The Fright

Pink Ink…

So, this morning the Survivor world woke up to the news that Robin Roberts has “pre-leukemia”, a disease of the blood and bone marrow that often arises due to previous chemo treatment. Ok, you may have heard this news also. Well, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why? Because it was a big reminder that you are never ever really out of the Cancer Lane.

Ever since I finished radiation, people have been congratulating me, telling me “you’re done!” But as I have said before, it doesn’t FEEL done. I still have that
<—crazy physical therapy. I still have reconstruction. I still have more tests! “But at least you are done the hard stuff!” a friend told me. Am I? What about fatigue that lays me out? My “brother” in Chicago told me now that “I’m cured”, he can go back to clowning me. Really? Actually, I welcome that because seeing him walk on eggshells around me was too much. Folks are starting to be annoyed because I don’t immediately call them back. Family is asking why I am so tired. Umm, maybe because my body is just beginning to regenerate? My iron is low? My white blood cells are trying to grow? Done with the hard stuff? Done with the invasive stuff, yes. But, what about the emotional side effects or fall out?

This past week I was saddened because a couple of people were upset at me because I didn’t get back to them immediately. Another was mad because they weren’t included in the SURPRISE (meaning I didn’t know!) party. Again, really? Big B listened as I shed tears about people expecting too much of me, too soon. Yes, I am starting to look “normal”, and I am trying to resume some kind of life outside of treatment. But it is not easy. Big B, always the rational one, comforted me, and dropped his little bit of wisdom. While we are still on this journey, people have moved on. In most people’s minds, I am done and “Cancer” should not be part of the dialog anymore. People see me growing hair, or read my tweets, and they think it’s “all good”. He was also honest, and said that he looked forward to cancer not being so much of our dialog. But at least he acknowledged that it would always be there, in our lives to some degree.

This morning when B and I were talking about Robin, it hit us. In pop culture, we have Breast Cancer Champions like Robin, Sheryl, and Giuliana that have “beat” cancer. While their messaging is great, it is also unfortunate, because it leaves the impression that after you finish treatment, you are in fact “done”. It is why people around the “Survivor” feel so comfortable “moving on”. It is also why people are gob smacked when Sheryl gets a tumor or Robin gets a blood disease. It is why I get mad at Giuliana for, with the aid of creative editing, giving the impression that after her double mastectomy her life was pretty much back to normal, except for the occasional tear while giving a speech. (Long sentence, I know! Lol)

Rest assured, I don’t sit around thinking about when my cancer will come back. Trust, I am quite clear that I am more than my breast cancer experience! But as my Cancer Mentor & I were on the phone crying about Robin this morning, I realized again that I am scared about what the future may hold. Tracey assured me that that fear is ok. We are in the Cancer Lane for life. Our bodies will never ever be physically the same again. No matter how fit we become in the future, cancer has altered us. Several friends texted or emailed me this morning about Robin. One was honest and brave enough to admit that she was scared for me as well. That meant a lot because she recognized that while one chapter had ended, we were still on a journey.

So please friends, have patience with me. Have patience with other Survivors. I am working hard to live this new life.

As Robin so eloquently said this morning, I promise to Focus on the FIGHT and not the…The FRIGHT.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CH
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 18:08:09

    So I guess now would not be a good time to ask if you got my birthday gift yet and why not? No?
    OK. 🙂
    But seriously(ish), thanks for sharing exactly where you are in your journey so your posse can love on ya in a way that works for at this moment in time (with the full knowledge that you’ll be in a constant state of transition for a really long time). We’ll recalibrate and adjust as needed ’til we get it right. Or get cussed out.
    Also, thanks for providing the content on Robin Roberts. i read of her challenge and could not read between the lines that this was a pre-leukemia disorder. Knowledge is power.
    Love ya,


  2. Karen Abigail.
    Jun 13, 2012 @ 23:54:48

    B: I think that some of us love you SO much that we want to move you along in your journey- rather than accept where you are and the pace at which you’re moving. Those reactions are based in fear and denial. Check us when it’s required and forgive us when you can. My hopes For you are so deeply entrenched in God that I’m grateful for the progress. Love ya!


  3. Cecile Folkes
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 17:53:39

    All the best Robin, I will keep you and all who were touched by cancer in my prayers. I am on the journey to survival and when I read of your weakness and tiredness I know exactly what you are talking about. Keep the faith and always remember the love. “I am here for you, you are here for me, we are here for each other.”
    Blessings & Nuff Love Always !!!


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