Archives For Death

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Then

As most of you know, my daughter had another tumor removed last July. This was her second occurrence of leiomyosarcoma. She had a liver resection. Two institutions opined that it could not be determined if it was a new primary tumor or Stage IV as the cells of leiomyosarcoma were exactly the same. She was 6 months shy of her 5-year anniversary.

As a parent, at first I was first in warrior mode, then caregiver mode and then when the dust had settled became completely distraught. I have complex PTSD and this event was a trauma trigger on the magnitude of an 8.0 earthquake collapsing the entire house. I went into the usual grieving over whether she would live or die. I had to wrestle with Can I stand by and watch my daughter die from this? Would I rather be dead? Even after all I had been through, fighting to live, living through my first husband’s death, could I do this again? I asked myself these questions and more. Continue Reading…

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As you are aware the end of the year and the holiday season may be a difficult time for The Nation of Cancer. It is a time of reflection; a time to look at where one is in their life. It is also a time that may exacerbate the loss felt if a loved one has died or is very sick. It can also be a time of sadness if you, yourself are dealing with your own illness. I know that there have been many years this has been true in my life and this year has been no exception.

As I have been writing out holiday cards, I have been struck by how difficult this year has been but also struck by the gratitude I feel for what I do have. For one thing, I feel very grateful that I was able to accompany Jean Shinoda Bolen on a trip to Ireland a few years ago. I am also grateful that she graciously endorsed my book.

I have read most of her books and have always learned so much from her. Her latest book: Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywomen is a prime example of her writing, another wonderful book full of stories of mythology and how they still apply to each of us. This book has helped in better understanding my nature, further identifying mythological archetypes and contributed to continuing my journey of knowledge of who I am and what I can be.

I am including an e-mail that I received from her that I think is something to ponder as we continue on our path of healing. As suggested, I am passing along the gift of Jean Shinoda Bolen.

December 11, 2014

“Still Here” is a short essay that I read in one of my workshops at Esalen and said that I would send it to them. Intuition after hearing from others about people they have lost:  send it out to all. Continue Reading…

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It has been a couple of weeks since my last post.

There has been much going on in my little microcosm in a corner of The Nation of Cancer during the past four weeks.

First of all, my Aunt Marion of whom I wrote about in my last post, was diagnosed and has since died of metastasized lung cancer. From the time of actual diagnosis to hospice to death was less than three weeks. It was quite a bit to deal with for all concerned both near and far. Her funeral is Monday.

Yes, she was 84. She lived three years longer than the U.S. average life expectancy. But while living those amazing 84 years, she battled bladder cancer, uterine cancer and lung cancer previously. She had much of her end-of-life plan in place and most of her wishes were made known to her loved ones. She tried to sing ‘Somewhere, Over the Rainbow’ less than 48 hours before her death. She reached to hug her dead grandson less than 24 hours before her death. She waited for her eldest daughter to leave the room, and then she died. Continue Reading…

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As many of you know, getting a diagnosis of cancer, dealing with the treatment and its aftermath, is a very unique experience. Even being in the role of a caregiver or friend of someone that is diagnosed, is very different than the actual experience of dealing with all the issues of having it and being forced to look at one’s own mortality.

It has now been roughly four weeks since the release of my book “A Kick-Ass Fairy” and the reactions from friends, family, acquaintances and people I don’t even know have been all over the board.

I am pleased to say that there have been many very strong positive reviews, even from people who don’t mention that they have ever had cancer. Then there have been a number of friends who have told me if they bought the book, they would be afraid to read it. Even without reading it, they are afraid they will get ‘depressed.’

Well this is very unfortunate for all members of The Nation of Cancer.

The people who are afraid to read an inspiring testimony of dealing with cancer may be the same people who hide in their shells when someone they know is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe this may be because they don’t know what to say.

If you don’t know what to say to someone who has cancer, then tell the person just that: “I don’t know what to say!”

Maybe some of the fearful folks think if they pretend life is all sunshine and rainbows, then magically they will elude any hardship and will control whether or not illness, especially cancer will befall them. It has been my observation that the avoidance of difficult situations and topics does not necessarily make a person happier, but it can definitely make them shallower.

I have lived for twenty years with the experience of cancer. I have friends and some family, including my daughter, that have made it through, against all odds. I also know many friends that have not made it, sunshine, rainbows and every other available remedy at their disposal. Sickness is a part of life and everyone dies. Oops – a balloon buster!

I have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, an autosomal dominant mutation of the major tumor suppressor gene of the DNA – P53 – known as the ‘guardian of the cell’. This mutation is in every cell of my body. I already have had 5 cancers and two-hands-full worth of rare, benign tumors. I was recently asked ‘do you live your life worried about getting another cancer?’ The answer is NO. I live my life with passion, vigor and the realization that we can take the challenges that life presents us and do something with them.

That is exactly what I am trying to do and am hopefully succeeding!

If you are a person that wants to be an ostrich and put your head in the sand, I say, “Good for you!” But you are not helping the cause of a cure for cancer nor are you in anyway honoring the people that have or have had cancer. If you are afraid that looking at someone with cancer will make you feel bad, then you need to look at your own issues of mortality. If you don’t want to reach out to those who suffer and lend a hand, (for whatever reason), well, what can I say, other than, if you do nothing, than at least do no harm!

Finally, if you have never had cancer, you are very LUCKY!

I don’t know one person, and I know hundreds of people currently dealing with cancer – not one person actually wanted this to happen. So for the ones that choose to see only the light and rainbows – again I say, ”good for you!” I hope your life continues to be without issues and is blessed with good fortune.

I love my life just the way it is!

What do they say: ‘Ignorance is bliss’ but unfortunately, it is still ignorant!

How do you feel about people that think or tell you your life is too depressing?

 

(Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_15936746_ostrich-hiding-its-head-in-the-sand.html’>dedmazay / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)

 

 

 

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Breaking Bad

As I anxiously await the final episodes of the AMC hit drama Breaking Bad that begins tonight, I am reminded of how it all began.

Remember back to January of 2008, Walter White was diagnosed with potentially fatal lung cancer. His cancer diagnosis presumably set off the next 5 plus years of Emmy Award-winning drama. However, potentially there are other reasons for him ‘breaking bad’, one of which is not living the life that would afford him to leave behind enough money to support his family after his death.

Is it his anger at his diagnosis that forces Walter to evaluate that even though he’d played by the rules (including not even smoking) that he got screwed anyway that forces him to ‘break bad’? Or does his imminent mortality allow him to give himself permission to say what the heck and to hell with everything? Continue Reading…