Holiday time…apologies to friends and family

Since December 2009, I have not really felt that great during holiday times. Looking back, I realize that not only have I missed the winter break, but I missed many events over this year. In the past week, I have enjoyed very special moments with friends and family. During these truly special enjoyable moments, I realized that I missed birthdays, concerts, ballets, parties, baseball games, and just every day life of friends and family. I said before that cancer is a selfish disease, but either I was too foggy or too sick to know what I have missed. I am sorry that I missed knowing the who, what , where of your life. I feel terrible that I may have missed your birthday or your child’s birthday. Cancer may make people angry for different reasons and I feel terrible that I have not been there for you. You have all been there and continue to be there for me on this crazy cancer ride. I know I have not been here to listen to your worries or celebrate your joys. I have to admit that I haven’t even been all that “there” for even Alex and Jim. Alex’s usual comment has been lately, “are you with us, mom?”  Could it be the cumulative effects of chemo or just my brain full of cancer job duties? Either way, I don’t like it, and I am not sure I have much power to make it all change. Yes, looking back does not help anyone and especially a cancer patient, but neither does looking forward. This always just ends with the day facing me. So, you can possibly understand my dilemma and guilt for all I have missed. I am truly sorry that I am not who I was (the queen of knowing all). I cannot apologize for who I have become. Alex asked me if I am a warrior or a survivor? I think I am a little of both, but more of a warrior every day.  My focus is on doing all I can to be here every day. Some days it is easier than others, and the job is difficult to define. This cancer job is all consuming.

I go back to chemo this Wednesday and we will discuss the “plans”. The port has not become my friend yet and Alex even said that it is too big for my body. He will get used to it like I will. I am not sure why it itches or still aches, but I am sure it is part of the healing process which is longer since I am still on chemo. The plan will be to stay on this chemo or how long can I stay on this chemo or to add any other drugs or who knows. I did get back the latest and greatest genetic report. This discovery was that of all the genes causing cancer I do not have any…zero, zip, nothing inherited to cause my cancers. Which brings us all back to the question of what is causing this and why won’t it go away? This also may mean that the new trial that UCLA will start in January may not even work for me. There are so many unknowns and unanswered questions. We will see what the discussion will bring in hope that I can have a break of some kind or possibly go 4 weeks for each chemo instead of 3. I seem to have lost a lot of time between the last chemo and the port surgery. After this next chemo, I will have a break because Alex has a break.

My focus on our weekend turns to the memory of walking in the rain on the beach sipping hot chocolate. I cannot ignore the episode at Fashion Island and the idiot gunman. Yes, we were there and I saw the gun and the man. I was frozen in disbelief while Jim and Alex told me to run and move. My thoughts were in slow motion and questioning why there would be someone doing this at Fashion Island. Alex was frightened and shocked too. So, instead of looking back, we decided to dance around and be sillier than silly. We are on the countdown to sleeping in and enjoying family, so we are looking to tomorrows a teeny tiny bit.

Again, all I can say is sorry that I am not there like I used to be and sorry that I missed so many of life’s events. You should know that I always want to be there and be with you more than I can say. So, what I will say is that I am hoping you are not too busy in your life to enjoy the moments with your family, talk to your friends both near and far, dance around the house, sing holiday songs, sip hot chocolate, walk in the rain (or snow), and don’t let the day go by without being kind to others whether it is your postal carrier, your neighbor, the car in front of you, or the person in front of you writing a check for their groceries. I appreciate all your support as this continues to be a long journey. As I enter my drugged days, I borrow some words from a sunshine warrior and wish your days filled with “one fun thing” (I can always find one and know you can too).

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One Response to “Holiday time…apologies to friends and family”

  1. Leah E. Says:

    Hugs and love to you and your family, enjoy Alex’ break from school. Always thinking of you Joanie, you are such an inspiration.

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