Update 3/4/2014

March 4th, 2014 § 69 comments

IMG_8310Hi everyone, an update to briefly say hello since my posts are still infrequent. It’s been about three months now since this particular acute metastatic breast cancer episode started. First I was stuck at home in pain with tumors in my spine and hips before and during the holidays. Then I was in the hospital for three weeks at the start of 2014 getting pain under control and having two weeks of radiation. Now I’ve been home for another six weeks since leaving the hospital.

After such a long period of time many people will start to assume you “must be back to normal by now.” Each day they anxiously wait for news that someone “feels better.” It doesn’t work like that all the time, just the way with metastatic cancer you don’t “beat it.”  A good day or two may come, but they are often followed by a bad one, or two, or three. Add chemo to the mix and you start to realize the good days are relative and elusive in incurable cancer. Support is always so appreciated as the days, weeks, months go by. It’s friendship for the duration.

There are many situations where isolation may be a real danger including examples of infertility, chronic illness, and grief. Those who must deal with these problems start to feel isolated. Additionally, they may start to actively separate from others when they feel that life is just moving on without them. As time goes on, they may hesitate to talk about their problems because they fear that friends will have grown weary of hearing about it/ still can’t relate to it. More and more, they keep these things to themselves. This leads both to further isolation and also the faulty notion from their friends that the person is “over it.”

The truth is that it’s very hard when  difficult situations of all kinds linger. I think we all do better when tough times are brief. Being in one of these situations has shown me the depth to which this is the case.

Today I had to miss Tristan’s Spring music show at school. It broke my heart to tell him I couldn’t attend. They were able to videotape it and I know we will watch it together and have a special time doing that. If it were just one thing it would be different. But as any parent can imagine, saying, “I’m so sorry but I can’t…” again and again for months is difficult. The truth is that if I knew it were temporary it would be easier. But I know that there will be more and more things I can’t do with the kids. And that’s what weighs on me: this thing is part of a whole.

I tried driving last weekend but unfortunately, for now, the verdict is that I am still unable to do more than go to the bus stop at the end of the street if needed. So I continue to be housebound.

I’m working with my doctors to adjust my medications and try to manage the vertigo, sedation and pain. I am using less pain medicine (hooray) but unfortunately I still feel so rotten I sometimes can’t get out of bed and most often can’t go anywhere except to chemo. It is a cruel balance. This weekend I was stuck in bed for three days. It saddens me to lose so much time.

I still long to write here more. I miss the creative part of my brain working the way it used to. I miss poetry and photography and so many things. I will bring them back though! The orchid photo above is one I took in the kitchen this week. My friend Alex brought me lunch and a beautiful potted orchid. I even ordered daffodils with my groceries this week to remind myself of the garden outside and what’s waiting under this snow.

Winter break at school came and went. I know it’s a very busy time for everyone as Spring approaches. It’s hard to see life outside passing me by while I wait for Spring so I can at least get fresh air here at home. It has continued to be cold and wintery over the past few weeks. If you’re able to be outside today doing anything: errands, standing at the bus stop, or waiting the train platform on your way to work: think for a moment what it would feel like not to do any of that for three months. It’s a very long time. Mundane things can be sweet when viewed in a different light.

I am so grateful for the offers of help and meals that continue to come. Let me assure you they are so needed  and appreciated. I will have chemo again this week. In two weeks’ time the plan is to do scans to see if there is any visible evidence about whether radiation and chemo have shrunk the cancer.

My daily reminder: Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.

In case you need a bit of beauty I will leave you with one of mine, a good laugh this week from Tristan. With a very serious expression on his face  he says to me quietly from the dinner table, “Mom, I have something to tell you and you’re not going to like it. It’s something I learned. I was reading it in a book. But I think you will be upset. The book was about Albert Einstein. It said that for a while he didn’t want to go to school. He didn’t want to learn things in school that they wanted him to learn. He just wanted to learn what he wanted to learn. He stayed home for a while and didn’t go to school. See? I think you would not think that was very good that Albert Einstein didn’t want to go to school.”

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§ 69 Responses to Update 3/4/2014"

  • Lisa,

    As always … a beautifully poignant reminder that it’s important to relish in every moment regardless of how humdrum it may seem.

