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Female now 47. I was hit by a truck at 36 in hosp for 4 1/2 months. Got out and in 10 days back in another hosp for exploritory woke up to a radical hyst ovarian Cancer. Chemo for 13 months many obstacles in between. 5yrs after ovarian found lump in breast had mast stage three breast cancer given 40% to live 5 yrs. Chemo, radiation, Tramflap gone wrong that left me more of a freak than I was with only one breast. I lost my mother last summer it was my 5 yr for the breast cancer (she was my only support). I am tired of everyone telling me how strong I am I will beat this. I AM NOT GOING TO BEAT THIS, it is a matter of time before the cancer moves when or where no one can say but they do say,BUT IT WILL. I want to talk about living with the cancer I am not a survior I hate that word in connection with my cancer. I want to talk to others that are preparing for death but until death knocks try to carry on with some kind of life. I have accepted my fate but nobody else will talk to me about it or let me be scared about it. I desperatly need to talk without the ' you are so strong, you made it through all that...you will make it through this. I am not a religious person for you that are that is great it is not for me. My greatest supporter is gone.

truejoy8's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Jan 2004

Hey Petpepsi,
Your message breaks my heart. I can totally sympathise with what you must be going through. Last April I was diagnosed with Lymhoma and although I've "beaten" it I still know the horrible fear that acompanies the word cancer. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to cry, and yell and scream at life for being unfair. But you have to keep one thing in mind. You can't let that fear RULE your life. You talk about preparing for death, but in my opinion there is very little you can do to prepare yourself. Living a life that makes you happy should be your priority now. This time is about you and whatever needs you need to fill to be content.
You say your mother was your greatest supporter. What was it that made her so great? Was it the words she said or was she more of a silent comfort? Once you realise what you miss about her, don't be afraid to tell other people what you need from them. I'm sure they are scared of losing you and aren't sure of what to say to make you feel better. They think that by saying you are strong and will beat this that they are comforting you, or at least pulling you out of some kind of funk. You need to sit them down and calmly and honestly tell them how you feel, and what you need them for. Don't be afraid to tell them what to say.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope you can come to some sort of peace with yourself and your situation. I don't know your medical details so I honestly can't say if you'll beat this or not. But I can tell just by reading your message that you ARE strong. A lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. Strong doesn't mean that you don't feel pain. Strong is feeling pain and still getting through it. And you've gotten through a lot. Much Love to you.

Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2004

Thanks very much truejoy8
My friends and family (aunts/cousins) and my friends tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself. It is not death that is scaring me it is the manner in which I will go. I don't want any more pain, I don't want to die alone in some hospital. That scares me.
When I say I want to prepare for death, I mean physically I want my pictures in place for my niece & nephew I want to write to them (which I have started) so they will know who their family was on their father's side (my brother.. who is now mentally handicapped). I am trying to put a name on everthing in the house for whomever will take care of my will. I am constantly thinking for the best way to take care of these things. I have a bird (Macaw)who is going to outlive me, he would out live me even if I would be healthly. I have to make sure I get him a loving home. I have a dog as well as my mother's cat now. These are my worries.
My mother allowed me to speak about my cancer and she felt my pain, when I had surgery she took care of me. When I was down she cried with me.I am sure she was far more scared for me than I am for myself. We used to talk everyday and now I'm talking to myself.
I have told my closest friends and they really don't want to talk about it. I don't know if you have lost any friends because of your illness but I can tell you I have. I tried talking to them and asked why they don't call any more " I don't know what to say to you" Yes I get mad and sad but the fact is I have lost many friends. I am not strong any more. I have had thoughts that once I have things in place maybe I will go to the garage start the car and go to sleep. That I have control over..NO PAIN NO SUFFERING anymore. I understand that I am in bad shape at this time. I am trying

truejoy8's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Jan 2004

I understand Petpepsi. I lost some friends and even a cousin who was like a sister to me. She didn't mind when I had relationship or family problems, but she couldn't handle me being sick. But some people are weak like that. It doesn't make them bad people, you just gotta accept their limitations.

As for preparing physically for death. I saw on Oprah how one woman made videotapes of herself for her kids. This might be a nice idea for your family. The bird might be harder to find a good home for than the cat and dog. I have an African Grey myself and know how much love and attention parrots require. You might want to do a search online for a Macaw or tropical bird rescue program. I know that there are programs that will take these birds and find them good pre-screened homes when people either return the bird because it's not what they expected, or die.

But you worry me when you talk about taking your own life. We've all had thoughts like that, no one wants the pain, but I hope you're not serious. There are obviously poeple who still care about you and no matter how much pain you are in there are things worth living for. And in my opinion suicide is never an answer. My favorite quote is from Richard Bach's Illusions. It basicly says: Here is a test to see if Gods mission for you here on earth is finished. If you're alive...it isn't.
Life may have a lot more in store for you that you cannot predict. You can't be sure it's only pain left for you. But no matter what I may say or think, it is going to be your desision. And you have to find your own reasons for living.

I hope you find the support you need. You might want to join a cancer support group. Or you can always email me through the CSN and I'll give you my private email address. I just don't want to put it up on this board. But keep on trying. Much Love.

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi pep.. I can relate with you. I know my breast cancer WILL come back too, I was told I have a 60% chance of survial. so I'm learning to live each day at a time. in one respect getting ready to die and in another respect learning to live. I lost my Mother too just 7 months ago and I sure need her. I'm in your boat and your not alone.

