. They both know when to back off because I sometimes do need to just deal on my own.

I've learned who my real friends are. And boy ... there are plenty of them. I could not have gone through this ordeal without them. I've cried, screamed, bit**ed and been a baby with them. It didn't scare them off. WOW! We are blessed when we can count on one hand the TRUE friends we have. Well, I can count both hands and feet and say they are my true friends. I am so very blessed and loved.

This past year has taught me to slow down. Heck ... I didn't really have a choice. I've learned to be more accepting of others. The little things really don't matter. I am not as judgmental as I once was. I still get crazy about stupid stuff from time to time. I am still human after all.

Here's the most wonderful thing that has happened in the past year. I've "met" some of the most wonderful, caring people right here ... on CSN.

Thank you so very much for holding me up through all of this. Honestly, I would not have been able to move forward without you all.

YOU ARE ALL MY SISTERS. YOU ARE ALL VERY SPECIAL TO ME.

I wish I could reach out and physically hug each and every one of you. As we all head down different roads, let us be grateful that we found each other.

Sorry for writing such a long note (again), but I needed to REFLECT.

xoxo
Mary

eihtak
Posts: 818
Joined: Oct 2011

What a great thing it is! Reflection helps us to see where we've been and to form a plan (although needing to be flexible) as to where we may want to be headed. I pray everyday for all my family and friends, and especially the friends we have met on this journey, that we continue to move forward with courage and grace. May we never loose our ability to reflect, it may be the one thing that saves us all! Hugs back at you!!!

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Right back at cha! I think you voiced what so many of us feel and go through....thankfully I have a great extended family, a great husband, two grown, educated grown kids and 4 grands....I have no siblings and my parents died when I was 19 and 25.... So I am sooooo grateful for being blessed with those I have....as for your brothers, don't be to hard on them.....men are fixers and problem solvers.... they can't fix "this"... Went through this with my husband 3 years ago when I was first diagnosed...he has been my rock and so have my kids....our daughter about lost her mind when I first told her I had bc....our son is a shrink, so I get a lot of "advice" from him on how to cope.....I told him my BEST support group are the women on this board...all of you have saved me from going over the edge more than once! I, too, am so blessed to have all of you wonderful women in my life...

I also am not judgmental any more....we never know what someone is going through....lesson learned....I am stage IV BUT in REMISSION...never thought I'd hear that being stage IV....I only hope that I am able to help others going through this nightmare called breast cancer...to give hope and support....

Thanks Mary for being you.....
Hugs, Nancy

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2571
Joined: Jun 2008

What a great reflection. You are a special person. Family, friends and CSN help me too. xoxoxo Lynn

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Thank you Mary for sharing this with us!

Hugs, Angie

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2119
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear Mary,

How was your relationship with your brothers before your diagnose with cancer?

You had your dear husband, daughter, son-in-law there to help you along with your sister and father. I am not certain why you would needed your brothers or what you expected them to do for you.

I have two brothers and a sister. I can't for the life of me understand what I would have needed them to do for me. I truly don't understand why your are so upset with your brothers.

Shed some light for me, I can't be the only one.

I am not being derisive, I am totally perplex about it.

Best,

Doris

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

Doris....

Here's your answer:::::::::::::::::::::I NEEDED THEM!!!

It's quite simple.

I have done a lot of reflection and when it comes to family or friends that have turned away from me, I figured that this is the only reason it happened >>> They could not handle this <<<

When I was growing up, I was the black sheep in the family. My brothers were always there to protect me as best they could. As time went on, I moved out and tried to distance myself from that life. I buried those memories and never wanted to revisit them. They came back to haunt me with a vengeance years and years later and I had to deal with them by getting help at hospitals and clinics. I mention this because there is a correlation here to how my brothers (and sister) handled my trauma while we were young. Guess what?? They buried those memories too! They couldn't help me because they were so young and didn't want to get into trouble for helping me. NOW ... fast forward ... their sister has cancer. Another trauma. I guess I should've seen this outcome all along. What did they do? Buried their feelings. I can only surmise that they were frightened of what could happen to me. Now that the "threat" is over (in their minds), they are back to being the brothers I love and adore.