    You are always on my mind and in my prayers …

    Awaiting Spring with you and wishing for more good days than bad,

    Nicole

  • kate says:

    Lovely to read your words and” hear ” your voice again. I hope you know you are never alone or far away from our thoughts.

  • The passing of time, the missing of events, the not being able to drive or go outside. I think of you daily and remind myself to do the things that you cannot and to appreciate the life I have. I was bedridden with my first pregnancy for 5 mos + 1 wk, completely flat on my back with only bathroom privileges and one 6 minute shower every other day. Next to losing my older brother, it was THE hardest thing I ever had to do. It was over the holidays in 2006/2007 and I missed doing every single holiday thing (decorating the house, baking cookies, making holiday meals, window shopping hoping for ideas for gifts, seeing the stores all dressed up in the holiday finest). No one in my life, save my husband, could appreciate what being bedridden meant for an otherwise active, able bodied person. I was isolated. It cost me friendships. But, nothing was more important to me than protecting the life of my unborn son.

    You do what you have to do. I knew my situation was finite. Yours is not and that must be an awfully hard cross to bear. Take the good and the beauty where you find it, Lisa. And know that for whatever it is worth, you are on the minds and in the hearts of so many.

  • Lisa says:

    I so hope that this spring, when it finally arrives, the sunshine the light the air, might help you find more days when you can actually feel good.

  • Leslie says:

    Lisa- your words are my bit of beauty for today. So glad to get an update. I wil appreciate the mundane, thank you for the reminder.

  • Elaine says:

    Your posts are hauntingly beautiful and courageous. I hope you feel better soon. I love the picture of the orchid, too.

  • Kirsty Aversa says:

    Lisa,
    I think of you daily and am in awe of your grace under true adversity. As a Stage 2 breast cancer woman, I read your blogs voraciously, hoping for positive outcomes for all those who are experiencing the same fate and perhaps, one minute part of me, is looking at what could potentially become my life in the future. When I wish “time” for you and lots of it, I realize I mean I wish “time” for you engaged as much as possible in the fullness of life with your family!

  • Thank you for keeping me grounded in the reality of this disease, Lisa. Even more than my doctors, you tell it like it is, and I am forever grateful for your honesty. It helps me to tell it like it is without apology or sugar-coating.

    • Nicky says:

      Beth – you are so right. Had a greet conversation with my oncologist yesterday and he updated me as to the fact I am as he puts it a very sick lady. Is he afraid to say
      the words that I am dying?!?!? So I came on my co outer, checking emails etc and I read Lisa’s words, so beautiful. Then I am reminded pf where I am on this journey.
      Still trying to accept that my BC diagnosis Jun2012 is now stage 4 metastatic to my lungs so fast Feb 2014, after completing surgery/chemo/rads/Herceptin November 2013. Your writing is wonderful. My outpouring has been through Facebook, where I have kept, and will continue to share my journey. I keep my friends and family entertained with daily updates, humour and inspirational messages. My faith and humour are my constant companions. Only on this blog will I post anything that is medically negative in nature, as I know you walk a similar path.

  • thank you for keeping me grounded in the reality of this disease, Lisa. Even more than my doctors, you tell it like it is. Your honest helps me to tell it like it is, without apology or sugar-coating.

  • ellen says:

    So good to hear your voice again, Lisa.

    Reading this post, I just wanted to reach out, and give you a huge hug- Your post brought me back to when my youngest was still alive (he had a brain tumor) and the point when the list of things that he could no longer do got longer and longer. He was usually pretty stoic about most of them, but the things that represented the loss of his ‘freedom’ like being able to ride his bike etc, were the most heartbreaking. Those were the only times that I would see him cry and really, how do you comfort someone in those situations- there’s no silver lining. He knew what was happening to him and he knew ultimately, things were not going to get better (nothing was working for him, treatment wise)

    I’m hoping that you will have good news that the chemo/radiation have shrunk the tumors that that you will have more and more good days ahead so that you can get out more and do more with the kids, and regain some of that ‘freedom’ to do and enjoy the mundane things most of us take for granted.

