Thursday, February 10, 2011

Survivorship

The following chain of events makes up the harder thing I have ever endured in my life: Diagnosis of non-hodgkins lymphoma, 3 types of unsuccessful chemotherapy, an experimental transplant and now survivorship.  I was so certain throughout it all that if I could just get to the other side everything would be ok.  I would be able to sleep through the night, I wouldn't need so many pills, I wouldn't think about my cancer every single day.

I suppose I should say here that I am truly grateful to be here today and recognize that it feels funny to complain about anything when not that many months ago a number of very smart doctors didn't think I'd make it.  But guilt aside, being a cancer survivor is hard work.  It is hard to see the scars all over my body, it is hard to take the almost countless pills everyday, it is hard to continue to get bloodwork even though my veins are basically shot, it is hard to sleep through the night, it is hard to remember that a cold can just be a cold, and it is hard to know that I put so many loving and caring people through so much. 

I look forward to the day that I wake up in the morning (after sleeping through the whole night) and the first thing I think of isn't cancer.  I look forward to the day when a trip to the doctor doesn't require deep breathing exercises and sometimes medication.  I look forward to the day when I can explain the last 2 years to my daughter so that they stop being something scary to her.  Basically, I look forward to feeling normal again.

I do not need nor want to go back to the way I was prior to diagnosis but a sense of normalcy would be nice.  A small sense that the whole world won't come crashing down in an instant.  Not so sure that is too much to ask.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth
    You know what.. you're sooo not alone and thank you for verbalising something that so many people worry about and feel they're the only ones thinking. The guilt and gratitude is a strange pairing too, again something that lots experience and many hide.

    You are an incredibly strong person and I'm quite sure your family love you for it tremendously. Your daughter has quite a role model in you too.

    Big hugs from little old England.

    AnnaGoAnna x

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  2. Lisa, you have said it all. Life doesn't seem possible unless you live day by day.
    I am not sure I know what normal is. But I know you are still living the cancer rollercoaster.
    This entry helped me so much.
    you pulled me out of, as Lisa Reed calls them, the "Februaries". When the rose (as Bett midler)
    sings, seems so far away.

    Hang in their sweetie, I pray for you and Adam and Grace continually. You have not been forgotten.
    so much love Mom

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  3. I sent you an email thru this blog website but who knows if you'll get it. Then, I found this comment section. So, if technology works, maybe you'll get both notes! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your challenges. Yes, you did give us all on Team Elizabeth something to ponder. It's easy to just think oh, yes, Lisa's cured and all is well. Thank you for sharing and be so open as to what you're thinking and feeling. We are all here to support you.... you've been given so much to deal with that at times it just doesn't seem fair. But I know you're a strong survivor and you will deal with the realities of the new normal, whatever that may bring. So, enjoy each day --- may you feel all the love that surrounds you and continue on your journey to wellness. We love you lots kiddo, Love, Aunt C and Uncle M

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  4. Lisa, I wish you normalcy, calm, even a good dose of boredom now and then, and peace of mind and heart. xoxox
    Sheila

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