Thread: The Cancer Thread
September 14th, 2011, 8:04 pm #1006
Throwing my hat into the cancer thread.
My wife was diagnosed last week with a rare, but treatable form of breast cancer. Considering options for her care and recoveryWe will be friends until we are old and senile.
Then we will be new friends.
Support Breast Cancer Research.
October 17th, 2011, 12:29 am #1007Educated Voter
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February 4th, 2012, 12:16 am #1008
An Essay: Temper Tantrums, Cancer Meds and the Code of Silence
I’ve been thinking about this all day. I’m just going to write it and see what spills out. It’s kind of long so I’ve broken it into several parts.
About ten years ago a family friend, “R”, a successful engineer, who had been divorced for 20-plus years and was tired of coming home to a great big empty house every night, called my wife and said he was so lonely he was thinking of “ordering” a mail order bride off the internet.
My wife, a wonderful woman, told him not to be so crazy, and that if he is that desperate, she could find him someone who, might not be a perfect soul mate, but would be a decent, honorable, trustworthy person.
To coin a phrase “she might be an ex-ho, but she isn’t a ho no more, and she won’t be ho’ing you. She’ll be an honest woman who has settled down and just wants somebody to care for her.”
A couple months later, my wife introduced R to “P.” P really did have a dark past, but she really did seem like someone who left that life, who never wanted to do that in the first place etc.. An honest person who had spent part of her life in a very bad situation. When R finally met her, he proposed within 48 hours, they were married within a month . . . . and within 2 years she developed cervical cancer. Two years later she was declared “cancer free” . . . . within two years of that it was declared that her cancer had spread.
She battled it for 6 more years and then she died.
Whatever P’s past, she was not a bad person. She was a person who was once presented with a bad situation and survived as best she could. Whatever her husband R’s situation, he was not and is not a man of bad character. Out of his loneliness, he took this woman in, but he loved her and worshipped her, and she quite literally died in his arms.
R, quite literally, did not let go, and P died knowing she was truly loved.
There is (much) more to this story but the rest of it requires a segue or two so I’m going to pause here.
I’m still thinking about Rhet and, though I may have stopped mentioning Gregor, (a teacher from a neighboring school district to where I live), she enteres my thoughts every couple of weeks too.
Anyway, more about the rage and temper tantrum thing later.
Last edited by Long Island Bob; February 4th, 2012 at 12:26 am.
February 4th, 2012, 12:45 am #1009
So R loved and treasured his wife deeply.
So why am I posting the story?
Well in fact as her end diagnosis became clear, R started paying for in-home "hospice care" for his beloved wife. The hopsice care worker instucted P that part of here dealing process involved writing out a text that should be read at her funeral.
It was a deep, and moving and beautiful text . . . but oddly it ended with P using several paragraphs to complain about the fact that her cat had recently bitten her.
I couldn't quite grasp the rage. I wasn't sure if it was part of her earlier life pouring out, or if she was angry about dying and simply chose to express that as anger about her cat, or what the deal was, but it was clear that she had a temper, and that, as much as i spoke to R at the time, he enver mentioned it and always maintained a strict code of silence.
That was a very respectful thing to do.
Last edited by Long Island Bob; February 4th, 2012 at 8:24 am.
February 4th, 2012, 8:23 am #1010
So the point here is that as R died of cancer she developed anger issues. R never talked about it. It is rude to talk about the bad things your wife does, and rude to ‘badmouth” a sick or dying person.
R. maintained the code of silence, but some tiny hint of P’s anger issues came out because of the text she wrote.
A couple of years my friend F invited me to address her prayer group. All of its participants are women from Taiwan. Most of them have teenage kids, and they wanted to hear from a “trusted native” about the best ways to raise a teenager in suburban America.
I gave them such advice as I could. Most of the participants seemed to agree that my advice made sense and at least was worth a try. F., whose own son is one of the best, most moral most well-adjusted, most-studious teenagers I have ever met, responded simply that “that advice makes a lot of sense, but I’m not going to do it because hate my son.”
Later I would learn that F. has breast cancer.