  • Joe Cascio says:

    I recall that another great physicist, Richard Feynman, tried to get away without taking any of the gen-ed humanities courses when he was an undergrad at MIT. He turned out ok, too. Maybe it’s a trait of Nobel prize winning physicists, Tristan. :)

  • Susan Moscareillo says:

    It is bitterly cold here this morning too. I fed the birds at my house and here at my office in your honor.

    We are all in this together.

    Sending much love and respect. :-)

  • Lisa Becker says:

    One day at a time, dear one. My husband has stage IV breast cancer also. He has been struggling as well. This past week he started back at work,part time. We never thought it would be possible. Our youngest is six and truly understand missing some lifetime events. Love the idea of watching the video taped event together. Your a great momma and role model!!!
    Xoxo Lisa

  • Hi Lisa, So glad to hear from you. I’ll take the time to get out and walk the dog today, because of your reminder that I can. Please know you’re in a lot of people’s thoughts and prayers. Hoping you have a few good days here and there, and that spring comes soon. Tristan is a treasure. xo

  • Rebecca says:

    Dear Lisa, I am sorry that the list of “can’t do” is growing longer right now. As I’ve mentioned before, my daughter is Tristan’s age, and my heart breaks for both you and Tristan today.
    As far as not wanting to go to school goes, I tell my daughter that not everyone wants to go to school and that’s okay not to WANT to do it. There are many things in life we don’t WANT to do, but we still must do them.

    They say the sap isn’t running yet in the Maple trees. Spring is delayed. I hope that changes soon, and the snow melts, and you can see your daffodils again.

  • Edith says:

    Lisa, I have been following your blog and twitter updates for a almost a year now. I think of you as my virtual friend I dont have cancer as you do but struggle with autoimmune diseases that made me handicap person and I am also house bound .I have two young boys ages 16 and 12 and can relate to your hardship easily .I can’t even express how valuable it is for me to have that contact with you daily .So I cry with you , sometimes I laugh with you too but beeing so sick and nonfunctional makes humor bitter sweet deal these days…. Anyway I just want you to know how much I appreciate what you do and like you once said your writing is not only for cancer patients bc people relate to feelings also not onlymedical conditions .PS I still dislike Kellers and cant get over insensitivity some people show and act

  • Diane D'Angelo says:

    Lisa, so good to hear from you; I just wish you felt better. I want you to know that I used your daily reminder: “Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere” in a group setting recently. It is spot on.

  • Consuelo says:

    The photograph of the flower is beautiful, and the post is so beautiful. I know that you can feel that there is so much love for you out here, so much gratitude for letting us be part of your life. Thank you for your honesty and your truth.

  • Barbara says:

    Beautifully written. I think of you often and wish you better days ahead.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you once again for the update. Hopefully, by the time spring arrives you will be out there in your garden. Wishing you only the best. And I never did before, but since reading your blog, I actually do try to find the beauty in something every day.

  • Nancy says:

    Lisa

    I have been reading your blog for several months. I don’t know how I got it but I am so glad to “have met you” and I too think of you as my friend. You make me see what is wonderful about the world and I go home and hug my six cats when I think about what you are going through. I can’t even imagine and can’t even find anything to say that would mean anything. I wish I could help you in some way, but like you say – you inspire all of us to see the world in a different way and to see the good in everything. Yes, you have encouraged me to see the good in the world, where I only see the bad and how our world is falling apart.

    I also look forward to Spring to see it “with” you and how beautiful new life is. I have an old book entitled “Eric” by Doris Lund. When he was in the hospital, his mom wanted to stay by his side and he told her to go out and walk and see the world for him, to breathe and take it all in – see it for him. I hope we can all do that for you.

    I wish you the best and I will go out and see the world for you – snow and all. My hummers should be coming in a few months and I will post photos on your Facebook.

  • Sammy says:

    God bless you girl! I said a prayer for you! You’re a brave and strong person.

  • Janice Soll says:

    You and I have let go of all semblance of what others consider normal. Some days a few hours out of bed is an accomplishment. A few minutes of clear thinking here and there.
    I force myself to call friends and family to make sure I am still here. I know more about the patients and nurses in the the chemo room. Strange reality, but on we push for those we love.

