The last few days I have done alot of thinking about how things were in the first couple of years. I remember that I was reading everything I could get my hands on about cancer. I read cookbooks that advised you what to eat and what not to eat. I read biographies of people who had lived (and died) of cancer. I tended to stick to gynecological cancers, firstly, they were women, and secondly I felt that they had a better understanding. I now know cancer is cancer and the type might be different but the feelings are the same! I also read medical books the best being "Spontaneous Healing" by Andrew Weil....I still have that one and still consider it one of the best I read regarding treatment and nutrition. P.S. the title is misleading it isn't about miracles!!!!!
My point at the time was to consume as much knowledge as I could because I tend to be the type of person that likes to become an expert on everything that effects my life. And in some ways I think I did. I certainly am a partner in my journey with my oncologist (he still knows a little more than me thought)!
Well, it seems I don't have that same urge anymore...to read all about other peoples journey's. Yet there is still one little jewel that I have read and re-read and again this weekend pulled it out and placed it beside my bed. It is a tiny little book (6" x 5") but it is a big book in my own journey with cancer. The name of the book is "There's no place like HOPE" by Vickie Girard. Unfortunately, I just found out that she is no longer alive having died in February 2007. I am very sad....because in some way I know that no matter how well you do eventually this awful disease will win. But alas, we all must die from something!
Anyways, the reason I bring this book up is because it has been such a source of HOPE (aptly named obviously) for me and I would like to share some of the wisdom that I have taken from it. Vickie is the one who taught me that you are living with cancer not dying from it, that I have cancer it doesn't have me, and most of all that I am not the only person that has heard stupid things said by very well intentioned people. (Someday, I will write an entire blog on that subject) She also articulated best how you fight cancer on three battlefields: the mind, the heart and the body ...and in that order. " It is the mind that screams, the heart that cries , when it is still hard to believe that the body has cancer"... Anyone with this disease remembers vividly that exact feeling when trying to wrestle with the initial diagnosis of cancer. Mind you, if I remember correctly, I really believe that the second time it was even worse...and the third it was familiar (same initial feelings) ... Finally, even this time it is giving me HOPE, but with a little heavier heart as I know that for Vicki her battle has been lost.
So, to all the passengers on my bus, I have obviously moved out of the denial stage into another one. I think this one is called nostalgia which of course is not officially considered a stage of grief, but I think it depends on how many times you get to grieve the same thing. I figure since this is my third time, I am allowed to be nostalgic about the past times and maybe even realize how much I have changed since then. I am not sure how the present journey is going to unfold, and maybe I won't appear to be different, but know that my mind is always busy remembering.....and in this case it isn't necessarily a bad thing because it doesn't feel as bad as the past times. I found out the second time I was officially a member of the club....so now I just have to accept that maybe I am becoming an Elder this time......so I will be driving slowly, and taking in the view. Any of you people need to get off for a break, just pull the bell and I will pull over.....this part is going to be o.k. even if I find myself alone....I have lots of memories to look at and a little book of HOPE in my pocket.