A Big Word Called Cancer

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Cancer.

Oh hell. With just six letters that’s a really big word, isn’t it?

Cancer.

Well, I guess if you haven’t had to deal with it, it’s just another word. But once it enters your life – either with yourself or a loved one – it becomes a pretty damn big word, doesn’t it? Like POW! KABAM! A punch in the gut or a slap in the face. It quite literally knocks the breath right out of you.

That little word suddenly takes over your life. You can’t think. You can’t breathe. It robs your mind and spirit of all hope. It destroys plans, dreams, aspirations, and visions of the future. With a simple word your life is changed forever.

Cancer.

It’s something we have difficulty understanding or wrapping our heads around. It’s not normal and it causes death, so it must be some type of foreign thing. An alien or demonic thing growing in an otherwise normal body. We envision black, gooey, smelly, hideous cells forming into monstrous growths. It’s an “ick” that needs to be removed, destroyed, cut out, fought against, yelled at, cried over. Then life can go back normal.

But life won’t be normal again. Not life as we knew it.

Cancer.

As a veterinarian, I deal with this word daily. Through the years I had developed a certain detachment from the word. I practiced a great deal of sensitivity and compassion whenever it came into conversations with clients. Because I could see the impact that unmentionable word had on people when it had to be finally mentioned, especially regarding their beloved pet.

And so I found myself in that same spot facing that same unmentionable word when Luke, my Chessie, was diagnosed with …

Cancer.

When I went through vet school, I remember the pathology professor explaining cancer as “normal cells that go haywire”. Meaning that cancer is a “mistake” in DNA sequencing that turns normal cells into abnormal or cancer cells. These abnormal cells do not understand cell boundaries, limitations of growth, or that they are supposed to stay in their own part of the body and not go elsewhere. They have since discovered that this “mistake” or genetic mutation is there from the moment of birth and a matter of preset destiny. So there really isn’t some icky black “thing” taking over the body.

For me, knowing that cancer is a “mistake” and a preset destiny somehow lessens the blow. I can forgive a mistake, just like I can forgive a friend’s misplaced forgetfulness. Plus it’s less disconcerting looking at Luke and envisioning “messed-up” cells interfering with normalcy instead of icky black crap destroying his body. And there is a sense of comfort knowing that no matter what – cleaner living, better choices, thinking more happy thoughts – it would not have changed this outcome. It is what it is.

Cancer.

This word no longer scares or terrifies me. I choose to live life to it’s fullest irregardless of what time is left or some doctor’s prognosis (medical terminology for ‘best guess”). I will not regret the choices of the past nor sit with remorse or guilt worrying over what I might have done differently. I will choose to cherish the precious life I hold in my arms now, and wait to grieve my losses when it finally comes – not before. I will not let the fear engulf me but choose instead to have faith in something greater. Because I know that no matter what, no matter how it happens, everything will be OK. I may not have the outcome I want, but that’s OK.

Because that is life.

Mistakes and all!

 

Returning

yourpast1I haven’t posted here for some time. Each day has been a struggle. An endless stretch of days, weeks, months of struggles.

I’ve been hurt. I’ve been scared. I lost faith. I lost hope. My world is unrecognizable to me. I really expected to be in a different place. To be a different person than I am now. I expected to be living a dream much different than my current reality.

And through it all my creative spirit has been crushed and silenced by my inner critic.

“Don’t write about that.”

“People will call you silly or stupid or a drama queen for putting it out there.”

“People don’t give a shit.”

“What you have to say has no value.”

“They will say ‘OMG you wouldn’t believe what she wrote on her stupid blog!'”

So the creative writer within me shut down, silenced herself, and closed up shop. The artist closed her walls and withheld her artwork within, believing it had no value. The dreamer gave up her dream world of psychedelic color and returned to the grayness and din of the real world of work, routine, and counting days. The balance between the artist and the scientist tipped hard towards the science/logic/black and white self. She turned to just living the struggle.

But the soul like any seed planted in the darkness, will always reach for the sunlight. It reaches up and out and forward to present itself to the world. It does not ask for the opinion of the other seeds or plants on whether to rise and open it’s leaves.  It does not seek validation of it’s worth or value or beauty. It already knows within that it has worth. That it has beauty. It just IS.

