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What Cancer Takes Away

SF73
Posts: 277
Joined: Oct 2017

I removed the link to the  article. You are right, it is pretty dark. I enjoyed reading it because I recognized some of the thinking. It spoke to me because I am a naturally melancholic person. It is probably not helpful to share it here.

MAbound
Posts: 889
Joined: Jun 2016

I found myself rebelling as I read that article, but then not everybody's experience of cancer and it's treatment is the same as mine. I coped with thoughts of dying before I was ready by going over and over what I had to be grateful for in my life. There's a lot, even with all that was negative, so it helped to keep me from descending into the dark places my mind could go. 

Cancer is such an assault on us and those who care for us, but I can't imagine how much harder it is for those with fewer social or financial resources that have to cope anyway. This site might help some feel less alone in their struggle, but it would be nice if there were more universal requirements for paid leave and/or work-from-home policies from employers when circumstances are this dire. There are enough success stories that prove that it would be worth it.

I'm so sorry that you have and are feeling this way. I hope I don't seem dismissive of how you are feeling, but I hate that you identify with what's in this article. I don't have any answers except for what worked for me, but compared to some I had a relatively easy time of it. It sometimes seems like we have to fight our own negative feelings as much as the cancer, doesn't it?

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

What a depressing article!  And yes MABound, most of our battles are in our head. 

Lulu7582's picture
Lulu7582
Posts: 112
Joined: Jun 2018

SF73 yes our cancer journey changes our whole perceptive on life and like MAbound said I don't want to dismiss how you felt but one thing that we all know is we will all eventually leave this earth one day. It makes our mortality so much more real and we know that some journey's will be shorter or longer than others. 

What helps me to survive this cancer journey is to think about all my blessings like MAbound said and know that there are others out there who have life a lot harder than me. For example the children diagnosed with cancer so young....they haven't even had a chance to live their lives. 

In addition I look at cancer as a positive....how has this journey changed my life. For me it has brought me closer to my husband and my family and my friends. My faith has grown in leaps and bounds and due to that I have been able to witness to a lot of co workers, family and friends.  Our retirement plans changed due to this diagnosis which actually turned out to be a blessing. So when I say to myself ' why me, why did I get this cancer',  I answer ' well why not me'!! I am a strong, positive person and I can do this!!! 

So it's chin up and one foot in front of the other. SF73 you aren't alone. Know that we are all here travelling this road with you. Thank you for sharing the article. xoxo

DM_K's picture
DM_K
Posts: 51
Joined: Mar 2018

Lulu this is exactly what keeps everything in perspective for me too "For example the children diagnosed with cancer so young....they haven't even had a chance to live their lives."

 

I'm grateful that I had at least 53 years so far.

SF73
Posts: 277
Joined: Oct 2017

Thank you for all the sweet messages. Lulu, I couldn’t have asked for better traveling partners! Hope everyone is having a great day!

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

 

 

derMaus's picture
derMaus
Posts: 561
Joined: Nov 2016

I enjoyed the article when I read it in the New Yorker. It's quite literate and spoke to many parts of my experience as well as illuminating the origins of some 'standard' treatments. I - briefly- thought about posting it here but obviously I'm glad I didn't. I find myself irked that (1) had I not already read it I wouldn't have known what in the heck it was, and (2) the discussion chain continues on while the article is gone, leaving me feeling like everyone is discussing a party I wasn't invited to. If not for my subscription, I'd really be at sea. SF73 wasn't the only person who related to the thinking; I did too.

