A particular kind of hope

September 23rd, 2013 § 20 comments

IMG_2042It takes a leap of faith every day.

Not one of religion– no that’s not in my play book.
But there is a leap that comes when you think to yourself each night,
“The world will be here tomorrow, and I in it.”
Statistically it is likely to be so.

But what about the day after, and the day after that?

How many days do you think ahead?
Have you bought plane tickets for next year?
Planted bulbs for Spring?
Bought an extended warranty on the washing machine?

Three years ago, without even a thought, I took a three year car lease.
Nine months later I received my diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer.
Fifteen months from now that lease will come due.

Will I take another?
I have a car in mind I would love to have…
But can I think of my life in fifteen months,
What it will be,
What will I be?

No, I cannot.

I talk of taking trips in Spring. I have a friend down South I want to visit.

I do believe I will be alive.
But what will my quality of life be?
What chemo or radiation or surgeries will I need by then?
What regimen will I be on and how will I feel from it?

Just being alive is not always enough.

I don’t buy those tickets,
But I do still think the thoughts.
I don’t make promises because I don’t want to cancel.
I say, “Let’s play it by ear,”
“Let’s see how it goes,”
Because to plan, to get hopes up,
To think it could come true…
And then to have them dashed
Would be too hard for me.
I know not everyone shares this view.

The thing with incurable cancer is I don’t have a particular kind of hope anymore:
I can’t have the confidence the suffering will end because it is temporary.
It is not temporary.

I do keep pressing forward though, in my own way:
With strength, with dignity, and yes, still with great hope for more time.

Many days that is one of the hardest things about it all:
I can’t just mark the time and get through
Knowing the hardest parts will soon be over.
Because I know the hardest parts are yet to come.

Two Cents

September 19th, 2011 § 6 comments

Don’t tell me things happen for a reason.
Don’t tell me there is a plan.
Don’t tell me I’m supposed to learn a lesson from this.
Don’t tell me I’m a better person for it.

Tell me I’m strong.
Tell me I’m tough.
Tell me I did it well.
Tell me you care.

I don’t believe I was given cancer for a reason.
I don’t believe there is a master plan.
I don’t believe this is a test.
I don’t believe you only are given what you can handle.

I know I will learn lessons.
I know I will be stronger.
I know sometimes it is too much to handle.
I know sometimes I want to give up.
I know sometimes I thought dying would be easier.

I believe the power is in me.
I believe the power is in my doctors.
I believe in the power of medical science.

I believe unless you have experienced this, you cannot know.
I believe unless you’ve been there, you cannot give advice.
I believe unless you’ve felt it, you cannot judge.

I believe in the power of friendship and love to make the journey bearable.
I believe suffering is a process.
I believe in picking myself up and pressing forward.
Again.
And again.
And again.

I believe persistence pays off.
I believe in enjoying the gifts I’ve been given.
I believe many people will never understand.

It might sadden me, anger me, and frustrate me.
But in the end that does not matter.
I can only be true to myself.
I must be true to myself.

I think so too

April 27th, 2009 § 2 comments

That chair you’re sitting in?

I’ve sat in it too.

In waiting rooms. Chemo rooms. Prep rooms. For tests. Surgeries. Procedures. Inpatient. Outpatient. Emergency visits. Routine visits. Urgent visits. To see generalists. Specialists. Surgeons. Alone. With friends. With family members. As a new patient. Established patient. Good news. Bad news. I’ve left with new scars. Prescriptions. Appointments. Words of wisdom. Theories. Guesses. Opinions. Statistics. Charts. Plans. Tests. Words of assurance. More bloodwork. Nothing new. Nothing gained. Nothing but a bill.

That feeling you’re having?

I’ve had it too.

Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Grief. Anger. Frustration. Numbness. Sadness. Resignation. Confusion. Consternation. Curiosity. Determination. Dread. Anxiety. Guilt. Regret. Loss. Pain. Emptiness. Embarrassment. Shame. Loneliness.

That day you’re dreading?

I’ve dreaded it too.

The first time you speak the words, “I have cancer.” The first time you hear “Mommy has cancer.” The day you wear a pink shirt instead of a white shirt. Anniversary day. Chemo day. Surgery day. Scan day. Decision day. Baldness day. The day the options run out.

Those reactions you’re getting?

I’ve had them too.

Stares. Questions. Pity. Blank looks. Insensitivity. Jaw-dropping comments.

Those side effects you dread?

I’ve dreaded them too.

Nausea. Vomiting. Pain. Broken bones. Weakened heart. Baldness. Hair loss. Everywhere. Unrelenting runny nose. Fatigue. Depression. Hot flashes. Insomnia. Night sweats. Migraines. Loss of appetite. Loss of libido. Loss of breasts. Phantom pain. Infection. Fluid accumulation. Bone pain. Neuropathy. Numbness. Joint pain. Taste changes. Weight gain. Weight loss. Some of them happen. Some don’t. Eventually, though? You name it. It changes. Temporarily anyway.

That embarrassment you’re feeling?

I’ve felt it too.

Buying a swimsuit. Getting a tight-fitting shirt stuck on my body in the dressing room. Having a child say “You don’t have any eyebrows, do you?” Wearing a scarf. Day after day. Wondering about wearing a wig because it’s windy outside and it might not stay on.

That fear you’re suppressing?

I’ve squelched it too.

Will this kill me? How bad is chemo going to be? How am I going to manage 3 kids and  get through it? Will my cancer come back and take me away from my life? Will it make the quality of life I have left so bad I won’t want to be here anymore? Is this pain in my back a recurrence? Do I need to call a doctor? If it comes back would I do any more chemo or is this as much fight as I’ve got in me? What is worse: the disease or the treatment?

That day you’re yearning for?

I’ve celebrated it too.

“Your counts are good” day. “Your x-ray is clear” day. “Now you can go longer between appointments” day. “See you in a year”day. First-sign-of-hair day. First-day-without-covering-your-head day. First taste of food day. First Monday chemo-isn’t-in-the-calendar day. Expanders-out, implants-in day. First walk-without-being-tired day. First game-of-catch-with-the-kids day. First day out for lunch with friends day. First haircut day. “Hey, I went a whole day without thinking about cancer” day. “Someone asked me how I’m doing, I said ‘fine’ and I meant it” day.

That hope you have?

I have it too:

A cure.

Don’t you think that would be amazing?

I think so too.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with hope at Lisa Bonchek Adams.