Our souls like seeds weren’t meant to hold back. Neither were meant to be planted in fertile ground and not emerge into something amazing. Something beautiful. Something miraculous.

Sometimes growth is sudden. Sometimes great growth comes from great pain. But from great pain emerges great strength.

I’m hoping to embrace that great strength now.

I’m hoping to bring my soul back into the sunlight and set it free again…

 

Heartbreak

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Dear Ex,

This still hurts. Even after several months, this still really hurts. Bad.

I will never understand why you threw me away and walked away from us. You didn’t fight to keep me. You didn’t ask me to hang until you figured things out.

You took me to family functions. We did stuff with your mom and daughters. We made plans for the future. YOU made plans for the future that included me. YOU invited me into your life.

When did all that change????

You got to decide it was over – I wasn’t even given a choice.

You. Just. Walked. Away.

I will never understand how it was so damn easy for you to do that. That you could so easily toss aside what we had built together without so much as a blink. This is not the man I knew and loved.

How did I ever fall in love with someone so cruel?

I’m thinking maybe I never knew you at all.

Signed, Me

Breaking up with someone brings an eruption of emotions into your existence. First you feel the pain, like someone ripped your heart out. Yes, ripping. No clean cut, surgical removal of your heart. It’s dirty, tearing, gnawing pain. There’s mud and shit thrown in that damn wound. You want to just curl up in a ball and die.

Next the sadness overtakes you, causing you to burst into tears at the drop of a hat. A song on the radio. A moment in a TV show. The way someone says a phrase. You feel raw. Like one giant exposed nerve. Life looks so hopeless.

Gradually the anger sets in and you declare your defiance. “How dare he do this to me” and “Prick!” become part of your daily vocabulary. You seethe with hatred, dreaming of ways to extract your revenge in big and beautiful acts of self-righteousness. Your inner self is once again finding it’s footing after so much turmoil.

Eventually the heat of anger subsides, and acceptance sets in. You begin to accept it is over. That what you had is truly gone. Your dreams are dead. You begin to think you’ve really got your head back on your shoulders and your heart is finally gonna mend. A sliver of hope for the future slowly creeps into the darkness of your injured soul.

Then suddenly in an instant it’s gone. Oh hell. You find yourself back at square one and you have just started the entire mess all over again…..

This is where I find myself now. I don’t know if I’m coming or going anymore. So many dreams and hopes have been shattered by the single action of another. I always figured myself for a pretty level headed gal, but this had literally knocked me to me knees. And it continues to knock me down. This hurts like a mother fucker.

How did I ever let someone else have this much power over me? I was such a fucking fool to believe and trust in him.

What I did I expect to gain? Why risk it all?

Because I believed in true love. I believed that true love conquers all difficulties that life can throw at you. I have seen it do that for other couples. Family, friends, colleagues – I’ve seen the miracle of true love in their lives. I had dreamed of that in my life. I truly thought I had finally brought that into my life.

Boy was I wrong.

 

 

Lessons Luke Taught Me

I’m only human.

But my canine companion can still teach me things.

Like letting go. Living in the moment. There’s always another toy to chase.

Is life really that simple?

If I’ve gotta put up with this shit, then you need to put up with yours!

Really? I’ve gotta wear this goddamn stupid representation of a Christian holy day? How f….g sacred is that?

Look at this damn face.

He’s telling me to get over myself. To get over my issues. My dramas don’t mean shit.

Oh, to live a dog’s life!

Where Did She Disappear To?

No where.

Seems that life has caught me up and drug me off away from my computer for the past month. I hadn’t realized it had been that long until I was checking my blog for updates. Actually, I’ve been out earning money to pay the bills which means 40-50 hour weeks. Funny how things work that way.

I have several project “irons” in the fire all of a sudden, so it has made me prioritize my time in a different way than in the past. Have you ever experienced that? So many things to do, so little time and money. I often wonder if it’s just more comfortable for me to be like a dog chasing it’s tail – always busy but never going anywhere.

For the time being I’m needing to focus on real-life things and family instead of my virtual world here. I’m hoping that with winter coming I will have more time to share what I’ve been doing and what I am thinking. Who knows, I may even let you in on all my secret projects.