Sunday, December 10, 2006

What do I care 'bout that winter storm?

I've got my love to keep me warm!



Probably the last time I was truly, joyfully happy was December 23rd 2004. Sitting in my hospital bed, burping my newborn baby, watching some dumb morning TV show, where Barry Manilow was singing that song. I was SO happy. I felt like nothing could ever hurt me again. Nothing could take away the perfection of that moment.

That evening I was told that I had cancer.

Since then, there has been happiness, but it has always been tempered with the thought of cancer. True, unadulterated JOY is gone forever.

I mean, I'm happy now... living life one day at a time, taking every moment as it comes and trying to make it special. I'm not unhappy... but my life is different now. I see everything in a completely different way. Some of it hurts like Hell and some of it is in a better way, if that makes sense. It's like cancer gives you a different outlook on life, situations, relationships... pretty much everything.

There's a lot to be said for making every second count even if you don't have cancer.



If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember where I was speaking of cancer being a bit like grief. You go through the same sort of stages as you navigate your way through the situation.

I think where I am now is acceptance. When I was in the hospital, I pretty much accepted that I probably wasn't going to survive this latest setback. I let go completely. I think that did me good, because as I began radiation therapy and started to feel better, I just allowed that for myself.

It was a hard place to get to, but it's so much easier once you're there. I'm not saying that I accept this is going to kill me right now, or anything. And I'm certainly not giving up the fight. Just that I accept that this is how it is, there's not much I can do other than what I'm doing and I can't waste my time fighting demons I can't see. That's what cancer feels like sometimes, a demon hovering in your peripheral vision, just visible enough so that you can never really forget, or not for long anyway.

That's where having enormous balls comes into play. You have to look the bugger straight in the eye and tell him, "Screw You!". You might have my body (for now) but you can't EVER have ME. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have eyes on the asshole than keep him in the periphery where his only purpose is to screw with my life, my happiness, insidiously, sneakily.



I've always been a bring it on kind of a girl.

Cancer knows that I know it'll kill me eventually, I look it in the eye everyday and acknowledge that, then I tell it, "But not today..."

Not today.

10 Comments:

Blogger Carver said...

Dear Heather,

Your honesty is so powerful. I can't imagine what it must have been like finding out that you had melanoma when you had just had your baby. It is so unfair and I think you are a remarkable woman. Remarkable because you not only share so much of your journey through this blog but do it in such a direct, honest way and continue to keep your sense of humor. I hope you will get a break but I also know what you mean about facing the demon and taking each day as it comes.

Love, Carver

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather,

You ARE the wake-up call, the punch in the head everyone should get/take every single day.

Everyone should read your blog. Every single, solitary person: every jerk who loses patience in some damn line, every person who thinks they can't "deal" because they can't get that certain item at a store, every person who frets (like I do sometimes) over stupid, incidental, unimportant crap.

You nail it. You hit it right between our eyes. How often do we have to be reminded in life--that this day, this moment, this ability we have--this is fabulous. Everything we can do is a joy and precious.

You remind me of it. The thought of your fight, your spirit reminds me of it.

Can we possibly thank you enough for sharing your honesty and your insights? You are so very, very special, Heather. I can't wait to meet you!

Love,

Carol

8:27 PM  
Blogger King (Kathie) said...

Heather,

I have to say you are one exceptional woman (have I already told you that?)! The joy of childbirth mixed with the horror of a cancer diagnosis - and not just any cancer diagnosis - but melanoma!
You inspire me. I've learned so much from you. And your ability to "accept" what is happening without giving in or giving up!
No, not today, not tomorrow, not ever if I had my wish.

Stay Strong
King

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Shelley said...

But Not Today!

Hopefully not ever. Once again one of your posts has made me smile, cry, laugh and think YES! You *are* the smack in the face we all need. You're facing sheer hell with acceptance but without allowing yourself to be taken over by it. Undaunted is my word for your attitude. It goes far beyond strong in my very humble opinion.

In total admiration,

Shelley

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't waste my time fighting demons I can't see"

Know your enemy. I understand what you mean about looking your monsters in the face. It makes them seem smaller somehow doesn't it? Yes, screw you melanoma, you can't have our Heather's spirit. I think/wonder just how strong the spirit really is. When you look at what people do through sheer willpower, it's pretty amazing. I wonder if you CAN survive through 'sheer bloody mindedness'... I'd like to think you, at least, can. The power of your spirit lights us all, I'm not kidding.

Start writing that book. I'll be first in line for the signing!

Regards,

A

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote something in a previous post that went like 'it's not the letting go that hurts, it's the holding on'.

That can mean so many things, I think you'd said it about your children, but it can also be true of your illness. Holding on to what used to be normality when everything is obviously different and that demon is right there off to the side trying to fuck with you.

Ignoring it doesn't work. Killing it might.

Like someone else said, face your monsters. Know them. Take a look at them every day, then put them behind you and focus on what's important to you, what you have to do. It feels like that's what you do. Takes a different sort of bravery to do that.

I wish you health and happiness for eternity.

Jamie......going back to lurking.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Heather,

I can't imagine how a cancer diagnosis must have felt coming right on top of childbirth. I don't think I could deal with that and I don't know how you did. And yet you stand there and face your "demons" day after day, unflinchingly and undaunted and not only that, but you put it all out there with such honesty, in this blog, for everyone to see. Your honesty and your spirit are such a gift to not only your family, but all of us who "read" you so faithfully. Looking forward to great news after your treatment and scans. Looking at your picture in an earlier blog I think you are beautiful and after reading you, I know that is true both inside and out.

Sincerely,

Terri

2:56 PM  
Anonymous MarilynB said...

Heather, once again you combine eloquence and humor to speak openly and honestly to what must now be a large fan club. I nodded my head vigorously in absolute agreement with every sentence. I think I got a whiplash, but it was so worth it. Love, MarilynB

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog today and read it the wrong way from the top down. I was only going to read the top few postings, but couldn't stop reading. As your story unfolded before me it was a bit overwhelming, but I didn't want to stop reading it.
I don't have cancer but my best friend has recently been diagnosed with stage three melanoma. He's 32 years old. I'm going to send him the link to your blog. It's unbelievable. Seriously.
I wish you all the strength possible in your fight and successful outcomes.

Melissa

3:46 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I feel exactly the same. Coulda written it myself. In fact, I was going to write something similar this week!

Somehow it's easier knowing, somehow it's harder.

Not today.

7:31 AM  

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