Confessions of a Transplant: Googled Myself

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/does-cancer-make-you-strong/

Every now and then I google myself just for sh*ts and giggles.  I was surprised to see my name referenced in a New York Times blog for I’d forgotten that I had added to the comments of the blog.  Kind Reader, if you don’t care to read the whole thing (which I encourage you to do), I’ll share my comment here.

Before I go on, if you are 50 or older, and have not had a colonoscopy please put it on your must-do list.  If you are clear of anything untoward, you don’t have to do for ten years! If something is found, well early detection means less treatment and a long, long life.

I completed 10 months of cancer treatment,( rectal cancer) in mid June. My treatment was a triathlon of radiation/chemo, then surgery for perm. ileostomy, then infusion chemo. I have a genetic mutation that makes cysts and polyps and such grow in my body.

Like the blog, I got so sick of ‘brave’ ‘courage’ and the rest because if I didn’t follow through on the course of treatment, I’d be dying. I’m ‘strong”. Strong was finishing a BA as a single parent, working full-time. Now that I’m done, I’m a “survivor”, oh yuck. I’m living not surviving. . . I didn’t battle cancer, I was battered by treatment.

To those who want something to say to those of us who are in treatment for cancer: “Hey it’s good to see you!” or “I’m sorry you have to go through this” (is not bad) or “Can I bring by some books or magazines?” “Do you need help with the house or food?” “When can I come by for tea, I’ll bring a movie”.

Indulge in ‘black’ humor with us. My joke at first was to turn a Betty Grable pose and say, “Tell me does this tumor make my butt look big”?

Another great thing: emails, send jokes, send photos, send little things about your life. . .not to a social networking site, but to the person. There’s only so much energy a person in treatment has.

Don’t tell my you’re praying for me if you don’t know my faith. Don’t tell me I’m thinking good thoughts for you. Just do it folks. If you gotta talk about it, it sounds false.

I’m proud of: asking for help, finding a posse of friends who could give me clear boundaries. Without asking friends brought food to my house for 12 weeks straight. . . a husband who cleaned up puke and mess. A son who called every day, a daughter in law who sent loving messages.

I found out I had cancer three months after burying my 21-year-old niece to the same disease. I lost my mother to cancer in 2006. There are things, polite, lovely people, saying things that I said, before I had the disease inside me.

It changes everything. I am strong, brave, survivor all those things, but I was before the cancer.

This not so PSA was brought to you by my mission to help. Now, back to my irregular posting!

 

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