BluebirdOne's picture
BluebirdOne
Posts: 205
Joined: Jul 2018

SF73, thank you for posting the link. It was dark, a bit depressing, but like many of our stories here, someone's truth.  We share our stories of neuropathy, constipation, diarrhea, numerous bowel and bladder issues, and other painful side effects, I kinda felt like I could have been reading a more eloquent member of our board. We share our surgical stories, our chemo stories, our radiation stories. We celebrate someone's NED and we commiserate when the news is not so favorable. We have many women who are alone, and their need to share their thoughts about how they cope makes me feel lucky I do have the support that I have, but so open to giving support to them. I recognized some of my thoughts, knodding in agreement when I entered my 1st oncologist's office and seeing all of the women, bald, some obviously close to the end; such a depressing place I left crying. I had never seen so many women in such a state but I knew that I was now one of them. How we individually cope with our varying diagnoses seems to be from A to Z. But it is reality. Reading one person's account is no more depressing or dark than learning about LadyMox's death, reading her heartbreaking attempts to live, or any of the others that we have lost. (At least the author was NED.)  So thanks for posting it. 

xxoo

Denise 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mar 2013

I went and found the article and I agree with, Denise, but I think we all look at it with different eyes.

We have talked about everything here.  Laughed, cried, lent our shoulders.  

Cancer sucks.  Not everyone understands the journey.  I wish none of us had to.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

We’re all just walking each other home...

(ram das/ani kaspar Facebook) 

Tamlen's picture
Tamlen
Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2018

I just bought that book for my husband and I to read. My husband started to cry when he started it and hasn't picked it up since. I'm finding it very full of things to think about, things I welcome thinking about.

I saw the article originally linked here when it came out in the Times. As I read it, I kept thinking, well, gee, I could have written this except that I don't have enough of a sense of impending doom to make it an article anyone would want to read!

Donswife48
Posts: 299
Joined: Nov 2015

I didn't read the article, but I don't believe my cancer diagnosis was dark or depressing.  Instead, it woke me up to to living eery day I'm given.  I know I'm not imortal, but I forget when I'm feeling OK that I won't live forever.  Instead I live for the day.  Hugs Nancy

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1363
Joined: Oct 2015

I don't feel at all like the author but I do not have her life either. Cancer made me a better person; that's the bottom line for ME. I've done everything I've ever wanted to do and if I died tomorrow, so be it. I wake up every day and pretend I've already died but was given this one day to relive. I don't let much bother me anymore. I do what I can and then I let it go. Maybe it's because I don't believe in a personal god or an afterlife that I can do this. I don't know. I also find so many things funny. I see the humor in most situations which is a trait I share with one of my daughters. That makes life so much better for me.

How many people who are totally healthy wake up that morning and never make it to that night?  Knowing that, people still go to work, school, wherever.... without fear. Everyone will die! It's just a matter of when and how. Until then, though, I'm going to really live and, moreover, live in the moment! I rarely do anything I don't like to do anymore. I'm lucky my working days are over, we have enough money to live and I am married to the love of my life. I'm sure that affects my perception. 

I'm glad I found this place and the women who populate it. I've thought of leaving it but something always draws me back here. I guess you're all my tribe.

Love,

Eldri

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 325
Joined: Feb 2018

Can someone PM me the link to the article?  I'm late to the party and so curious what was being discussed!

derMaus's picture
derMaus
Posts: 561
Joined: Nov 2016

Done. And welcome back!!!

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Donna Faye
Posts: 268
Joined: Jan 2017

I read the essay in the New Yorker and did not find it dark or depressing as so much is true. I think one's age plays into how it is read. My BC at 55 was when I found that I had to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. My cancer at 77 was C'est la vie! Took the treatment w/o too much of a big deal. The recurrence a year later was again - so what now! Here I am at 79, NED for now and looking back, would probably do it all again with little change. Now getting blood clots was my dark path! But that too has been and on I go.  

Notice new pic with 2 of my 6 grandsons! They make the battle worthwhile! 14 ,79,16

BluebirdOne's picture
BluebirdOne
Posts: 205
Joined: Jul 2018

or survivorship. My first two months after finding out that I had UPSC, and undergoing surgery, etc., were very dark times for me. Now, 9 months after the initial dx, I have come to terms with cancer and accept what is my new life. I grieved for the old life precancer, but as others have mentioned, my new life has deeper and more meaningful relationships, and I try to live each day to the fullest. 

And your grandsons are very handsome! And obviously love their grandmother. 

Thanks, Donna Faye.

