It’s complicated (Positano)

March 19th, 2013 § 13 comments

Willing myself to recharge, gather strength, get ready, be stronger.

Chemo starts again.
One more week.

My relationship status with chemo on Facebook would read: It’s complicated.

Chemo keeps me alive.
Buys me time.
Gives me days, weeks, months.

Makes me sick.
Causes my hands and feet to numb, get tender, peel, redden, swell, ache, burn, throb.
Tires me, sickens me, weakens me.

How can I hate that which gives me hope?

I check in with friends on Twitter.
I see photos of beautiful people in watercolor places doing things I want to be doing.
I am jealous.
The light hits her hair so perfectly, magically, like a mermaid.
It makes me cry.

I literally weep at the beauty of a friend,
wishing I could be with her,
with them,
anywhere but here.

I had a dream of being at Sirenland.
I set a goal, but it has come and gone, unfulfilled.

I cannot decide if stage IV means I must downsize my dreams or shoot for the moon.

Is there nothing left to lose or simply nothing left?

It is late night in Positano now.
They have done their work for the day.
They have their late European dinner, their drinks, their views of the water shimmering at the base of the hill.

I was supposed to go on a trip there once, coincidentally.
A fifteen year anniversary present and celebration of finishing cancer surgeries and chemo six years ago.

Plans were made, everything was set.
Four days before planned departure, our (then) five year old son’s appendix ruptured.
Nine days of round the clock hospital bedside vigils followed.
No trip. No rebooking. No celebration.
But no regrets at being where our son needed us to be.

Wistful I remain.
Unsure I will see that place now.
I envy those who are there.
I wonder if they know.

How I envy them.

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§ 13 Responses to It’s complicated (Positano)"

  • Melissa Van Hoosen says:

    Lisa, I’ve recently started to read your blog. It is both touching and a sad reminder. I too am a survivor. I was diagnosed in 2005 and have been lucky to remain in remission. I decided that if I made it through treatment I would begin the writing I always wanted to do. I went to grad school and also was lucky enough to go to Sirenland three times. Like Dani said, shoot for the moon. I hope you are there next year.

  • Sarah Hina says:

    You light up the darkness like the moon. This is devastatingly beautiful.

    I envy your strength and honesty. All my best to you, Lisa.

  • Susan says:

    Lisa I wonder if you talk to your oncologist whether you can find a time to take that trip. It sounds like it would be something that you would love to look forward to, and really enjoy. I know that your journey has been difficult and I am sorry that the side effects of the xeloda are so harsh. Meanwhile I send you prayers of light and virtual hugs.

  • While I’m not fighting for my life like you are, I often find myself envious of friends with husbands who are enjoying life. One is traveling to Positano next month. It’s the little things and EVERYTHING I miss about James. None of us knows what the future may hold, but I’ve decided to craft a new life and shoot for the moon. As I do so, I continue to keep you in my prayers.


  • Patti V. says:

    I’m a two-year survivor and have been reading your posts for the past few months.
    I e-mailed you before, don’t know if you saw my notes.
    I’m a writer as well but have a hard time writing about myself. All I can do is try, I suppose.

    You’re such a gifted writer, Lisa. This is sad yet so beautifully written. All my best to you.

  • Kim C says:

    I agree with everything Susan has said. Shoot for the moon…. the views of the water shimmering at the base of the hill.

  • jbaird says:

    Lisa, what beautiful imagery. I, too, don’t know whether to shoot for the moon or lower my expectations, but I do plan to go to Switzerland with my son this summer as a graduation present to him. That’s the goal for this year. We’ll see where chemo takes me a year from now. I hope you realize your dream to go there. xo

  • Becky says:

    Thank you for revealing so much of yourself… so raw and honest and, as someone who cares about you, painful. But, I wouldn’t pass up this chance to connect with you through your words on these pages.

  • So sad yet real; so raw, yet beautiful.

  • dida says:

    Honest. Painful. Beautiful. A sharp fence to the rest of us to who have no idea what it’s like to be where you are. You are handling it with grace and honesty and the kind of powerful writing that only comes from real living. Your children and husband must be speechless at your strength. You, no doubt, are the moon to them.

  • Rosa says:

    Lovely words filled with pain. . Shoot for your dreams. The dreams often an illusion, may take on a new significance as does the appreciation of every day life after a serious illness but if it is touching them that is important to you, do it. I am a four year survivor and am from Positano. Yes, sometimes life sucks there too. But I know what you mean. As we say in Italy ‘corraggio’.

  • Debora says:

    Rosa, I love your post. Heavy, for sure as so many look for enchantment at your back door, but lovely too, I should think, to find friends, in any given place, who see one another clearly.

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