The reason I am friends with F. is because she and I serve together on the board of several area nonprofits. But in recent months, while serving on those boards, F has become quite quarrelsome, so much so that two-thirds of one board have quit and so has one-third of another.
Being among “the quitters” myself I am quite certain “the talk” is that is that F.’s case is terminal, and the reason she is being so quarrelsome is because she is somehow “trying to set here affairs in order.”
At any rate, it’s not right to fight with, or disparage a dying woman, so it is better to simply shut up and walk away. Certainly, that’s what I did.
February 4th, 2012, 11:18 am #1011
While I feel for F with all my heart, I've also got a heart for those around her.
Cancer doesn't just hit the patient: it hits the families and the friends too -- just as hard, just as grevious, just as heavy a battle as what the patient fights.
Thing is: our battle with cancer continues a long long time AFTER the patient finds peace.
The day before my Bear entered Christ's Peace, one of his nurses asked him how he was doing. "I'm having the time of my life." And he LAUGHTED. Too weak to even get out of bed. And he laughed.
Now I've got to find out how to have the "time of my life" too -- without him to share it with me.
Cancer -- or any other disease or challenge or difficulty -- there's no excuse to "share the pain" -- others have the same pain to endure, as it is -- SHARE THE STRENGTH instead so that everyone afflicted can endure together with the most hugs and smiles we can get to hold on to for the rest of our own lives.
I know he would tell me to not take it so hard. That I should "give thanks in all things" -- and I AM very grateful that he no longer hurts -- but DAMN the cancer that stole him from me -- it STILL ravages my heart -- and I miss him so terribly, my own days grown dim with endless yearning for the sound of his voice, a yearning that will never be filled again this side of my own last breath.
The patient is NOT the only person whose life is torn to shreds by this damned disease.
And the guts to "keep on keeping on" despite the crap doesn't come easy, either. But I cannot dump the full impact of the cancer on my daughters and my own friends -- so I bury most of the pain and keep on fighting through, knowing that my own work on this earth is not yet finished.
Because others need what little I can give them -- just like Bear fought and fought and fought -- because he knew how much we needed him and was not willing to dump the load he carried onto our shoulders one second before he had no other choice. And I cannot dump mine on them, either.
I'm praying for F, for her son especially, and for you and all who know her: chin up, shoulders back, FORWARD MARCH! for there are battles yet to fight, victories small and large yet to win.
And the FIRST battle is with myself -- my own self pity and fear and loneliness -- and yearning for what cannot ever be again.
There IS a New Age dawning -- dawning with every single day that the sun rises. And it's up to me to figure out what my own New Age will look like when the sun sets again this night.
That's what cancer taught me: to hell with yesterday and to hell with tomorrow. TODAY, this moment, this instant in time is ALL I'VE GOT -- and I've got to make the most out of it that I possibly can, because there are OTHERS hurting just as much as I am, and if one second of my life can ease their own pain, then I've won a tiny bit of sunshine of my own.
God give me the wisdom and the courage and the strength to live in sunlight for one more second, PLEASE! Just so I can shed a bit of light into somebody else's darkness."The road to hell is paved with good intentions" -- and, Obama, your good intentions ARE hell for everybody except your chosen special few.
February 4th, 2012, 8:51 pm #1012
But the reason I posted the above, (and i'll truncate things now), is that in my recent life I have witnessed two cases where cancer patients had rage or temper issues.
A few days ago I revealed that my wife has temper issues related to her extremely painful (prmanent) injuries vertebral column. Back-pain related temper issues wouldn't surprise anyone, but then Curtis (God Bless him and his family) chimed in that his wife is a cancer patient and she has temper issues related to her medications, and that he is in my boat.
I can barely express how much his post meant to me. I felt like God himself had reached down and hugged me . . . . and said "It's okay Bob. You have many faults, but you are not alone and you are not imagining these things. I am with you and I will walk with you through this."
(Curtis is God??? No that's not exactly what I meant.)
Over the days since he posted that, I came to think of these other stories, and realized that 3 of the 4 people I have encountered who have temper-related medical issues are cancer patients.
