Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stay the Course

Last week I was in a state of fear about the possibility of an eventual recurrence. Yet the banner at the top of my blog says:
My commitment is to transform our current cultural conversation about cancer from one of fear and dread to one that empowers those of us who have cancer, as well as our friends & loved ones.
 I had cancer. Cancer didn't have me.
Last week this was not the case. My cancer had me. My thinking had me. It was disempowering and thus it didn't serve me. As a Life Coach I support people navigating a cancer diagnosis so they stay empowered in the face of whatever circumstances they face. Ironically, I was not engaged in the work I do with others. Fortunately, due to the bold generosity of a friend's facebook message and one face-to-face conversation with a new acquaintance on the street, I realized I had stepped away from my commitment to living inside an empowering context regardless of circumstances.

It happens now and again. Of course it does. I'm human. But what was different this time is that I didn't reach out to my support network. Instead I got "stuck in my head." Or to put it plain English, I got scared and didn't speak up with the people in my life who are committed to coach me to create an empowering context to live my life from.

For over five years, I have dealt with painful and profoundly difficult circumstances, and for the most part, I have been able to be strong in the face of it because I consistently reach out for support/coaching when I feel confronted or scared or overwhelmed with my circumstances. As a result, I have remained grateful for my life and present to love for my life, regardless of my circumstances because the circumstances are not me, they are just circumstances. We all have them. But last week I was lost in my circumstances; lost in my fear and forgot there was a way out.

What I'm clear about now is that I can be concerned about my quarterly scan results each time I have a scan, but being afraid of what the results might be, does not serve me. Like being chased by a bear. It makes sense to be scared. But if I'm in a forest where bears live, there's no reason to be scared if I am not aware of any bears. Now inside that of that analogy, I have been chased by bears before, but I am unwilling to walk through the forest scared for the rest of my life. It doesn't serve me. The fear did serve me initially. It got me to take quick action so I could stay alive, but after that, it doesn't provide anything. It just gets in the way.

I am grateful for my life, my kids, my family, and so many people and things. There has been no sign of cancer in my body for over a year. Being declared cancer-free after receiving a Stage IV cancer diagnosis...that's pretty damn fantastic! I still feel like a stranger in my new life, but I'm okay with that because so much of my life is new and uncharted. Christmas begins in two days and will take us into the New Year. I love this time of year. But I won't create a resolution for the coming year. I will stay the course and be clear that I am healthy.

And whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you a Merry Christmas and the strength to face powerfully, whatever circumstances come your way, for the coming year and for many, many more to come.

Monday, December 17, 2012

All Clear

The CT scan came back NEGATIVE. Doctor Kemeny reminded me it has been over a year now that I have been cancer-free. She said once I reach the two year mark, that will be an even greater milestone. Next scan in three months.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quarterly Scan

Monday December 17th I head to NYC for my quarterly CT scan & blood work. I haven't been this anxious about a scan since my very first one five and a half years ago. Honestly it feels like the results will tell me one of two tings:

A) You have had a recurrence


B) You haven't had a recurrence yet.

My once, nearly unshakable confidence has indeed been rattled. So much of what I thought was "my life" is no longer. A part of that has to do with the prognosis being "very likely only a matter of time before it's back." That on top of everything else has begun to weigh heavy on me.

I believe an individual's intention makes a difference. I just no longer have unwavering intention about my future.  If I at all felt like there was something holding me up other than me, I would feel a little more grounded. Yet from another perspective, my son & step-son give me reason to stand on my own. And so I do.

And I can't help but notice a change in who I am right now. When I heard about the news in Connecticut on Friday, I shed a few tears for a total of five minutes. A year ago, I would have shed tears on and off for a few days. I feel maxed out, like there's not much to give right now. Like a dear in the headlights. I know I should react but I feel kinda frozen.

Maybe after five and a half years of high stress, one things after another, there's going to be some impact. I'm exhausted. My emotions are by no means "off," but there appears to have been a shift and I feel wiped out. Every day.

I believe this will change over time. We find our way back. Human beings are incredible. But I can't help but wonder if this is some kind of post-trauma emotional crash of some sort. For those who don't interact with me regularly, some perspective would help. Groceries are purchased, food is cooked, laundry is done, the house is clean. Play dates and birthday parties and great times with the grandparents are common in my little boy's life. I'm just tired right now. Physically and emotionally tired.

Tomorrow I do a round trip to NYC. Hopefully driving home with good news.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


My procedure has been rescheduled for January 2nd. Being on antibiotics for a nasty cold or whatever it is, makes me ineligible.