My life with cancer has taught me tons. I know how to forgive those who don't understand. It's that simple. It still hurts. It always will. I am human after all. I can't help "feeling". It's who I am.

Reflecting on this journey has helped me put my feelings into perspective. I LOVE a lot more these days. I don't hate. I don't judge. I don't worry about "whys" "wherefores" or "what others may think". If someone doesn't like what I say, it's not my problem. Especially if it's something that does not really involve that person.

Saying that ... why does it bother you that my feelings were hurt by my brothers? You said it yourself ... I can't for the life of me understand what I would have needed them to do for me. .... I NEEDED THEM. I needed them to just be there. To hear me when I felt scared. To just be there!! They didn't have to DO anything for me! They know their sister to be very strong and know IF I needed them to DO something, I would let them know. This was a test for them I suppose. They failed. But I learned a lesson here. I know not to depend on them. With the crap I am still facing, you better believe that not a word has been leaked to them. No one in the family (sister and father included) know what I am going through now. When they ask how I am, I say "fine". If they are more specific about the cancer, I tell them I am in remission. I will not let my feelings be raw in front of them.

Honestly Doris .... your response is a bit hurtful too. This forum is one where folks come here for support. Not to be questioned about their feelings.

Since you had to have some light shed on this ... I think I need to know why this seemed to have bothered you so much.

Peace

ksf56's picture
ksf56
Posts: 203
Joined: Apr 2012

I totally get where you are with your brothers lack of interest. My brother and brother-in-law have done the same thing. It hurts to feel that they don't care. I never expected any thing from anybody but I did want them to care and ask how I was doing. A call or e-mail - whatever! Oh well! I have learned that I surely, don't have control over anything in life and to just let it go. Easier said than done but I'm a work in progress.

I too, have learned alot about myself and others through this whole ordeal. I think there's alot of positive that's come out of this. I know what's really important and how to help others who are going through trials. I am better at letting things go and not to dwell on people's faults. I learned my heart is overwhelmed with love for my husband and sons and their wives and now my little grandson! They are what life is about!

Surprisingly, my brother had a fire at his business last week and I've been calling him to see how everything is going. Maybe, he'll see that it makes a difference.

You take care Mary! Your "Reflection" hit a cord with me!

Hugs to you!
Karen

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Mary...just wanted to wish you a good day.....;)

Hugs, Nancy

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

sending hugs and love your way

"Let It Be"

Mary

rallendorfer
Posts: 245
Joined: May 2012

I know you feel the way you do because their in-actions are really speaking volumes as to what is in (or not in) their hearts. That is a very sobering realization, isn't it? As you know I face the same dilemma. You have been pinched and are crying out in pain. You are disappointed in them and hurt and at the worst time in your life they let you down.

I just don't know how it will turn out except that I sure don't want to go through the rest of my life in this bitterness of heart about it. This is how I am trying to get the upper hand over it: I am just trying to fill my mind with good things...like coming here and talking to YOU! And trying to fill my days with doing something good for someone that needs me, and that takes the pain away somewhat. You have helped me many times with your posts!! And I believe you are an inspiration and breath of very fresh air on the board.

