Cancer – Belonging to a Club I Never Wanted to Join

Posted: October 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Breast Cancer Ribbon

I chronicled my journey with an aggressive form of breast cancer, which I posted on the (now defunct) Yahoo! Contributor Network. Recently, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I combined all parts into one blog, Diagnosis: Breast Cancer. Those combined articles appear on My Heart Blogs to You blog (if you want to read this very long journal, you can click the link).

While I don’t want to belittle the experience of getting a breast cancer diagnosis by ignoring the negatives about having breast cancer, in this article I wanted to present a more positive view about having this disease. Here is Diagnosis: Breast Cancer, originally posted on February 26, 2010:

I have become a member of a club I never wanted to join, and I’m fighting a battle I never wanted to fight, but the disease has had a positive effect on me as well.

This cancer battle I fight is a battle I plan on winning because I have a powerful force behind me, troops of people who are praying for me. I believe prayer is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and I believe it heals people from deep inside their souls. I have no doubt I will conquer breast cancer.

I also think prayer bestows a kind of grace on people. And when we don’t pay attention to what’s important in our lives, I think God sometimes grabs our attention in ways that force us to look at our circumstances in ways we might never have noticed. We learn to appreciate our lives and what we do with our lives more than we did before our current challenge.

Prior to getting cancer, I attempted to cram more hours into my day than the allotted 24, and I tired to squeeze more minutes into an hour than the given 60. My days were filled with rushing to finish projects and assignments I gave myself, and I allowed no time for rest.

I had an agenda, I had goals, and I had aspirations. I felt time was running out and I had to become the successful writer I knew I was meant to be. So, while I provided daycare, often as long as eleven hours a day, I ran around with a notebook, or snuck onto my computer to record thoughts, then labored over getting everything accomplished at record speed.

Despite the rush to accomplish my goals, I never lost sight of the blessings in my life. Ever more important than my goals have always been family and friends. So if, at any time throughout the day, somebody needed me, I was there. I interrupted everything to spend time with the important people in my life. Connecting with family and friends has always been – will always be – a priority.

And it doesn’t matter what time of the day or night we connect. I fondly remember the day I first discovered the cancer. As I relate in my Cancer Journal, Diagnosis: Breast Cancer, my grandson, Travis, had texted me in an early morning hour and when I folded my arms across my chest after I placed my head upon my pillow, I felt the lump. I might not have found it for quite a while if not for him. For him and that text I feel blessed.

When I shared the diagnosis with friends and family, everybody rallied in support. For them I feel blessed as well. But despite the negative aspects the word “cancer” conveys, I can’t help but laugh at some of my experiences. Of course, at the time they are happening to me I’m not laughing, like the day I lost my first huge clump of hair – even though I expected it to happen, I was amazed by how it felt, wet clumps of hair cascading down my back again and again.

I didn’t expect my hair to fall out in the shower and I didn’t expect it to fall out in clumps. But once it happened, I resigned myself to the fact that I truly was going bald and, rather than be surprised by the continual loss of hair, I became proactive and shaved my head.

Whoa! What a difference a head once filled with long thick hair makes when that hair has been removed. I thought my head was gigantic until I removed all the hair from it. Now I see that my head is actually almost within normal range.

One great benefit of having cancer is that I’m saving money on shampoos, conditioners, and razors. And being bald has provided some comic relief as well.

A couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to go out, something I rarely do anymore unless it’s to the hospital, and I grabbed the only wig I had. I usually wear hats or scarves around my home during the day, because I’m not comfortable with the wig – I don’t think it looks like “me.” It’s the only one I have, though, so I put it on my head just as my 2-year-old grandson walked into the bathroom.

He’s used to seeing me bald or with scarves or hats. But on this day, as I stood at the mirror after having just placed the wig on my head, Nolan looked at me curiously and said, “You look funny, Grandma.”

Knowing how honest kids are, I walked into the living room donning the wig to find out if his 5-year-old sister thought I looked funny too. Audrey scrunched up her face and said, “yeah.”

Maybe I had it on backwards, but, off went the wig and back went the scarf.

However, the scarf is a very challenging piece of head wrap to maneuver. On my way home from the hospital one day, the scarf I was wearing was becoming looser and looser the longer I drove. Perhaps my winter coat was pulling it every time I turned my head, but I could see it falling over my eyes and sensed it was falling off.

“OH NO!” I thought to myself – just what I don’t want to do – cause an accident in the middle of the day because some kid in the car next to mine watched me transform from a scarf-draped women to a bald androgynous being in an instant. I could just see him screaming loud enough to cause his mother to drive into a ditch.

Cancer and chemo have caused me to do things I never thought I would be doing, too, asking questions I never expected to ask: “Um, does anybody have any eyelashes I can borrow?”

Another benefit of having cancer is that I’m saving time by not having to shave my legs. I’m also so handicapped financially that I can now rely on the state to pay for my medial necessities. Yay!

Another positive side effect of having cancer is that everybody sends me presents. Having cancer is like having one long continuous birthday party (interrupted by chemo and radiation). I’ve received a robe, a shawl, slippers, scarves, and hats. Getting my mail has become fun. Soon I will be receiving eyelashes! How many of you can appreciate a gift of eyelashes?

My eleven-hour days? Gone. I’m too tired to put in even an eight hour day. I’m lucky to make it three hours anymore without having to rest. What that does, though, is give me time to write, something I’ve been wanting to do with my time my whole life.

And one of my favorite byproducts of having cancer is the number of people I’ve never met who contact me with their own breast cancer stories. Once, after reading my blog, entitled The Sackless Boob (which has nothing at all to do with breasts – click on the link to see why), one of my new cancer friends told me that before she puts in her prosthetic each morning, she is a boobless sack. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine, and humor is my favorite gift.

Do you have a gift of humor you’d like to share with me?

If you are interested in reading about my journey through breast cancer, I invite you to read my previously published (serious) articles on the subject of Breast Cancer – Diagnosis: Breast Cancer.

And if you would like to read more from this author, please visit me at any of the following places. Thank you for reading! 

Writing Creatively

My Heart Blogs To You

Help For Single Parents

Theresa Wiza’s Blog

Your Weird Dreams

Paranormal Minds

Crystal Butterfly Creations

All Craft Connection

Product Favorites

Your Blog Connection

My Humor Outcasts Page

My BubbleWS Page

  1. theresawiza says:

    Coral, if you figure that out before I do, please share your information with me. If I find out how to make more money from our blogs, I’ll share that information with you!

  2. Coral says:

    Oh, Theresa! I am sitting here laughing with tears streaming down my face. I LOVE your sense of humor!

    The stories that you share touch my heart, as I have shared before. I am more and more convinced that our souls are so connected in some way.

    You are also quite the blogger! How you keep up with them all is beyond me, and I hope that I can learn from you!! In a word (or three): You inspire me.

    • theresawiza says:

      Coral, I was just reprimanding myself for not keeping up with all of my blogs. I’ve neglected so many of them. Now that the holidays are over, though, I plan to put more effort into reviving them. For that reason, your comment made me smile. YAY for you for finding the incentive to write more! Let’s be each other’s support system!

      • Coral says:

        We can only do what we can do. I need to figure out how to make money for what I write and not simply rely on a site, though I am moving from one neighborhood to another, and will visit old once in awhile, and check out new ones from time to time. It’s time for me to take ownership of my own home (blogs). xo

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