  • Louise says:

    It’s great, isn’t it, to demonstrate a love of life and pleasure in the small things. My latest chemo is going sort of OK. I was able to make a flower arrangement yesterday. A touch of happiness.
    I watch the news and see so many people worse off than me, and than you. They see their lives unravel, their homes, their political systems, and wait to die of thirst and hunger. We are both so much better off. Cancer is never caused by political drama.
    When your children have special events, get a carer to take you there. It is appropriate for your child’s friends to see that you do move heaven and earth to watch him. If you can not organise it then ask the palliative care team for help with that. You can do lots in a wheelchair. Use a paid ambulance service if you have to.

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      Thank you for your suggestions but we each make our own decisions. I won’t explain why here but an ambulance is totally the wrong decision here for so many reasons! I’m glad you have what works for YOU. As I said, the recording of this event is the best option in this case. I’m glad he and I will have it.

  • Karen S. says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Wonderful blog as always.

  • Erika Robuck says:

    You are beautiful and perfect, and your posts are never a burden. They ground us and remind us of the beauty and importance of every precious moment of our lives. Wishing you days of good feelings and peace.

  • joannefirth says:

    Lisa, I’ve come to cherish your updates more than any other written words I read. It brings me great sadness thinking of you ever becoming isolated and not wanting to talk about it. Those who love you understand that the cancer is a big part of your life right now and talking about it helps. Nobody expects you to be all sunshine and roses in your daily communication when you feel rotten and you had to miss a special event at Tristan’s school. Those are hard things to cope with, yet you do cope and you do share and it is appreciated.

    Try to remember, that you are our friend and that real friends take the good days with the bad, even if the good days are few and far between. Any tweet from you is special, regardless of what you decide to share. Don’t hold back, the support will always be there for you.

    You are probably tired of me always popping in but I think it is important to let you know that I stopped by your page on Twitter or Facebook, just to let you know you are in my thoughts and that I was there. I am not a very good stalker. ;)

    Thank you for this update and I hope that you and Tristan have a real fun time watching that video of the Spring Musical. How special indeed that you will be able to watch it together. I love you.

  • Bill says:

    I finally went back to work (part-time) this week after being at home for five months dealing with the pain from the stage four cancer spreading.
    I totally agree with the misunderstanding of how people perceive how “well” you are doing.
    I know that I won’t beat this, but I refuse to continue to let my bed and my couch keep me in their grasp.

  • Jaq says:

    Thank you for this post, and for reminding us about finding a bit of beauty in each and every day. Take care.

  • […] My daily reminder: Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere from Lisa Bonchek Adams http://lisabadams.com/2014/03/04/update-342014/#comment-16944 […]

  • Dear Lisa -

    Thank you once again for teaching us so much here. You are a beautiful, bright flower poking through all the snow and cold we’re experiencing this winter. In full bloom. Inspiring us all. Just by being yourself so authentically and generously. I send you love as I do every day, along with so many others.

    Priscilla

  • Caroline says:

    I am glad to hear you are doing okay.

  • Christie says:

    I think of you often and wonder – how you are doing. Isolation is difficult. I’ve been experiencing this myself for a different set of reasons.

    Whenever I run into a cute corgi picture or something only another mother could appreciate I think of you. Someday soon the green leaves will replace the snow and you will find a chair, grab a cup of tea and breathe the fresh air.

    I can never keep orchids very long – but I do keep trying. I wouldn’t want to miss their beauty.

    Today – just a smile or a giggle.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/Modern-Parenthood/2013/0620/Twins-rubber-bands-video-Two-babies-have-the-best-time-ever?

  • Cancerfree2b says:

    Lisa,
    It is so great to hear your beautiful , rich and poignant voice again. You are in my thoughts. I hope you have more good days. Xoxoxox
    Lisa

  • Dorry says:

    thank you Lisa. xo

    My daily reminder: Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.