If anyone out there has a loved one with cancer (or other illness) and sometimes has a hard time dealing with his/her loved one's temper, you must now know "You are not alone."
Last edited by Long Island Bob; February 4th, 2012 at 8:54 pm.
February 4th, 2012, 9:52 pm #1013
Pain, fear, the misery of treatments -- all can and DO give us cause for JUST ANGER -- cancer and other malfunctions, including your wife's spinal injuries ARE NOT FAIR -- and such things should NOT EVER happen.
Thing is, Bear's hurting WAS MY HURTING TOO -- just as your wife's pain is yours -- and ditto Curtis who also suffers from cancer -- cancer not in his own body -- cancer in his soul-mate's body -- and sometimes watching someone you cherish hurt so badly hurts just as badly, if not more, than if we had the pain in our own flesh.
And, yeah, I'd love to smash something, lash out in anger -- because it is NOT RIGHT for the Bear to have endured so much and now leave me alone to carry on without him. But he did NOT pass on his pain to me, did everything possible to help me endure his suffering -- and no way I can pass on my own grief to someone else, especially my daughters and my grandchildren, to make their own suffering that much larger than it already is.
Anger is a natural and normal part of the grieving process -- and having any sort of serious medical problem involves a lot of grief, pain, hardship, fear, and just plain humiliation from what the docs have to do, from what the patient cannot do for themselves no matter how hard they want to.
But anger also increases the hurt for those forced to watch the wrongness, doing whatever they can to help the victim, carrying their own grief in the process -- and their own anger at the wrongness of it all.
So, me, I turn my own anger over to the LORD and let Him get rid of it for me. It's tough enough without dumping it on others. Hurt? you bet Just cause for anger? Oh, yeah Just don't dump it on those who are hurting right along with you -- 'cause they've already got their own just cause for anger in watching you hurt so wrongfully."The road to hell is paved with good intentions" -- and, Obama, your good intentions ARE hell for everybody except your chosen special few.
February 4th, 2012, 10:23 pm #1014
I also realize that my own posts on this topic were so long and tangled that they failed to properly "elucidate" what I am talking about.
What I am saying is:
- When people (like my wife) have a perpetually broken back then they are likely to be crabby every time the weather changes. In fact they are often crabby when the weather does not change.
- The broken back victims should know that their "lashing out" is not being immoral, it is not a moral falw. the "lashing out victims" should know that they are not alone.
- Apparently, and I am just now coming to place 2 and 2 together, certain cancer meds, for certain types of cancers sometimes lead to cancer patients "lashing out" in a similar manner.
- Those cancer patients who consume those meds and as a result sometimes "lash out" at their loved ones should know that their "lashing out" is not a moral flaw, it is a result of their meds or of something else.
- Their loved ones should know they are not alone, and that Curtis and I are here, and will support them as best we can.
- Neither Curtis nor I are perfect. Curtis is stronger than I. Neither he nor I will ever let go.
February 4th, 2012, 11:19 pm #1015
and knowing that I am NOT alone is, indeed, the only thing that keeps me going these days, helps keep my own anger and despair from cutting loose
what I'm trying to say is, it's not just the meds motivating the anger: there is a lot of frustration and JUST ANGER at the wrongness of the hurting itself -- and it's not just the patient who experiences that wrongness and that anger at the wrongness"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" -- and, Obama, your good intentions ARE hell for everybody except your chosen special few.
February 5th, 2012, 10:44 am #1016
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
February 9th, 2012, 10:28 am #1017
April 7th, 2012, 11:34 pm #1018
I'm hoping Bird is doing well.
I suspect she is in a challenging time.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I'll light a candle for her.
And a second one for Bear.
Last edited by Long Island Bob; April 8th, 2012 at 12:03 am.
April 15th, 2012, 9:45 am #1019Educated Voter
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Rhett: I am so sorry about your loss. I stop in now and then to see how everyone is doing. My thoughts are with you. Much love.Imagine if instead we all got together and planted a garden.
April 15th, 2012, 11:18 am #1020