Sending you prayers this morning especially!
With respect and love,
Rebecca

Farmgirl2151's picture
Farmgirl2151
Posts: 12
Joined: Aug 2012

My brother is 5 years older than me and hasn't even come to see me at home. He came to the hospital after my surgery and has called me one time since. My sister in-law gave me a rude drunken "oh my gosh this sucks" phone call and told me how this was so hard for my brother. And it makes him uncomfortable. Well excuse me. How can I please make this any more comfortable for him! Really! So I've learned the hard way that even the people who you think should be here for you aren't. I don't expect much from him because I never really have. He and his wife are very materialistic selfish people that should wear a sign on their heads that say "what's in it for me". He actually asked me at the hospital the generic let me know if you need anything statement. And I said yes you could come mow my lawn. I actually gave him something to do and he never did it. My husband is a farmer and we were smack in the middle of harvest so I thought how great because I will have my brother come take care of the yard. Well I'm not sure what's worse, having someone offer to help and not, or just ignore you all together. I just needed him to be my brother and give me some sort of support. I thought I made it easy for him but even something as simple as an hour doing something for me was too much for him to accomplish. I am his only sibling and I can't imagine him going through someone like this with me. I guess that's the difference. I still love him and forgive him for his lack of compassion because I can't make him someone he's not. I just unfortunately have learned not to depend on him. Or my sister in law. I however have learned who my true friends and loved ones are with this. Some have stayed and some have gone and some have been a wonderful surprise. For those who post here for support thank you, for those who question feelings need to probably rethink what you write and be a little more compassionate and try be more positive before you hit the send button.
Thank you Mary for your respone to my post. I am feeling better and I know things will work themselves out to my new normal! I am young and strong and have a wonderful husband who would love me no matter what. I cherish that. It might be hard for a while but I know what is in my future is well worth fighting for and won't let anything stand in my way. I have learned I need to give myself a break and not be so hard on myself. I can be sad or mad for a day or so if I need to be. I won't apologize anymore to anyone for how I feel. I love your statement how you aren't going to basically sugar coat things anymore. I am so not a sugar coater! I applaud you.
Hugs to you
Love,
Amy

iluvmykids
Posts: 46
Joined: Jul 2011

We farm too, and what an amazing community that is! I have two brothers, both pretty much reacted similarly. My older brother never said anything about it other than "how are you", but his wife was a treasure for me.

I'll keep you in my prayers and hoping your new normal becomes as wonderful as the "old" one was, I know it can be.

Hugs

Eileen

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

I couldn't say it any better than Eileen said it Mary. I have a feeling your new normal will be even better than the old Mary. Seems like it to me! ( smile )

Hugs, Diane

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2119
Joined: Jun 2010

Yesterday, some lady who just signed up that day 8/31/12, wrote a message on one of your old post dating back to January. The message she wrote made no sense at all and since it is no longer there, I assume it was flagged as SPAM. Her message was deleted.

Weird thing, she answered your query.

I am not going to copy and paste these postings but if you or anyone else is curious one can copy and paste the following:

http://csn.cancer.org/node/234347

The post was title: Just cried like a baby dated Fri 01/20/2012 - 10:42 PM

I responded to it and later in another post you explained to all who replied about your relationship with your brothers in one titled O.....M.....G on Tues 01/24/2012 - 1:21 am.

Weird, how we all forget what we write in our posts, myself included.

Hope you have a lovely Labor Day Weekend, Mary.

Doris

gagee
Posts: 320
Joined: Sep 2010

I to got no response from my brothers or even one sister or even my daughters. I try to say it is there loss but it hurts for family to be so cold. I do have good friends and one sister who really does care and all the people here. Know you have many here pulling for you and many many prayers coming your way. I believe God can pull us through anything. It might not be the way we want but it is what he wants for us. You are so strong ... take care and take the love that comes your way.

Hugs and Prayers to You,
Diana

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2119
Joined: Jun 2010

It has occurred to me that perhaps most people don't really understand breast cancer. I know that just about everyone I know have no clue what I have. I am stage IV, breast cancer that has metastasize to my lungs, lining and ribs. When I mention this people look at me and say, "I'm so sorry to hear this". The same reply one would expect if I told them I needed a new knee. One lady is a member of the local chapter that helps "Relay for life" and has no clue about breast cancer. She did not even know what stage IV meant and how it was different it was from stages 0-3. Since she is a board member that attends statewide meetings, shouldn't she know this basic information? Staging is the same in all cancers. Her reply was no different than those I receive from others.

Think of October and all the pink celebration! I am not knocking "Komen" for I believe Nancy did a wonderful thing about taking breast cancer out of the bottom of the closet and putting a big pink ribbon on it in a very public way. The other thing is that everything is pink in October, from garden tools to cup cakes in the bakery section. Perhaps most people believe that there is a cure and breast cancer is no big deal. They might wonder what all the fuss is about as they see 5000 women all dress in pink celebrating and dancing in the street.