  • Susan Zager says:

    Hi Lisa
    Thank you for the update. Thanks to you I wake up every day and have my daily reminder to find a bit of beauty in it…It’s not always easy. I am thinking of you and wishing for all the beauty you can find while I know there are difficult moments. Your son Tristan is so wise. and I love the story of Albert Einstein not wanting to go to school. Sending you thoughts of love and light. xoxo – Susan

  • Mary says:

    So wonderful to receive your post- as always. Between posts I assume you are dealing with truly important matters and I would never assume that you are feeling all better or back to normal. Your posts are too real for me to believe you are doing anything but channelling your dogged relentlessness to get more quality time. And that is what I wish for you. In between your posts, when you might feel alone, please know that many readers are hoping, praying, wishing that you are having a good moment, a good hour, a good morning. You have opened your life, your struggles, your research dreams for the benefit of us whose diagnosis might be one mammogram or exam away. I could not be more grateful for your posts, whenever they might come. Blessing to you.

  • susan says:

    Lisa,
    You have made me find a bit of beauty each day as I too journey with advanced breast cancer and am now looking at the two bunches of daffodils I bought at the Philadelphia flower show. And I am wishing along the miles and through the written words, the beauty of spring for you after this long winter. Your words I read are the bit of beauty I hold in my heart each time I read your posts.

  • Life really is never linear, but so many really want it to be. I do hope you enjoy the concert in whatever form it comes.

  • Sabrina says:

    Thank you for writing…I think of you always, for you speak out to us all so openly and honest about what my mother will only tell me about her bc mets. Family is everything and you and yours are beautiful xo

  • I think it important to have a place to be able to think what we think, and have a place where we process and get a sense of who and where we are — I’m ever so grateful to you for so generously sharing your posts from the front.

  • Imra says:

    Sending you hugs. I am sure your kids know they have a wonderful mom, even when you miss their shows.. You are very brave to write about all of this.. You help us see the beauty of things we take for granted and I want to say thank you for that.

  • Christine in Canada says:

    Dear Lisa, your mantra speaks to me everyday. You are such a beautiful writer. I admire so much about your spirit & your perseverance. You make me want to do better–and be better. In my thoughts and prayers everyday is where you are. Take comfort in the difference you are making. Hugs and love to you.

  • peg says:

    Lisa- your blog is touching. I will send positive healing thoughts your way. And I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    As weird as it might sound from a stranger. .
    I send my love to you from Fresno. :)

  • EAK13 says:

    Lisa in short “Thank You” and for the update…… Alli x

  • Elizabeth J. says:

    Lisa,
    Hugs and prayers. It must be so hard to be stage 4 and a mother of a young child. He sounds precious. You are doing a good job with him.
    I hope they find a balance of meds for you soon that will both keep you comfortable and allow you to do more.
    May God bless you and yours.

  • Kristen says:

    Thank you for the perspective you always offer. I hope some of the good days are around the corner.

  • […] had never seen this blog before, but a friend sent it to me and she has some great resources for thinking about and talking to children […]

  • Marty Hanna says:

    Lisa, thank you. I’m one of the ones who looks for you every day on Twitter. Across the miles from Maryland, I offer love, respect, and a great appreciation for your willingness to write about your experience. May the hard days be short and the better days be long.
    @MercyWoman

  • Virginia says:

    Your son’s comment on Einstein is priceless! You must know you have made a difference in your honesty with him. I am not aware of such a young person having such insight into life? Are you? If I am able to help ease such pain you are going through, I hope you will see how much of an incredible strength you have given to your children through all of the grace you have experienced through your undeserved trials.i must confess, I had worked as a nurse at LGH back in the 80′s. Your Father always demanded impeccable care to his patients. I believe he taught me as a young nurse to strive for excellence. Also, I have a son with severe autism, so, I can understand some of the obstacles and medical needs of your beautiful son. You are one special lady, and I salute you for your courage, strength and devotion to your family. Your cancer, I believe, would not have changed these qualities about who you are.

  • Michael says:

    you are precious. My wife is in a similar state and we savor every day we have together.
    I remember when my father found out he only had six months to live we visited San Francisco because my Mom and Dad loved it there. He told me what he was experiencing was like being in WW II except that he new then if he got out alive he would be OK. It is hard to find the good when there is so much bad coming. Seeing my wife’s scared face is heart wrenching but I love her more the sicker she gets. I am reading “The Fault in Our Stars”, (highly recommended) and in some ways I wish I could be sick with her but she wants me to be her rock and I do what I can.
    Sorry for the ramble.

  • Good thoughts to you from the beautiful Southwest. Your daily suggestion to find beauty has made me more appreciative of what I see in my front yard every day.

