Monday, July 19, 2010

Never Give Up

Today I got some bad news about someone I know who is battling cancer - the cancer has spread and the next step is to get treatment in the States. We (cancer patients) can't give up because that next treatment might just be the ticket to erasing cancer from our bodies.

Oh there have been times when I wanted to give up: like when I had to make a bed in my aunt's bathroom because I was exhausted from walking the short distance from the bed to the can all night long, or when my first round of chemo landed me in the hospital and Carman had to daily bring me a supply of clean underwear, or when it was a sunny day and we were out camping and I found I couldn't even enjoy myself because I felt so crappy, or when the doctor tells you the cancer has spread and you have to try something else.

When you are Stage 4 you are competing in back-to-back Iron Man competitions, but you don't have the slick body or brains to compete with. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you feel like you have rubber boots on and you are stuck in the middle of a mucky field in the middle of the night and other times you feel completely well and you jump on your Vespa and go buy yourself a chocolate bar.

If you read my blog you know how much I love to read. Katherine Russel-Rich wrote a book about her battle with Stage 4 breast cancer. She got diagnosed in her early 30s and she is in her 50s today! I found this video clip of her - the first couple of minutes is about her struggle with cancer. It just goes to prove to me, and I hope to you, that just because I have cancer does not mean that you should be shopping for an outfit for my funeral - it just might grow out of fashion.


So my mom was telling me the other day that someone was asking her about my 'feelings'. I don't talk about my feelings much with just any body. And who I do get 'deep' with might surprise some. Sure the person I talk to the most is Carman, but I have a very select few who know some of my deepest feelings. It is very private for me to disclose my deepest thoughts - I think it is no different than just asking someone how much money they make or how much sex they are having.

You don't start chatting it up a the mall and say: "So how much money did you make this month?" It is on this same level to ask a cancer patient: "How are you feeling emotionally?"

I have found conversations have developed just naturally. For instance, my brother and sister-in law and I had a really great and deep conversation about Heaven not too long ago. Mel (my sister-in-law) saw that I had bought the book Heaven by Andy Alcorn and the conversation just developed. Or, I was talking to a women who is also battling stage 4 breast cancer which gave me a chance to talk to someone who could really relate to some of the same issues I deal with.

I also find that I have a much easier time talking about my feelings in intimate settings with my fellow believers in Christ. You see, us Christians have been given many, many promises by our Heavenly Father and sometimes we need our fellow believers to remind us of those. I think if you are a non-believer you would sometimes think I am crazy or weird for my feelings, and truthfully I am just not strong enough right now to try and explain myself to those who don't know Christ. I still think it is rather funny that I used to think 'church people' were dull, judgemental, perfect... that couldn't be further from the truth.

So if you ask me how I am feeling I will probably just answer "really good, or a bit tired, or I am looking forward to having hair" all which are completely true. But want to see inside my heart, that's pretty personal.

The other day my neighbour came over to tell me she saw a skunk and her two babies on our front yard and she complimented me saying she thought I looked like the 'poster girl for cancer'. Now that is the way to talk to a cancer patient! She didn't ask me about my feelings!