a day (resembling) rest, and life goes on, heartaches and all

Today has been a thankfully appointment free day – other than my psychologist tonight, which is never a big deal. i have been doing mental health therapy for so long that i’ve come to find it soothing, rather than anxiety provoking.

i even have had a nice day. it’s rainy and grey.  i have spoken to friends, and saw a beautiful person for lunch, and have two more beautiful visitors this afternoon. i can slowly recap after a long, hard week – knowing this week will be a lot more quiet – only an MRI, and day surgery – and the week after, even gentler, and filled with my long awaited visit to melbourne.

i get to see Dom, i get to see Lachlan, i get to see Eliza. there are a lot of other people i would love to see while i’m there, and i hope i can – dear friends i have known for years – people i know have my arms, figuratively, around me.  but i need to see these three people, with a desperation it’s hard to explain. once i have seen them, chemo will be a next step, a movement forward, because i have done something i need to do. i can  be excited about the birth of a new tiny person to two of the most incredible people i’ve ever met. i can share time with a woman who saved my life in a dark, dark time, and hear about her life, all the bits that are consumed from mine with cancer. i can see normal things. i can see living. i can see people and they’re young and alive. (smiths reference. i have tried to keep the number of them down). i can see them with my own eyes, and i can just be with them. and it is strange how much i want that, crave it. and how i know i will feel instantly better as soon as i see their faces.

there is, of course, also still sadness and heartache. another friend, one of those close to my heart, is very ill, and going to hospital for an illness that should be viewed as seriously as the cancer i am facing.  as i question the use of brave and strong, i think of them with her. but that is not the key with her – the key is that she DOES it. she faces the darkness and the terror of illness, and she just does what she needs to be done, as hard as that is. she keeps going. not fighting, no battle, no attack. just… going. moving.  even when it’s sluggish, and hard to breathe and hard to move, and when her illness takes her body to darker places.  i am very far away from her, and sadly, getting to her state is just no option for me in the time between chemo starting and now. and this breaks my heart a bit. i want to hold her hand and drink tea with her and knit by her side. but we need to trust doctors, again, we need to trust the bodies will to heal, and to keep going, to keep doing.  i wish there was something i could keep doing. i am thinking of a small meaningful thing and everything feels meaningless. and yet i know how much those small things mean to me. they make me cry and they make me feel safe.

both the cats are sleeping with one paw over their faces.  they are curled up next to me, with a stuffed toy liver next to me.  my little toy liver to me celebrates that, despite the huge number of tumours, and the risk to my life from the cancer, it’s still working! it’s a little hero.  i love my body, now, in a complicated way. and i don’t mean ‘i love how i look’ – i mean i love my stomach. i love my brain, and my tongue, and my small intestine and my joints in my ribcage that spasm in pain.  for all the pain and terror, this is my body, and it is doing its best against the deal it’s been handed.  that’s pretty amazing right?

i am dealing with the second opinion process still. i know it’s actually a vital part of a serious medical problem – especially in the case of advanced cancer in someone who is 30 – ages changes a lot of things – but for some reason it makes me nervous, and scared of hurting people’s feelings.  other people are one of the hardest things – i bawled for an hour or so last night because my cancer is hurting other people.  it impacts like a ripple in water out further and further. this is how i stopped myself from taking my own life -the image of the rippled waves of suffering my decision would bring.  and this is no different than if i had taken my life – no more or less a ‘choice’ but something that happens – and it breaks my heart to see people i love going through this with me. and i know it’s an essential, and beautiful part of being human – the love we provide those we love, when they need it most – the pain and sadness we feel as we watch them feel pain and sadness. but being the point at which it starts? being the cancer spreading in peoples’ lives that otherwise were continuing on with their plans and their thoughts and their ideas of each other? it’s shocking and makes me want to cry and apologise.  i apologise a lot. about everything.  i feel bad about this, as much for everyone around me as for myself. perhaps more so. if it was someone i loved facing this, i would beg that it would be taken from them, and given to me.  save them. save them.  it is me though now.  and that’s really fucking weird and hard.

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About elizabeth

various things.
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12 Responses to a day (resembling) rest, and life goes on, heartaches and all

  1. Elizabeth, this is only for you. You do not need to ‘moderate’ this and let it go onto the comments section.

    Please remember this. Yes, you are 30 and yes you have cancer. Cancer that is termed ‘terminal’. Yes you shall die, one day. But today, or tomorrow or the day you pick, shall not be that day. You have people that love you. Total strangers halfway across the world, like me, who are there for you to share your pain even if we are nothing to each other otherwise. Yes, what is happening to you hurts them. Is there anything you can do about any of these things? No.

    The fact that you cannot do a thing to change this, does not mean you are helpless. What it does mean is that there is nothing you can do about it and that is alright. Please do not apologize. You must learn to look at things differently. Fuck that cancer, fuck the pain, both physical and mental and emotional. Love yourself some more, and live in the love that others give you. Revel in the love that is there around you, for you. People don’t love you anymore because you are dying. They would have given you that love even if things were different. Then why do you apologize for that love?

    I might appear as a rambling idiot right now but bear with me. Hopefully, I am able to get something across. Enjoy every moment of your life as it is. There shall be terrifying times, at hospitals, with doctors, at night when you asleep, or even as you go about with your daily life. The one thing you can do at such times, is to remember the love and deal with all those things, one thing at a time. Life is a bitch and deals shit a lot. We do the best we can and say fuck you too to it. Live Elizabeth.