  • Louisa says:

    Lisa, I found your information a couple years ago and have been following since…you are real, your posts are real….you let us know that life can be far from perfect in many ways yet we need to keep the courage, hope and concern for our family and others as our focus as well as doing what we can for our own situation.Thank you for this encouragement and support. You are doing and enduring everything possible in this way and helping the rest of us along the way also. My hope is healing for you and healing for all of us in whatever way needed…..I believe it can happen. Love to you.

  • Oscar Julio Burd says:

    My mother has a cancer and is winning the fight. It is impressive. She is 73 now and is fighting the last 10 years. I saw very dificult moments. But now She is fine. If you believe, and persist, you will also be fine.

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      I hesitated to even approve this comment for publication. While I am glad for your mom and for you, attitude is not what makes you “fine.” This is exactly the “blame the patient” (I won’t use the word victim) for her disease. There is so much wrong with your observation and advice that I won’t even go into it more. Attitude makes the days better but it will not make the difference between living and dying. If it were, we would not have millions dying of cancer every day. It’s upsetting that reductionist thinking like this (attributing one of the most complex diseases — actually thousands of different subtypes of disease) to a “we had a good outcome so we must have deserved it more than other people who die each day if they only thought like we do” mentality. I will publish the comment so readers can see the type of responses that are exactly the type that still persist.

  • susan says:

    Thank you, Lisa, for replying. I have been involved personally and as advocate since 1988 and have seen the young, the runners, the vegetarians, the holistic believers, the obese, the poor eaters, the elderly– I’ve seen it all, and so little sadly has changed when a woman responds or relapses. In so many the gene lies dormant and the “believers” are so happy to say they or loved ones are now fine during this latent time, their attitude made all the difference in the world. All you need to do though is look around at those who “believe” , think those positive thoughts who are not like this reader’s mother and are putting one foot in front of the other, moving on, living as are you and I, with metastatic breast cancer. And through these many years I have seen and felt exactly as have you, the sense of failure, the sadness of all of us confronted with comments like this well meaning woman made, and finally the anger that these nutrition and emotional suggestions, pleas, still happen with so few like you who comment. I have lost far too many friends with the best attitudes.

    I remember sitting with my mother after my mastectomy just like hers at same age, and watching a program on tv. A panel, one of the best I had seen, talked about how they hated the feel good books, the visualizing little pac-men aliens attacking the cancer cells (I am dating myself here), and how this was the worst thing they could possibly hear. And they heard that and so many other things from friends, from authors, and they did it all, but still had cancer spread. The truth sadly is that 30% of first time breast cancer will come back and until the science understands the whys and the hows and can really make a difference, this will still happen. And the comments about attitude, the emailed articles about supplements, the psychological promises will still come to our doorsteps every day! The comparisons of all those who know who have beaten breast cancer. How do these so called loving friends think we all feel when no matter what we do, how we think, how much we try, we still endure treatments, pain, fear. Do we need them to add frustration and failure to our days?

  • Swoosieque says:

    Hahaha, this is probably the only instance where Albert Einstein and I have something in common – I hated going to school for the same reason!! :D

  • […] this week I leave you with some words from Lisa Adams’ blog – words to live by […]

  • connie says:

    Hi Lisa
    Just to say you are in my thoughts daily. Your writing, words and daily instruction is an inspiration to me.

  • Sid Marland says:

    Over Dr. Larry’s special crab cakes, talking of love and Lisa (get him to make them for you guys). The beauty that you exhort us to look for each day is, for many, found in your writings and their ever-widening universe of responses. Know that your blog is, and will be for years, an enduring reference of medical education, family life, reality, courage and hope. What is kind of mind-blowing is the impact you know your words are having with people who will never introduce themselves, and those yet to even be introduced to it. Wow!

  • Naz says:

    My husband has stage IV pancreatic cancer and our family is going through so many hardship. We have a 12 years old daughter and I completely understand you.You are in my prayers.
    You may read more about our story here:
    http://familyfightingcancer.wordpress.com/

  • Gia says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I very recently found your blog via a link that led me to a post you wrote several months back, and I read it right up until this one. Your words are powerful and compelling, and your fight for survival is awe-inspiring, to say the least. Thank you so much for sharing that here.

