Friday, April 20, 2018

Stage 4 Colon Cancer: The Great Isolator

Hello my friends. All is fine with me, please don't worry. I am writing this to reach out to those who are dealing with late stage cancer. 

Being diagnosed with late stage cancer is devastating. But you can hardly grasp all of the devastation at once. It's like seeing a town decimated by a tornado. To take it all in. To really wrap your head around what these people have lost and now have to deal with is mind boggling. I am sure the victims of such devastation don't know where to start. 

When you are diagnosed with stage 4 cancer it's the same. Your mind is reeling. Your family and friends minds' may be doing the same, but perhaps not to the depths and extent that you, the diagnosed, are experiencing. 

There can be very dark places your mind and spirit go when dealing with stage 4 cancer. You want to share with your loved ones. But how can they respond to your thoughts that consist of your worst nightmares that are now reality? They want to understand but they cannot, and all you end up doing is upsetting them and each other. 

There are dark places of death that now always walk with you. There are feelings of a deep sickness in your gut when you think of leaving your children without a parent. Your mind wanders to thoughts of what will it be like if/when you're not around. It sends shivers up your spine and terrifies you. 

To hold all that unto yourself can be part of the burden of cancer. It can be even more unbearable than the physical pain and suffering. That is the isolation. It can make your spirit feel like stone and hold it hostage.

It is a profound thing then, to be able to know someone and speak to someone who knows what you are going through. I have thought so much about this. What is it that comforts us when we find someone who has, or is walking in our exact shoes, on our same path? Why do we feel comforted? Why is there that immediate comfort we feel with them, when so little needs to be explained?

I think it's because now there is a link. To someone, to something. We feel less alone. Perhaps we feel that now our burden is shared.
When that burden is shared with someone already deeply familiar perhaps it makes it easier to get through the next minute. To take a few more steps on a path that is terrifying, ambiguous. A path that no one knows how or when it will end. No answers. That is part if stage 4 cancer. To share that with someone who knows, connects us to other human beings and takes away the isolation. Maybe delivers our spirit from those bindings and helps us handle our illness a little better. And love those around us more purely.

Please know you are not alone. I have been where you are and only want to be able for you to know I am here for you in anyway I can be. 

Don't beat yourself up from being down, or negative or discouraged. You're human. It won't all of sudden make your tumors grow. Sometimes we just need to put our head in our hands and cry and hurt. But don't give up. Never give up. 

For me personally until my oncologist said to me, "Karen there is nothing more to do. We need to call hospice." Then I wasn't giving up. I felt discouraged at times, negative, and yes, I complained. But then I picked myself up and kept going. Never give up.

My Warmest Regards,

Monday, January 22, 2018

6 Years Of Remission

Hello all my family and friends. It has been a year since I have posted and I apologize. I'm doing it now though! 

I have had 2 scans since I last posted. The most recent one being this past month. Both, as with the last 15 or so have been clean. I am talking squeaky clean people! 

I don't know why I didn't post last time, or the time before. I think my heart wasn't in it. I have been so lucky to be healthy for so long without a recurrence while at same time I was experiencing people my age and younger dying from the same disease. I just felt too conflicted posting my good news I think.

I want to switch gears a bit and speak to a very special group of people. I want to speak to those out there reading this who are going through cancer whether it be late stage or not. Maybe you have just been diagnosed, or been battling for awhile.
I am here for you. Please feel free to contact me. Even if you just need to vent. Maybe you need to say those things that are so hard to express, or have your loved ones understand. 

Though you are loved and have well meaning people around you, late stage cancer can be very isolating. The fear and debilitating effects of chemo can bring you to your knees. The knowledge that after all you are putting yourself through with chemo and other treatments, may in fact not net a curative result. It makes you want to give up. You want to stop. Say just forget it. But people will be afraid if you tell them that. Tell you to stay positive. Which is a normal reaction. But your mind is screaming, "I can't do this anymore!" That's what it feels like after awhile. What do you do with those thoughts and feelings that are as real as the air you breathe?

How do you handle when you lose someone you have bonded with, with the same cancer? You think that could be me. That fear feels like ice water in your veins that can stop your heart. Followed by the guilt of thinking that, followed by the guilt of still being alive. 

When you see your family suffering and scared and hurting. Adults knowing they could lose you. Your kids seeing you sick. Knowing you can't say, "don't worry honey, I'll get better and it won't come back." That is one of the worst, most sickening feelings I have ever experienced. 

You are not alone. I know what your going through. Please don't hesitate to contact me. You shouldn't carry this alone. 
My thoughts and prayers are with you.