When you tell a family member you have been diagnose with breast cancer perhaps they think your lucky it isn't pancreatic cancer. Even I in the long ago time of 1994, thought I was lucky to have a cancer that was so popular and if there wasn't a cure, surely one was around the corner. My best friend had been diagnose 18 months before me with stage IV ovarian cancer and told 3 years. That is how long she lasted. I knew she envied me.

The family members and friends might think that you are going through an ordeal but how different can it be from other people's ordeal say diabetes, bursitis, and all those thousand of other afflictions. More than likely, they have no clue. There is so much to breast cancer from a very minor fix, to all the way to no fix. When I was diagnose back in the dark ages, I thought it was all one disease and one form of treatment. I had no clue at all. It took a while as I couldn't read any of the chapters except the one I that was dealing with my present day. In order words, I read about biopsies when I had a FNA, then went on to read what else. I couldn't read the whole book at one time. It totally frighten me to read ahead. How are your relatives going to know all this stuff when they visit you? They just assume it is something you can deal with, sort of like a bunion.

There is also the factor that many don't want to know where I am, in case I tell them. They don't want to deal with unpleasantness.

These are my thoughts on why people don't react, they just don't understand anything about breast cancer. I could tell people I am stage X and more than likely they would believe me. That's the stage that you keep on living with no problems what so ever, right?

Hope this helps,

Doris

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

People can't understand this if they have not gone through it. It's that simple.

I/we have all been on the other side of this fence. I know I've said things like "you're a fighter, you will beat this" or "do what the doctors say and you will get better". These words are basically scripted. No one really knows what to say unless they've been there.

You truly are a fighter and survivor Doris. There is no question in my mind. Maybe I took your meaning (in your first note to me) all wrong. It did sting. That much I will say.

I just wanted to say that we all come here for support and kindness. Sometimes, words that are written carry a hurtful message. I know you did not mean to come across as mean. SO, my apologies if I sounded a bit unforgiving in my note to you.

Now that this is out of mind ... thank you for this most recent note. You said a lot about how others just don't get it. Some don't want to get it and others just don't care. It's a hard lesson to learn when one is faced with a life altering disease.

I no longer look for support where none is to be found. I do pray that the ones who don't have the courage to step up when one is needed will never ever be faced with something like this. Having been down this lonely road, I will probably be the one that will be at their side through thick and thin when the coin drops. It's just who I am. It befuddles me when I talk like this and I come from the same parents as they did. How is that possible?

What's done is done. It's over. I truly have moved on. REFLECTIONS was just me stating what my year since diagnosis has been like. THAT part about the brothers was a very big part. Just a simple statement.

Love to you ...
Mary

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

I hate that this seems to be so common. I do believe that when something is unknown, it is that more scary. Family members are too close. Cancer scares the hell out of them. Just the thought of cancer makes you think of death. Right? I know that my brothers and yours are just too scared to understand. The thought of losing a sister to cancer is unthinkable. So they just try to put it out of mind and therefore it isn't happening. Kind of sad really.

I am grateful to be here today to talk about this journey. No one knows where this path will lead. So everyday becomes a joyous adventure. I'm not saying that I don't have bad days and cry about being inflicted with cancer, but I don't sweat the small stuff. Life is just too precious.

Thank you for your kind words.

xoxo
Mary

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

You are very special to us also Mary!

Hugs, Kylez

iluvmykids
Posts: 46
Joined: Jul 2011

The journey is different for all of us, but the feelings always seem to be the same.

Wishing you all the best ...and more!

Hugs

Eileen

MsGebby's picture
MsGebby
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

Just cried like a baby for 2 days. I usually hold it all in. Not much "family" support on my end. And I have 7 brothers and 1 sister. I hear "we're not the soft and cuddly kind of family". It really hurts me to hear them say that.

My sister on the other hand is very persistent and always asking questions and giving advise. She is a cardiology nurse and for the most part doesn't know much about cancer. She knows I have breast cancer but what she didn't know is the part where I have to wait to see if nodules in my lungs grow. I didn't want to say anything to her or any other family member. Well, you guessed it, I said something and now wish I didn't say a word. Somehow, I feel I can't get cancer right!