Denise 

LA123's picture
LA123
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2015

Cancer does change us, but I agree that it also brings in a deeper appreciation of family, friends, and every day things that perhaps before we would have taken for granted. I still see each new day as a gift. No one is assured (regardless of our health) to live beyond today, so I am thankful for each day, and try to live it to its fullness. I also became more empathetice, more in tune to other people's pain, more sensitive to their struggles. Would I have preferred not going through the pain myself? of course, but there are things in life we learn only through experience. Blessings to all.

Lucy

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 559
Joined: Oct 2009

I too missed the article. It was in the New Yorker? Was it this year? I would like to read it. I like the comment that we are walking each other home. 

Lori

BluebirdOne's picture
BluebirdOne
Posts: 205
Joined: Jul 2018

It has gotten a lot of interest in the news media as well. 

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 268
Joined: Jan 2017

All of my life pre-cancer, I had been a planner - not just tomorrow but months in advance and for the most part that was how life was. Then my life fell apart - my caboose had just graduated college and at last I could stop working two jobs and take a breath. I had bought $25 savings bond each paycheck as that was all I could spare. Now I had enough saved to take my first vacation in 8 years. I went west and spent time with the Hopi in Az. and came home renewed and excited about the future. Then in Oct. was watching TV and the ad asked - when was the last time you checked your breasts? Well, I said, better do that. I felt my left one and the golf ball knot ! I knew what it was. Saw doc next day and 3 weeks later, was minus left breast and chemo and radiation followed. But, I surprised the medical prognosis of less than 5 years and fully lived 25 cancer free. My daughter said some years later: Cancer was the best thing to happen to my mom as it taught her to live one day at a time and to truly smell the flowers. At first I was not sure I agreed, but now I know it made me less of a control person and more roll with the flow. A great book to read is When Things Fall Apart. We all have those moments and how we react is the key. I do love all you girls!

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 1456
Joined: Jun 2012

for bringing the article to my attention. I would have missed it otherwise. Many of the things she said made me feel validated and others gave me food for thought. I will be getting the book. 

evolo58
Posts: 293
Joined: Dec 2017

And to realize that even if everything was 100% sunshiny perfect tomorrow, you can never be the same again. 

For example, I can never trust my body again. I've had tests when I felt like warmed-over sheep dung and they turned out great. I've had tests when I was starting to feel fantastic, and they didn't turn out the way I hoped. Now when people ask how I am, I'm not sure how to answer them, other than my usual "Hangin' in there." AM I fine? What is fine?

I wasn't feeling that bad the moment I walked into my gyno-onco's office in October 2018 and found out my CA-125 was 770, which dropped to 510 in a six-week period without a drop of treatment. I wasn't feeling bad when I got the results of the CT scan. I also need to accept that radiologists are going to be picking those scans apart now that my cancer appeared to have progressed last year. That is just how it's going to be for a long time.

I can never look the same way at friends who fled. Maybe they had trouble dealing with my situation, but so did I. I'm starting to forgive them, but it's not easy. However, see next paragraph. Maybe that's one reason why I can start to forgive them.

On the other hand, it is my feeling that the med-onco and gyno-onco I switched to after I fired my doctor are angels. I feel that just about EVERY onco nurse out there has a halo. And I admit ... I had trouble dealing with cancer patients in the past too, not knowing what to say. I do now. 

Please, folks .... don't delete those links. Sometimes, they make good points for communcation. And again ... it is NO reflection on you that you can't be cheerful and strong 100% of the time. Anyone who expects that is not helping you at all.

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks for the post, evolo58.  You brought a tear and a smile to my face.  

MAbound
Posts: 889
Joined: Jun 2016

None of us have exactly the same experience with cancer. None of us react to it the same. It's so true that it's a blow to our ability to trust. It's so true that it's an emotional roller coaster and that our normal has changed forever. While this article was really, really dark, that was the author's experience of what was happening to her and it struck a nerve with some and repelled others. That's ok and I guess it's something that doesn't get brought out into the open too much and sharing it was a good thing. I still hate when anyone feels like they're in such a place, though. I just want to wrap my arms around them and take away some of that pain, if only I could.

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