Friday, March 18, 2016

I Don't Want To Regret

Audrey, Reese, Garrett, Morgan 2005--the year I was diagnosed stage 0.

Warning as of March 21: Below is a post I wrote a few days ago to express some emotions that I was feeling about the process of dying. Anyone who reads about cancer or disease in general understands what it does to a living being. It can be horrific.
A few people have said after reading this post that they are concerned about me, mentally. Please do not be. I was simply writing about feeling sad knowing my children will have to go through pain at the end of their lives. This is clearer to me now as I confront my own mortality. I love my children. They give my life meaning. If we all could "go gentle into that good night" (not what Dylan Thomas wrote--just the opposite) by dying in our sleep then the issue in this post would not have caused me to think about it. So with that said I hope this is not another issue in our society that people would rather sweep under the carpet or put their fingers in their ears and pretend these thoughts don't exist--maybe not for all, but surely I am not alone.
My life as a parent has always been to protect my children from pain. Unfortunately, I cannot protect them against the pain caused by dying. Until recently, I had not thought of birth as a terminal condition--but it is.
If you continue reading, please read with caution and know that I am fine and so is my family.

 I Don't Want to Regret

I don’t want to regret giving life to my children, but lately my thoughts drift there.

They will die. Most likely there will be pain. Pain will come from leaving life’s pleasures or pain from the body dying, probably both.

How do I not feel sad about that? I don’t want to cause them pain.

I lost my mother to death before my children came into being. My father died 51 days before my first born daughters breathed for the first time. With my parents’ deaths fresh in memory as I became a parent, I thought about death--my children’s, Greg's and mine.

Back then death was to be avoided not something we had to go through--anytime soon at least. I was too busy living and loving life to give too much of my time to thinking about the end—the actual end--my children would experience eventually.

In every selfish wonderful minute I have spent with my children not once did I think I might one day regret bringing them into existence, but now . . .

I fear I will regret.

Not their life, not my or their enjoyment of it, but that their lives were started in the first place.

I don’t want to regret—
But if they never existed, they would never have to die.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Surprises and Sunshine

The last two weeks have been HUGE for me. The news of my latest scan at the beginning of the previous week gave me hope for many more tomorrows. I settled into the rest of that week and into this week with a slightly lessened eagerness to hurry up and finish my, before I die, to-do-list. After such news I never would have thought that more exciting news would come my way. 

But it did.

On Wednesday the 24th, I glanced at the traffic sources feeding into my blog. One website stuck out more than the others because I had not seen it before. It belonged to I had not commented on any of their health-related articles so why their website was connected to mine was indeed a curiosity.    

I have crossed paths with before with my myriad of health-related questions. I have seen their “Best Breast Cancer Blog” award badges on others' blogs. And, not too long ago, a blogger I follow, Ann Silberman of But Doctor . . .  I Hate Pink, wrote a piece for them that again invited me to their website.

I clicked the referring website address. The words that met my eyes were: The Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs of 2015. Huh, okay let me have a look at these. Still baffled, I glanced at the names of the bloggers included in the slideshow, many of whom are well-known in the breast cancer community. Then it happened. There I saw The Cancer Classroom. 

What? I mean . . . excuse me, but . . . WHAT?!!  

There was my creation. I probably went through a whole series of facial expressions and then eventually couldn’t see the words on my computer screen because of the fluid entering my eyes. Was it possible that somehow someone believed my blog was good enough to be included with these great bloggers?

No way . . . what is going on?

The daily views tracked by my blog have hit three digits on only a few occasions making it evident to me that not a great number of people know my blog exists. Comments about posts have come mostly from a few close friends. Sometimes family members call me on the phone and ask questions about my health making me wonder: Why aren’t you reading my blog? This is one of the reasons I publish my words. Considering all those facts, this recognition is a surprise; a surprise that is a compliment I never expected. These unusual few weeks of good news for me had to be shared on Facebook and my blog--how could it not? 

My email inbox soon held the congratulatory letter from Healthline’s Assistant Marketing Manager.  The letter explained that the Healthline editors had compiled the list of blogs based on “quality, frequency of updates and contribution to the community”. I happily embedded their badge into my site, and I hope you noticed it on the right when you first began reading this post. 

daffodils in my yard-little bits of sunshine for me
The beautiful weather that began over the weekend that I am still enjoying as I write today brings me the fantastic sensation I get every year when spring is near. I feel calm and content. The fact that I get to experience daffodils blooming in my yard and the sun warming my skin makes every single infusion I have had worth it. And now, instead of writing to organize my thoughts or writing so I won’t forget certain events in my life while still freshly captured in my mind plus providing updates for family, friends and followers, I get to experience what it feels like for others to find the words I pour into my computer as helpful and worthy of being read. My inclusion in a list like this feels good; actually, it feels great!

The Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs list of 2015 SLIDESHOW HERE.

Thank you,!