A cacophonous roar

October 7th, 2013 § 21 comments

IMG_2034There comes a moment in many conversations,
I can see it:
They reach their limit.

Ten minutes in, or maybe only five,
They start to drift off,
Squirm,
Just want to  be done with it.

Sometimes they even say,
“Let’s talk about something else” or

“Let’s change the subject”
Every so often they go as far as to say, “This is depressing.”

Being done with it is something I would love to do.
I’d love to tell the inner me to forget about it.
But that’s not possible.

It’s not mind over matter when that matter is making you sick, as are the treatments you need to fight it.
Metastatic cancer is background music, but it is a cacophonous roar.

I put it in its place,
But it has a place.
And the fact that it even has a place,
Well, that is just the way it is.
I try to keep its place as small as possible.
For as long as I can.
But I don’t have the luxury of changing the subject or forgetting about it for a while.

Like a greedy child metastatic cancer demands attention.
I tell it to wait,
Give me a bit of a break.

First I demand it.
Then, worried, I ask again contritely.
Then I downright beg.
Please, just give me some more time.

But I don’t believe there is anyone who hears me.
I don’t believe there is a god listening,
And I don’t believe cancer gives a damn about it all.

And so the plea evaporates as quickly as it came,
The tree in the forest with no one to hear.
I can only do my research, try to make the best decisions.

But in the end,
These cells will do what they will,
As they have,
Without respectful regard to all of my attempts to banish them.
That’s not how it works:
You can’t wish them away,
Hope them away,
Love and light them away.

Cellular biology is King.
But paired to that fateful ruler
I shall be an argumentative, rebellious Queen.
Wring the most out of each day.
Find those bits of joy and beauty,
Make sure that what I’m doing isn’t waiting around to die.
For truly, that would be a waste.

And in those conversations now I am grateful there can be other subjects to move on to,
Share the lives of my friends and support them,
Even if I am simultaneously pretending I can’t hear the roar.

The greedy child still tugs at my hem,
Will not be denied.

I needn’t let that noise drown us out,
And it won’t silence me just yet.

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§ 21 Responses to A cacophonous roar"

  • Diane D'Angelo says:

    So honest, so heartbreaking and so true. Thank you.

  • Diane D'Angelo says:

    So honest, so heartbreaking and so true. Thank you.

  • I think, of course, of George Eliot and the roar the lies on the other side of silence. What a luxury that silence is for those of us not dealing with metastatic cancer.

  • Diana says:

    Beautifully written, again!

  • Cecilia says:

    “I shall be an argumentative, rebellious Queen.”

    This description and the image of cancer as a pairing is amazing.

    Keep arguing.

  • Xeni says:

    Love you Lisa. Beautiful post.

  • Susie Simmons says:

    Eloquence. Erudition. Courage. Selflessness. Prescience. Insight. These many fine qualities and more are your hallmarks; your posts are moving and profound. My youngest sister, also named Lisa, died in her forties of complications of rheumatoid arthritis. I took care of her in her final months of life and often told her “I wish I had a magic wand”. Sadly, there are no magic wands, but my compassion for you knows no bounds. I would listen to you all day every day and never change the subject. I keep you in my heart.

  • JoAnn says:

    thanks again

  • Lisa says:

    I would want to listen, and listen, and listen. Such a privilege to talk intimately to someone who is so closely and intelligent involved with life and death both.

  • Amy Hallman Rice says:

    Oh, Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your writing…you are such an inspiration to so many and giving so much of yourself. I am holding thoughts of you and wishing you well each day. I thought of you when I wrote this the other day about my expereience:

    Being in cancer
    is like landing in barbed cement
    skin scraped raw
    rough steel bleed
    You watch the rusted poison enter and hurt your heart
    You don’t move
    You just breathe
    You watch the sting
    As though it were another’s
    But it is yours

  • Rebecca says:

    Love your poetry Lisa. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Laurie says:

    Hi there Lisa, I love reading your stuff, and I wish you didn’t have cancer.

  • joanne firth says:

    Absolutely amazing and profound words. I hear a song in this.

  • Kelli Rumbold says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I found your site through the musings of a mutual friend, Britt L. To make the world a little smaller, I also graduated from high school with your husband. I’m sorry to say I did not get the chance to know him while we were in school. We must have traveled in different circles. I was diagnosed with Stage III ILC in June of 2010. This particular post called out to me because I also do not believe there is someone/thing listening and that nature and the cells in my body will decide if I stay NED or not. I sometimes wish there was someone out there and that I could bargain and beg my way to good health until I’m 100. I am thankful, however, that there are people like you and Britt (ak pretty church lady) that have the gift of beautiful prose that can express some of my feelings in a way I never could. Thank you!

  • Penny says:

    I read with support this comment until you talk about dying. I have come to accept my death and preparing for it quietly on my own at this stage. I have family and lots of friends who give me strength but the dreaded cancer has taken over so much I cannot take any more treatment. I am not enjoying life with what treatment throws me. Even after yet another ct scan last week it made me violently ill. When I see my doctor today I will make the decision to tell all that I am going to enjoy my last months free of fighting it.

  • WIth love and thanks,
    jms

  • Amy Forloine says:

    I don’t even know you at all, but your life has changed my life. I will try not to take for granted every cancer-free day I am blessed to have…thank-you for bearing this burden so that I might cherish my life a little more. We are all dying, and life is so short. Trying to find the joys amidst the pain is all we can do, and you do it beautifully. I wish you many many more moments where cancer seems small and your life seems grand in comparison.

  • Meg says:

    Lisa, Your words creat moments of beauty. Thank you for writing!
    Meg

  • Once again, you open yourself up in such a primal and beautiful way. You shall not be silenced and people like us DO want to hear what you have to say. Keep your thoughts and mindful words coming.

  • ginger m. says:

    Well, let me just tell you that I could listen and listen and listen, like another commenter said. I have often wished/thought that people with cancer should be offered or seek out people they’re not close to but who have an interest in earnestly listening, like me. Why? Because I think people who are related or friends or otherwise close to the person sometimes just can’t handle what is being said. Support groups and their extreme importance maybe just don’t always fit all the needs a person with cancer needs. If you have cancer you are living it every moment of every day and while you may not want to talk about it all the time, I would imagine that there are times where you just want to tell somebody about it in all its detail. I also believe there are people like me who would be honored and happy to listen and be there for you with no strings attached. You wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting anyone. Know what I mean?

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