    First, I want to wish you well and say that I hope that your upcoming scans will reveal that the cancer is shrinking. You will be in my thoughts, and I will check back here regularly to hear how you are doing.

    Next, I want to commend you on educating others about the damage done with “well-meaning” comments that actually hurt the person going through the trauma. This seems to be pervasive in our society, and I’m not sure why. Is it a lack of empathy, or have these processed, generic and meaningless “new-age” ideas taken a such deep hold on so many, or both? I came across an excellent article a few months ago called “New Age Bullies” by Julia Ingram, MA. http://juliaingram.com/nab/ It gives examples of what not to say to someone and also speaks about people bullying *themselves* with the same beliefs that make them feel that they are in some way responsible for their dire circumstances. Countering these comments has been an important part of your blog. I’m sorry the need exists for you to have to do that, but I thank you for it.

    This morning I had to go for a breast biopsy after having had an abnormal mammogram. A few days ago, a friend asked me if I had thought about “the fact that I had attracted this problem into my life.” I tried to explain why that comment was hurtful, but I could see she didn’t get it. Anyway, when I was there to have my biopsy this morning your words gave me strength. I have no idea what path I will be traveling down, but whatever it is, I will deal with it as best I can. I know it’s not my “attitude” or the “law of attraction” or anything like that that caused the problem or that will fix it.

    I marvel at the balance you have between realism and hope, and how well you express that here. From what I’ve read, you take one day at a time, the good and the bad; and while working hard and enduring so much for a good outcome you also accept the possibility that it may not go that way. That is the most any of us can ever do. You will be my role model through the situation I’m in now, and for any in the future, whatever that may be. Thank you so much, and I wish you and your family all of the best.

  • Lissa Morris says:

    I am wondering how you run your house when you are bedridden. This is not just random curiosity. I, too, am dealing with metastatic breast cancer & have three children. I anticipate some rockier roads on the horizon. If you have any tips, I would appreciate anything. And, maybe, “running your house” is not exactly the right terminology but, I am hoping that you get the gist of it. Thank you for the time and energy you give to this.

  • katharine says:

    Lisa, you are my hero. Your heart and honesty find me at my core each and every time I read your words. I am healthy and the mom of a lovely [ and now frequently temperamental] 12 year old son. Brene Brown, whose words I listen to when I’m in my car, suggests that the best way to honor those who face loss is to be grateful for what we have.

    In the minutes, hours, moments and days that make up my life with my kiddo. I will find more joy and gratitude for the ability to just have this time. I wish you better days and send you love.

  • Carole says:

    Lisa, I have followed your blog since seeing your story on TV. You are a lovely young woman with a beautiful talent for using words and photography. I am hoping and praying for many years of remission for you. I am also praying that God will draw you to Himself, that He will lift the veil of unbelief from your eyes and give you faith to believe in Him. (You mentioned you are an atheist – yet I see you truly appreciate God’s creation through photographs you display) The human mind is the pinnacle of His creation and His desired primary purpose for it is to know Him. Praying for God to bless you and your family.

  • Precious girl! I picked up 1.27.14 TIME today to read it for a tutoring project at the high school where I teach. There you were on page 21. And I met today a beautiful girl full of courage and kindness and vision and tenacity and passion. Your tongue is the pen of a ready writer—weighty words from deep in your soul.

    And who am I? I’m Bev with Stage 2 metastatic breast cancer trying to hit the April 1st 5-year-mark of cancer free. But. A snag. Unexplained pain in my hip going on a month. Halted all exercise. Feeling stuck inside in 70 degree weather. Waiting on results of the scans from Monday—no calls came today so it might be good. Maybe not. Why do oncologists make us wait when they have results? But I wait for no man, no report. I live! I love what you say: “Find a bit of beauty in the world today.” You are the Beauty I found today as I don’t know which fork in the road lies ahead of me tomorrow. There is some kind of connectedness in suffering—I don’t understand it. But I’m so drawn to your words here. “Persevere.” So nice to meet you, said with a tear for you rolling down my left cheek. Bev

  • Connie taylor says:

    I re read your blog today. I cannot finds words to express how I feel. Forgive me. Aunt connie

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