Most of the time I am battling this cancer I take the advice I have given in this blog, living each day fully, focusing on nurturing myself, enjoying my life, and on getting well, and not spending my time worrying about the future while ignoring the gifts of the present. There are times, however, when the enormity of the battle I am facing overwhelms me. This does not happen often but when it does, instead of enjoying the present and counting my blessings, I think of the future, worry about how much time I have left to live, worry about the enormity of my battle and become nostalgic for my life. This feeling occurred during and after my mother’s funeral. Alan and I were discussing not wanting to be in a casket and the amount of money it costs for a funeral. He said he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread on a black diamond ski run and in the ocean, or put in an urn to be prominently displayed in the living rooms of our children. Of course, the last comment was a joke. He told me to make sure it happened and I responded by saying what if you outlive me. His response was that this would not happen, could not happen and I had to live a long time. I could not help but be focused on the potential terminal nature of this cancer, given the funeral staring me in the face and our discussion.
That conversation, my break from chemo, and my mother’s death, have focused me on the fact that there are no guarantees with this cancer, and that I face a very tough battle. When I feel this way, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what I face. I am not unrealistic, I know what I face, I know that stage 4 cancer is a very bad situation, but most of the time I have faith that my will, spirit and determination will beat this cancer. That is how I feel today, but the feeling of being overwhelmed does hit me from time to time. When that happens, I cry a little, worry about the future, become emotional over the enormity of the battle I face and instead of focusing on the present and enjoying it, I focus on what could happen. I know this is normal and that I cannot always feel positive about my situation. I know that it would be abnormal not to feel overwhelmed and sad from time to time. My friends tell me that they would worry if I never felt this way and that I need to let it happen, acknowledge it, let myself get emotional about this battle, and then go on. The fact that I face this battle is unbelievable, the fact that my cancer was stage 4 before being diagnosed is unbelievable, the fact that I have stomach cancer when I have always been a healthy eater and do yoga and meditation, is also unbelievable. I know that this situation should, from time to time, overwhelm me and make me feel sadness over the battle I am facing and the effects of it, which are not pretty or fun. I will not let it stop me from being the warrior I am and from beating this cancer. I will not let it diminish my spirit and my determination. Instead, I will feel those feelings when they happen, acknowledge them, talk to my friends and family about them, let myself feel some sadness and emotion over this, and then go on.
It is not weak to give in to these feelings from time to time, but they will not stop me nor change my determination and spirit to beat this. I think of my mom, who, time and again, beat the odds. I think of my dad, who was a warrior with a oft heart like me. I am now back to my warrior mode, living each day, enjoying it, and focusing on beating the cancer, rather than on the enormity of the fight I am waging. Onward and upward.