Skip to main content

change




Ocho's out surfing.

I'm on his soft couch, my smelly dog by my side, looking at the fog.

This is beginning to sound like a haiku.

So, its July 4th, and I have the day off work. But instead of feeling a sense of freedom, I'm feeling a sense of ennui creep in. Like the heavy fog. Falling on wet leaves. Sitting there. Blankly.

Christ. I need a change.

Which was one of the topics of the political discussion I had last night with my brother and his wife, my Mom and my Dad: change.

My Dad an I often disagree on political topics. But on this topic, we are united: Change for change's sake is meaningless unless you know what it is you want to change, why you want to change it, how you're going to change it, and if the change makes sense.

So, for me to just say I need a change means nothing. What do I want to change, and why and how?

I love my life, actually. I have great kids. I have a partner who loves. me. I have friends who make me laugh and think. I have challenging, meaningful work. I have my evolving, growing faith. I'm happy. So why do I feel this new heaviness inside?

I think it's because I am weary. Weary of cancer. Weary of constantly thinking about it and its effects. So while I am honored to support my friends who have or who had cancer, and while I will continue to need their support in return, I need to redefine myself as something other than a previous cancer patient.

I was talking about this to my friend, Church. And she gave me some wise advice. I don't have her email available, so I won't be able to quote her directly, but she essentially told me that it's ok to move on from the healing part of my life and to move into the living part of my life. I'll never be who I was before cancer, and cancer will continue to change me in unexpected ways..

The title of this blog is "Reconstruct This..." But I'd like to think that at two years post-diagnosis that I've been reconstructed enough. Externally and internally.

So, I've decided that I'll continue to focus on cancer on Reconstruct This... until November. Then, if I decide it makes sense to continue the blog, I'll rename it and write about the whole of my life. That is, if the whole of my life proves to be interesting enough to share with the world. And if you've been reading for the past year, you know that my life's plenty titillating. That is if you like reading about the purple mums I planted or the purple fleece cancer hat I lost in Santa Cruz.

When Ocho and I first started dating, I sent him a text. He responded about half an hour later with this: Change is good... Change is good...

Change--moving from healing into living--sounds liberating to me on this foggy Fourth of July.

Comments

Sarah S. said…
Change is good. Happy 4th! :)
Rosalie said…
Hi
I have had my blog since January when I was diagnosed seven months pregnant, but am just now finding others out there telling their story. Would you mind adding my blog to your list so I can make more connections? Also, how did you get the Mothers with Cancer 'icon' up on your blog. I would love to add.
Thanks,
Rosalie
Anonymous said…
Many years ago I used to have to work in a hospital while a single Mom with a son with acute asthma. I went to work there for the medical and to know the best doctors for my son's care. Working 10 hr days and riding a bike 8 miles to work even in snow, dropping my son off at day care and going into work in the dark, getting out of work in the dark, my job in the computer division. A room that was humidity controlled with no windows for the electronics. I was an artist, this was soul challenging for me, not just the dark but the world of hospital life. But I loved my son and was going to have him live. I took lunch hour to run, the only place a cemetery across the street, a huge one and old. For a long time my life was medical charts documentation, my son sometimes beginning to code out, parents in peds that were friends and then with the loss of their children never seen again, sitting in peds waiting room alone waiting for my son to breath, sitting in emergency rooms with many others in panic waiting, runnning through the dead for miles and the highlight, the guys (funny sick freak interns) working autopsy down the hall that would yell to me when I passed getting my morning coffee and they at the end of their shift eating pizzas while surrounded by body bags. This was my unwanted but necessary life. Then one day I was told by the doctors I had to move my son to the desert to keep him alive. I sold everything, bought 2 plane tickets, one bag, 2 pillows, boarded a plane for Tucson without knowing a soul there or anything about it. Free falling...had my Sony headset on with Tom Petty singing "Free Falling". :-) Next thing I knew I was sitting by the pool of a really nice apt. sun everywhere, wide open spaces, and my son never had to go into a hospital again to stay. Though I had to work hard on a construction crew framing apt buildings and waitressing at night, life was...well...it was alive. Morale of the story: there's a time and place for everything in our souls journey's. No 2 souls have the same journey.
You can call it a soul or our spirit but it is the essential us, the unique one of a kind, one of us. Look at your fingerprints, there is only one you that was created.
We keep moving, things keep changing and we hopefully keep growing. Sometimes we have to go stay in death's house for awhile because we or someone we love is physically challenged. But sooner or later we have to move on. There is the light waiting. It can be the sunlight of a new fresh day of promises and laughter or it may be the day we have to throw sandbags over the side of our life's ballon. One after another, sandbag after sandbag we toss, ok God, take the house, it was just on loan to me, ok God, take my husband, wife, child, lover, pet, they were just on loan to me, ok God, take all the material stuff that was so important to me, ok God, this is the last sandbag, I'm coming up. And we let our ballons rise slowly with the fire of our spirits lifting them, and we rise into the sky full of light floating and looking down to see, "Oh, so that's how it all really looks, that's how it all goes together!"
And our ballons disappear into the unlimited sky.
Personally, I chose to throw life's sandbags over when my own life feels so weighed down that I no longer can feel light. When it all gets too heavy and I can no longer see or feel beauty or hope I start to look for the sandbags that may be holding me down when I am ready to fly.
Church
SweetAnnee said…
Love to you..check my blog
for an update!
deena
Jen Ballantyne said…
Oh yeah baby! I am with you on this one hundred per cent. I think it's wonderful really that you are ready to move on. It means the healing has happened. I believe we will never completely be free of being a 'cancer patient' in terms of the fear in the back of the mind BUT I do believe we can totally move from that space into another, I feel that way myself at the moment but it's probably a bit premature and yet, if I feel it then maybe.... I'll just go with it for now and see what happens. One day at a time that's the best way for me throughout this fight. I am happy for you my love, it's a good place to be in. Enjoy it. Much love Jen B xxx
Sherry said…
You know I get this. It's exactly where I was earlier this year. Moving on, moving forward and letting go -- letting go of something that defined us for a period of time in our lives and taking that risk to re-enter the world as something other than "patient". You'll do it..it's coming...and you'll be ready.
lahdeedah said…
Sarah S., change is great :)