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Pet,
I am sorry to hear you are feeling so down. I lost my dad 3 yrs ago to metastatic colon Ca and was myself diagnosed with colon Ca this past November. I got the biopsy results on my dad's birthday!
I miss him more than ever. My mom is struggling with the middle stages of Alzheimer's disease, and we lose a little more of her as time goes on.
I'm not sure where people get the inner resources to deal with this stuff. Like you, I am not religious, but I am envious of those who draw strength and support from their faith. I hope you can find someone to help fill the void left by your mother's death.
Although I know they are not for everyone, a support group may help; does your onc's office have any ties to one? I have met a woman at chemo who is terminal, on hospice and now actively dying. She continues with some tx's for symptom relief and I am awed by her sense of calm and resolve. I can understand your friends telling you how strong you are; even if that part of you feels absent right now, you sure have gotten through more than your share of tough times.
Sorry to not have more specific help, but I do hope you can reach a new level of internal peace. Judy

Posts: 17
Joined: May 2003

I left aa message for you in your box at the cancer survivor(i know you hateee that word) Network go to the page where the chat roome is and click on read or send email

Posts: 706
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Pet:

Where you are and how you're feeling is a very difficult part of life. No two ways about that.

There seems to be an abundance of religious adages for times like these in our lives but none of them make a lot of sense to me either, except that some who are religious can find comfort in them somehow and that's a good thing. I beleive that people must do what it is that works for them. Finding that is no easy task.

I admire your concern for your animals. I'm a major animal lover and activist for their welfare and care. This would be a serious concern for me too, if I should be in your position. Labeling things and concern for your neice/nephew, etc. knowing who you are and what you're about is noble and I admire that. I think it requires a lot of focus and energy to be able to carry those things our for oneself. Not only that but it shows your care and concern for other's.

You've been through so much and yes, people do want and need to see us being "strong", fighting the good fight, etc.. The truth is that you must do things your own way and not get too caught up in "what's expected" of you by other's. It's your life and your thoughts and feelings and your ways of coping are your absolute right. I respect that right above everything else. I understand what you're conveying here.

I've been through breast cancer. And I consider myself a survivor only because it didn't kill me.
I believe that the surgery, chemo and radiation certainly played a role in my still being here.
I also beleive that my will, determination and the ways in which I've chosen to take care of myself, emotionally and physically, played a very large role too. But, again, it is a very individual thing in how we choose to respond to what's happened to us.

In reading and re reading your post here, looking for clues to what I could possibly say to you which may be helpful. The one thing which seems clear is that you're depressed. Who wouldn't be? Depression causes many things and it can also intensify our pain, emotional and physical. Are you currently taking any antidepressants? If not, I'd encourage you to explore that option with your doctor's. It can help. May have to try a few to find one that's best for you but I think it's worth checking out. If you're already taking something which isn't effective, then ask that it be changed.

Like yourself, I wouldn't want to die in a hospital. I've told my husband that if cancer ever returns and I'm in a crisis, near death or seriously deteriorating, DO NOT send me to hospital! For cancer or anything else which is ultimately terminal. I see no point in that. My pragmatic view is that it would just generate a bill for something I could have done at home. I'd much prefer to die at home, in my yard, bed or whatever. I don't want stranger's fussing about doing things to me that I would not want done. I also understand your thoughts on that one.

You didn't say what your current state of health is presently. I assume that you're having regular check ups and if everything is ok, then I say that you've one thing to do. Get on with living. It's fine to prepare for death, but it's not fine to be reasonably healthy and withdrawing from living, because of something which may never happen. Your cancer may never come back. Then what? Maybe you could visit with your niece/nephew and let them get to know you, in the here and now? Share who you are with them while you're living. Maybe interview people who may be interested in your animals, when and if you become too ill to care for them. This way, it's your decision who gets them and you'll also have a good idea of how they'll care for them and can even let them come and visit the animals once in a while, so they would not be complete strangers and they'd learn the bird, dog and cats' little quirks and habits, etc.. I think that would bring such peace of mind about their welfare. At the same time you can relax and just enjoy their company,knowing exactly how they'd be cared for and by whom, if something should happen to you while they're still alive.

You must still be in a serious grieving process after losing your Mother. Obviously the two of you were very close and that's another of life's big wallops. It hurts big time. Seven month's is so recent. Have you checked out bereavement counseling? It can help and you can also do group and meet other's who are just where you are in the grief process. People who understand and with whom you can share your deepest feelings.

You've got a whole lot on your plate at one time and it must feel as if the weight of whole world is on your shoulders right now. You can sort it out and begin to heal though. It may feel a bit like you're digging a tunnel with your bare hands, but you can do it.

I would never try to tell you that your feelings are wrong or that you need to find God, etc.or any other quick fixes. Right now you need to find a sense of direction. That's all. You've been hit with some of life's ugliest blows, in succession, and that's a lot to handle by yourself. Your pain with the different issues seem to have melded into one big fog of hurt and despair. Sort of like a plate of spaghetti. You just need to take one strand out and start to deal with it. Then another one and another one. Along the way, you'll find a little more joy, slowly and steadily. I've had some plates of spaghetti to deal with before and that's my advice to you. If you want to live and find joy, even a little, then you must start by unravelling the tangle of hurt and pain. Know that you won't feel this way forever. Know that you don't have to. Know that your choice of direction is up to you. And know that other's understand and care.

Spend some time with that big, beautiful bird of yours and comtemplate what and how you want your life to be and tell the bird how you feel, while you're at it. Sometimes, just saying it all out loud can help. Your bird, your dog and your cat won't judge you and neither do I.

Finding peace is a wonderful thing and it's well worth the effort. You deserve it, so why not give it a go? I hope some of this may be helpful to you in some way.

Love, light and laughter,

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