Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not Fair at All

This has been a difficult couple of weeks. [Be warned: not much any humor in this post.]

By now we've all heard that Elizabeth Edwards died from cancer today. It's not like I knew her, but I'm saddened by her death and by her obituaries that focus on her asshole jerk of a husband and all his betrayals. She seemed like a very decent, intelligent person, and it bothers me to no end that cancer doesn't really care about that. Her passing and the news coverage of it is just one more reason that I have been unable to put cancer, and more to the point, the possibility of a recurrence of cancer, out of my mind of late. Elizabeth Edwards death today brings me back to the blog...to vent.

I haven't been able to blog lately for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I don't really know what to say. I still don't. Cancer has been omnipresent of late and I may well have lost my sense of humor about it.

In the past two weeks we have once again been dealing with cancer in our family. My beautiful sister-in-law (my brother's wife) lost her father to throat cancer just before Thanksgiving. He was 63 years old and his diagnosis was shocking and his battle was very short. My sister-in-law lost her mother to breast cancer 11 years ago on December 14th at the age of 52. I remember being at her mom's funeral on December 23rd, the year after my father's wife died on that same day.  It's just not fair. Cancer never is.   I think of my niece who has a grandmother, a grandfather and an aunt who've all had cancer and what this might mean for her future (and I hope it means early screening, extra attention and vigilance...but mostly I hope for a cure before any of that matters)

And very recently, with seemingly no warning, Chris's aunt has been diagnosed with Stage IV metastasized breast cancer, with a pretty grim diagnosis. I've been helping her on the legal side of things (the "get your affairs in order" side of things) and Chris spent several hours with her at the hospital today. I can't help but think that she's probably had cancer for far longer than I have (or did? what's the proper word here...we don't know) but for some reason hers wasn't caught, but mine was. Or was it?

I think about these people, these cancers, and I think about my blogging friends battling various stages of cancer, and another business colleague who recently went to a hospital to say goodbye to a friend of hers whose breast cancer has recurred and was nearing the end of her battle, and I think about my new "virtual" friends recently diagnosed with breast cancer and in touch because they found my blog and reached out for support, and I think...F*CK CANCER.  I wish I could be more articulate than that, but no...F*CK CANCER.   And I think about the possibility of a recurrence of my own cancer and I just want to say that again. F*CK CANCER.

Usually my logical mind takes charge and so yeah, I can figure out that none of us knows how long we have or if cancer will strike or strike a second time and that I'm maybe no more likely to die of cancer than anyone else despite my recent encounters, because the thing is...none of us knows.... but also, I can't stop thinking about cancer right now.And the possibility of recurrence.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike this time of year? There is a lot of good stuff going on in my life right now, but at the moment, today, I can't seem to focus on that. Because life is just not fair. Not fair at all.


  1. I won't lie. I immediately thought of you when I heard that Elizabeth Edwards was so ill. She was a lot like us ... lawyer, articulate, assertive, not a victim (no fuking way is that a-hole gonna make me look bad). I am scared to die. It's gonna happen, of course, but we think we have some control, when we have none. Remember the guy who was the jogging guru? Dropped dead at 60 something of a heart attack? It's worse than being in airplane. No control. At. All. But, know this -- you have made a difference in this world, in your world, and that is really all we can hope for our lives. I love you, my brave friend, and let's both embrace every minute we have!

  2. Hey, you. My thoughts are with you and Chris.

  3. I hear ya! Coming home from chemo one to the news update that Elizabeth Edwards passed, probably around when they were setting my for my poisonous drip, definitely gave me a "F Me!" moment.

    I started reading the Emperor of All Maladies, A History of Cancer on Sunday, and nearly choked when barely a few pages in it said that 50% of everyone diagnosed with cancer will die from it.

    But you know, there's still a 50/50 chance you or I'll die from getting hit by a bus.

    I hate this time of year too, and the holidaze hubub; I just refuse to participate, and haven't for years. Humbug.

    As I'm sure you know, I am surrounded by everyone's cancer connections, current, and past, but I am (fortunately) the only one in my bio and chosen family dealing with it currently.

    It must really super suck for you to have so much at once among the near and dear. I hope all of them have the best possible journey.

    Have a pity party with a BIG glass of wine for me. Then focus on the good stuff and that you will be more vigilant about keeping cancer out of your life for the duration as something positive vs. something to dread. Because otherwise it will just drive you batsh#t. At least that's my plan (sans the wine for now).


  4. When my mom died three years ago, I was convinced that I will get cancer and die too. How could I not think that when I just watched the woman I love the most die when I was 19 years old?! But now, three years later (and soooo much more mature, right?!), I am finally allowing myself to believe that that won't be me. Yes, people die from cancer-- but people also LIVE. And that's what I'm trying to focus on... Although sometimes it's just plain hard not to let the bad thoughts creep in, like when I turned on my computer last night to read the news and saw the same story that sparked your post. It's a vicious cycle!

    I hope happier thoughts find their way to you soon xoxo

  5. Teresa,
    I'm sorry for all your unwanted experience with cancer. It most certainly is not fair. You are entitled to your feelings, whatever they are. Sometimes you just can't be logical, even if you are a lawyer! Elizabeth Edwards' death hit me hard - I'm blogging about it next week. It's impact surprised me, but yet it didn't. Do you ever stop thinking about recurrence?? I try not to think about that, but sometimes it's hard. I like Sami's words, people with cancer also LIVE!
    My thoughts are with you and Chris.

  6. Teresa- I don't think I could even find the words to accurately express to you how much I envy your spirit, your strong will and your way to find humor in just about everything in life. I hope that in my own life if I am ever faced with the big C- being me or a loved one- that I can take your gutsy and real approach. You truly are a role-model.

  7. Thanks to all of you for all of your kind words. I should note I am feeling better. Still not a fan of Christmas or this time of year, but nonetheless I shall sally forth. After a couple of client meetings and a Starbucks reinforcements stop, I'm even going to hit the mall. Yeah, 'cuz that's going to make me feel better....


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