Have any of you felt this way? I am a very touchy feely kind of gal. I want to help in any way I can. Even if it's just a phone call. How can someone NOT get cancer right? I hear "it's only stage II". And "at least having stage II is good, right?"

After my conversation with my sister, I cried for 2 days. I feel abandoned by the rest of the family. I have built a new family which consists of many friends and this wonderful group of PINK sisters. I am blessed and very grateful. But not having my own flesh and blood support is very hurtful.

Sorry for the rant. I needed to get this off my chest.

Love you all and pray for OUR good health and well being.

Mary
========================================================================================

In writing REFLECTIONS I just touched on this subject a little bit. Things with the family have not changed. It's very disheartening. But I did learn not to rely on people who seemingly don't give a sh*t. I know they care. They just don't know how to come 'round and show it. The other day my dad asked "how's the cancer?" It was kind of funny because we've talked many times and I've told him I'm in remission many times. It's his nervous way of letting me know he is thinking about me. But just asking...3 little words... makes a huge difference in how I feel. I still wish my brothers would be able to ask that. It's never going to happen. I accept this. That's what I was trying to say in my REFLECTIONS note.

My heart warms joyfully when I see the support from you pink ladies ... people I've not met in person, yet, people I KNOW! God's love is shining through with each word of courage sent my way. There is a plan. I/we just don't know what the plan is exactly. But I've a feeling that this site and it's members are part of a beautiful plan.

We are ALL in it together. Thank you thank you thank you. You are all part of me now. I just hope you don't get the hangovers when I do. LOL ...

Peace and Love,
Mary

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Nicely said by all.....we're in this together.....we all get it....I'm very lucky to have a very supportive family, both my husband and grown kids and a great, supportive extended family......no they don't know what it's like to be in my shoes, thank God, but they are there to give me the support I need and most important, their unconditional love......I actually have cousins that are coming from Ohio next week, I'm in NC to visit....so I am blessed..

And all the pink Sisters.....I have no siblings....I always wanted a sister, never dreamed I end up with more sisters than I can count! Of which I am so grateful for....

Hugs, Nancy

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I don't know what I would have done without my husband, who I adore, my family and my friends. They have all always been there for me and still are, no matter what. I pray none of them know what it's like to have cancer, and, I never expected them to understand what it was like. They can't know, no one can, unless they have actually been through it. They all try, and, I love them for that.

The pink sisters here are the best and have helped me more than I could ever repay.

I've always enjoyed your posts Mary. I'm here for you, if you ever need me.

Love, Leeza

RozHopkins
Posts: 446
Joined: Dec 2010

You know I had several neighbors husbands actually walk over to me in my garden after diagnosis and ask me directly how I was. My brother and I do not talk and probably does not know that I have had this and my husband has has a heart attack. One lady in a restaurant admired one of my hats a year or so ago so I briefly explained to her why I was wearing a hat, because she is a woman she probably already knew, but then she said directly bless you and good luck. That kind of person I like and could of hugged her, a complete stranger. A neighbor spotted me in a hat and recognized the style as a chemo head cover, she immediately asked if i was suffering from what her friend had just dealt with and I told her yes. She was very uplifting as many others. Same with a death, the first thing I would say to someone is how sorry I am and is there anything I can do. I do understand some people's lack of dealing with bad news when it is not nasty but just their way, that is different. Generally men's makeup is different and they can be very hurtful without even knowing or meaning to do so. Women too but not so much. Make care and keep posting

hope4thebest's picture
hope4thebest
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you Mary for sharing your story. I have had some of the experiences you have had and often wonder what happened to my life in the past year. It is so hard for us to get thru this, we are a symbol of human mortality. Not saying that we are gonna croak right away, but that our diagnosis puts our life on a silver platter, some people are not strong enough to deal with the plight. I have a few siblings, some have not been there for me. It seems like you are a very cool person, in touch with yourself and the world around you. You have inspired me, I will try to be more accepting, of others and of myself.

Annie

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