    I did not know you at all until I learnt on Rav about you. I came here to tell you that there are people everywhere sending you some love, a few hugs and lots of courage. I will walk this way with you as long as you do. If you want to, you can write to me at redsilkroute@gmail.com and I shall always be there for whatever you need of me.

    Again, this needn’t go on the blog. This is for you, and am writing this here because there is nowhere else. We love you Elizabeth, now and always.

  2. Okie, clearly, I fucked up. They were moderated earlier, and I thought this would be too. Please delete this from the blog after you see it.

  3. greenspace01 says:

    I am absolutely sure that everyone who knows and loves you would rather be feeling sad for you going through cancer than not know you at all. tis better to have loved and sobbed than never loved Elizabeth at all.

  4. Cordelia says:

    Think of people who are hurting as those that are taking a tiny part of the hurt from you and helping to carry you along through this journey of your life.

    /bunnies

    /hugs

  5. Ariel says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I’m thinking my best cancer-butt-kicking thoughts. I am rooting for you! Hopefully the chemo will shrink the tumors enough so they can operate.

  6. Cordelia says:

    Ravelry knittyboard has a chat room……

    /kittens

  7. Prue Holmes says:

    Dear Liz,
    I am so, so sorry my dear, to hear your terrible news. You are right to resist alternative therapies, traditional medicine is the only way to go. But my two friends who have had cancer for 3 years both drink a freshly made veggie concoction to boost their immune systems. Margie, the mother of Nikky’s friend Nicola, was given the same dreadful shock you were. She had a tumour in her brain, and a number on her liver, and the primary was in her bowel. They started with surgery and radiation on the brain; great recovery; them lots of chemo to shrink the liver tumours; made her very sick, but it worked. She had keyhole surgery to remove the bowel tumour, then two operations to remove the tumours on the liver. More chemo. She, like you, has lost an artery to the liver and has a remaining tumour which is very close to her remaining artery and so they can’t surgically remove it. Margie has had 2 chemotherapy immobilisation injections directly into the tumour, about 6 months apart. Her liver surgeon is a lovely man and says they can manage her condition. So she and Vince are off to America in a few months! Margie told me she wrote “Be positive” on her mirror in lipstick!
    I will give Margie your blog address….her experiences are very close to yours. My other friend has lung cancer which had also spread to her brain. She’s had radiation and chemo and the surgical removal of one tumour via keyhole. Amazing !
    I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow as you have the portacath inserted. Margie still has hers in.
    Nikky is on skype now so must go and chat,
    Lots of love, Prue

    • veritas says:

      Prue: i cannot, cannot articulate how much stories like this help me. it is so easy to feel hopeless, and lost, and like i am beyond fixing. but when i see that other people have been here – with similar cancer, in similar situations and they Got Through. seriously – this gives me the hope my doctors try and give me, but sometimes fail to. and sorting out a brain tumour? that’s fantastic, and great business -and the idea that the Big Tumour might be manageable – that ALL of it might be. so good. so so good.

      everyone has spoken so highly of the portacath – i’m looking forward to it, in a weird way.

  8. Prue Holmes says:

    Hi Lizzie,
    I took my friend Sue to lunch yesterday (Stage 4 lung, thrachea, & brain C) and we spent some time talking about you. She said to say she’s thinking of you too. Her advice is to always have someone with you at your appointments, as they remember things that you may not, and are there to bat for you. And believe me that has been very necessary in both Sue and Margie’s cases. Doctors make mistakes. Sue’s GP made a big one in treating her for asthma for a year before sending her for a chest xray, but there have been more mistakes since. Look for empathy and good communication skills in your doctors…they make a difference. I hope you are able to get a support group of friends around you who can accompany you so you don’t feel so alone. (I’m assuming A. has to work.)
    And don’t worry about getting a second opinion; if you don’t like the advice try someone else; it’s your precious life. You have a right to demand the best for yourself.
    The liver is an amazing organ; Margie (Brain, bowel and liver C) had a whole slice taken off one side in her first operation 4 years ago, and it has regenerated. She still enjoys a glass of wine with her friends.
    Sue’s daughter insisted she take some Chinese herbal medicine while she was on chemo. and imports some pills from Alaska which she believes help her mother’s body fight the cancer. She also takes a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in water each morning, and lemon juice! I’m just passing this on….some believe it is helpful. But neither Marg nor Sue would give up their conventional treatments for a crackpot cure.
    I do hope the portacath procedure went well…it can be very painful. If you would like me to ring you and talk with you Liz I would happily do it…. but I don’t want to be intrusive.
    There definitely is hope for more years of living ahead….focus on that, though I have no doubt when you’re feeling shitty from chemo it will be hard sometimes. Look for distractions. I hope you are still able to enjoy reading, or have you lost your concentration temporarily? Shock does that.
    And you’ve had a huge shock.
    I always remember you sitting beside my mother on the hotel verandah, in your Docs and fancy stockings, at Nikky’s 21st. Mum thought you were delightful and so interesting.
    Wishing you heaps of courage dear Liz,
    Lots of love Prue xxxx

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