I have a good attitude--toward life, family, my cancer experience. Some people say "I just want to forget about it all. Move forward like it never happened." Great--for them that works. For me I will always strive to learn the lessons from my life. The lessons from being married 24 years, from being a mom, and from having cancer. It changed things in me. It made me stronger in certain ways. It made it hard to make decisions. Honestly, sometimes dessert even gives me trouble. That is getting better. But I also learned even more about health. I want to stay healthy until the end which I am planning will be a long time from now when I am old and grey and have great grandchildren.
I write about it for me and for you. I write about how it doesn't end which many people find surprising.
Just heard about a whole big to do with some writers lambasting a woman for how she is writing about dealing with being a mom of three and having metastatic stage IV. I wish this woman well. I had never heard of her before reading a blogger I follow. I had not read the articles simply the opinions of the articles. I also spent time reading some of the STUFF that is going on so I thought I needed to write and say my piece. After reading the second article my opinion for the basis of this piece has not changed. We make decisions and we live with their aftermath. We write and some people read what we write and some do not.
Writers write. We write whether you read it or not. We write in our sleep, in our cars, at our desks, in the check out line at costco. We write. You, have a choice, you don't have to read it. Some people started writing about whether or not she should be writing about her experience. They didn't have to read it.
People get angry because they get scared. If it can happen to her it can happen to me. I get it. One of my nearest and dearest has stage IV metastatic cancer---I don't avoid her, I don't get angry, I just love her. It is my right to do so. I love, I listen, I lift her back up when she needs it, which is rare because she is amazing and busy!
When I was bald people would stare--some with sympathy, some with encouragement and some with out and out anger. Because I scared them. They saw themselves in me. They saw their fear. And they got angry.
There are a number of people I have read. A number of people I find that help me when I read their blogs. From fashion advice to dealing with cancer. And sometimes both…Shout out to Ain't No Mom Jeans. When I was about a year out from chemo I found out that one of my friends in high school had died of cancer. We had been friends but she was a grade above me though my age. Brilliant and funny and quirky and a great friend while we were in school. I had no idea she had been sick. So one morning I went looking. She had been a writer and had written about her illness for the LA Times. It was wonderful to visit her again through her writing. I heard her voice, laughed at her humor and admired her strength. My tribute to Mary was to read her and remember the good times we had and the laughs and the lunches at school. It was a nice visit. I was torn up to realize she had died during my chemo time. Wish I had known but….
I hope someday my kids read what I write. I hope their kids do too and that it reminds them of me when I am gone. And that the lessons I have tried to teach them they will find in my writing too.
I hope my writing has helped those around me and those who have read me that I don't even know.
And to anyone who thinks I shouldn't be writing what I am writing I say this, "Don't read it."
And to anyone who wants to criticize someone's approach to their cancer and how they deal with it I say, "It's their choice. Why can't we just support them or just leave them alone?" We need to support our loved ones no matter what they decide and being a mother myself my decisions regarding my care surely did take my children into account.
The idea of discussing the writing culture that has sprung up in the blogosphere about cancer is an interesting one. I am sure there is an equally large one about AIDS and MS and other life threatening things people live and parent through.
We make decisions everyday. We have no idea how those will pan out--will they change course of our lives? Will they help or hurt? I hope you make the right ones for you. I hope I make the right ones for me. In the end living well is what matters and if I help one person today then I am living well.