Rosalie, your blog is amazing. Of course, I'll add your blog to my list. I took down my blogroll some time ago, with intentions of using the new blogroll feature...not enough time! For the Mothers with Cancer sidebar, I'll leave instructions on your blog. Take care.

Church, I just love the hot air balloon metaphor. You're so good at this stuff.

Deena, you're my hero.

Jenni B, I want you to move to California.

Sherry, I knew you'd understand :)
Jenster said…
Great post, Jill. I was talking with my friend yesterday about how do I redefine me. Work in progress, baby.
lahdeedah said…
Totally a work in progress, Jen. Redefining ourselves is going to be a slow, organic process :) I'm learning to be patient. Kind of.
Imstell said…
Movin' on and movin' up. I love how your girlfriend summed it up so easily. I'm a big fan of the nutshell. ;-)

Cancer kind of takes over our lives while we're going through treatment. Then it starts to feel weird when your ready to leave such a large part of your life behind. Dare I compare it to a divorce? Even if it's amicable there are still conflicted feelings.

Besides, this is your space, lady. Use it how you will. ;-)
Jena Strong said…
I'll be reading, no matter what.

Popular posts from this blog

Roots: Part III

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." ~Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact

(Confession: I found this quote this morning on Quote Garden. I had to Google Kendall Hailey. And I had no idea what the word autodidact meant until I located it on dictionary.com.)

I met Ocho on Match.com. Many of you probably have never had a Match date, so let me describe for you a few that I experienced:

Tom smelled myseriously of Clorox bleach and wore a fanny pack. I might have been able to handle the fumes (hey, it's a turn-on that a guy can clean his house, right?), but the strain of imagining what was in the fanny pack (Handi-wipes? Anti-bacterial gel? Latex gloves?) was more than I could bear.

Bob, who was as tall as a 4th grader, over the course of two hours and a plate of fettucine alfredo asked me 20 times if I was bothered by the fact that he was so short. Answer: No…

Birdy

I love my daughter.

Last night we went to Cheesecake Factory in Palo Alto and sat at usual table by the window. We ordered our usual stuff and did our usual thing: which is to make each other laugh.

Katie downloaded the "Fatbooth" App to my iPhone and took a picture of herself that she then "fatified." Then she texted it to my fiance, Kevin, who was down in Anaheim with his son. "Look who's excited to be at Cheesecake Factory!" she wrote underneath her morbidly obese photo.

I laughed until I cried.

I have always loved Katie. I loved her when she was little: From the second she opened her newborn blue eyes and excitedly took in the world around her, to watching her drive her Smurf car--naked--in a continual loop around the kitchen and family room, to pedaling her in a Burley at Sun River Oregon, to holding her in a backpack at Costco while she whacked my head, to watching her wrap her "abba" or blanket around her neck at Tahoe to stay warm.

And …

JoAnn

"It is my o-pinion..."

I heard those words hundreds of times in the 18 years I knew JoAnn Costello, my therapist. And I was always grateful to hear them, because they usually preceeded some general truth about life, some specific advice based on her own personal experience, or some intuition (which was always right).

JoAnn died of cancer on Dec. 30, 2011.

I will miss her spirit, her spunk, her smile, her intelligence, her humor, her turquoise eyes (as described by a friend at her memorial today), and her hip Italian shoes, but mostly I will miss JoAnn's influence in my life.

When I first went to JoAnn in 1993, I felt paper-thin. I was sensitive, supremely self-conscious, and doubted my own thinking and abilities. Every nerve felt raw and exposed to the world. JoAnn heard my story and said, "Of course you feel that way. It makes total sense to me."

As healing as those words were, JoAnn was not one to simply shine you on. She was not warm & fuzzy. But you knew tha…