Why “Face It”?
I have head and neck cancer.
My face has been through its share of surgeries and treatments, to say the least.
One thing about me is, especially when faced with what may seem like insurmountable odds, I tend to use humor for all sorts of reasons. The logic behind this is because it helps me to deflect pain, both physical and emotional.
A play on words seems appropriate in this case.
My recurring theme will be Gratitude.
Why, you ask?
As my dear friend Kathy would ask, “why not?” Thanks, my friend xo.
Flatten the Curve….
I am beginning this journey with all of you in the midst of the Corona Virus quarantine, or as we are now instructed to call it, social distancing.
There are days where my mind says, “move on with life. Get out and about. It’ll all be okay.”
But I digress and I am swiftly catapulted back to reality. I am a type-one diabetic with a head and neck cancer. I must stay vigilant in taking good care of my immune system. Nor do I want to spread something that could potentially harm anyone else.
The Benign Years….
Now, have I been through the wringer?
In a word, YES.
My reflections on the experiences that I’ve had with the big “C”, both good and bad, will go back to the years before the actual diagnosis. We’ll go back to when the word “biopsy” first appeared on the radar.
Since then, life as I knew it took quite a dramatic turn.
When I dig deeply into how I truly felt during this time, I am, at times, left with bitterness and somewhat of a loneliness.
There have been days that I didn’t have the energy to carry on. God, take me, kind of days. I do, however, realize that I am never given more than I can handle. It’s been proven to me time and again.
Some days are easier than others. Am I living on borrowed time? Maybe, but I am just not ready to go.
Having said that, I will explain how I came to realize that all any of us has is “one day”.
I began to live my life in future time. So much so, that I had nothing left to give to the day that lay ahead of me.
Anxiety with a side of dread was becoming my new best friend. I was dragging a ball and chain around with me and it was beginning to wear me out. “Too heavy”.
The Clubhouse is Calling….
My better half, Scott, did for me what I wasn’t doing for myself. He called an organization that he’d heard about called Our Clubhouse (formerly Gilda’s Club*). It was founded in honor of Saturday Night Live comedienne, Gilda Radner, who died of Ovarian Cancer in 1989.
In 2014, Our Clubhouse became an independent non-profit in order to remain focused on their mission to offer social, emotional, and wellness services to those in my region touched by any types of cancer.
I have done counseling with wonderful people that have worked for this amazing place. I am currently doing virtual appointments, through the social distancing, with a beautiful woman named Christine.
I’ve gone to game nights, dinners, art classes, and a remembrance for those who have lost their battles with this disease.
I was honored, in the summer of 2018, to be the guest speaker for The Clubhouse at a golf outing and fund raising dinner. I told my cancer story. Scott and my cousin Rachel were there to help support me. What an evening. To give my time and energy to the cause was a no brainer.
My Friends Will Pull Me Through….
Getting myself into the right frame of mind was one thing.
My friends were another story.
I know that I can’t make my cronies behave the way I want them to behave. I am not in control. My gang was well-intentioned, and they would say things like “I don’t want to talk about what I’m dealing with because of what you’ve undergone in these last few years.”
What I want to say is, “Please keep talking about you. Take me away from my troubles for just a little while. What’s going on with you is important to you, therefore it’s important to me.”
My Way or The Highway….
Every day I am a work in progress, as you will see.
Throughout this roller coaster, you’ll begin to see that there is really no right or wrong way to handle a cancer diagnosis and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
This is my story.
The physicians assistant that works for my oncologist once told me that I am my own worst enemy. I barked back, “and you’ve had cancer?” “Well, no,” she stammered.
We all have to get to where we need to be, in our own ways
However you choose to do that – just remember that help can be as simple as a phone call away. If your calls are met with deaf ears, “call someone else”.
PS – I have a relative that sends me a text message on my birthday. Not much more than that. At the end of it, she writes, “hope you’re doing well.” At the end of the blah, blah, blah, diatribe, I get a “take care.” I will not use these words, as it is disingenuous to me.
With Love, K xo