Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Choosing Hope

I step away.
I touch your hands and find
the whole world is our love story
every breath and cry, and laughter

every glance and smile and smirk
I became you, and you became me
and we flew...

My heart is breaking today, with another friend lost to this disease. Taken, but never conquered. Every step taken with strenght, with kindness, with grace and love, but still taken.  I sit here crying because life is unfair, and it breaks my heart to hear of friends diagnosed, of friends fighting this beast, of friends losing that battle. But the love... the love survives. The impact of their lives in everyone they touch, everyone they loved, everyone that was honored to be part their journey, goes on.

A friend recently asked me if its common to be depressed or anxious after cancer treatment. I can only speak to my experience, but this is part of my response to her; I'm sharing it here in the hopes that maybe someone else out there is feeling that too -- and knows that they are not alone.

It can be. Everyone is different, but many of us can end up with anxiety, depression on and off or PTSD. What you went through is very traumatic; the body heals a lot faster than the spirit/mind/ soul. For us it wasn't just me - everything we went through gave my little one really bad anxiety bordering on PTSD. We got him a counselor that has worked wonders, but for all of us its a process. Some days are better than others.I haven't gone to a counselor yet, but I plan to over the next few months. I think that once you stop functioning on survival mode the full emotional impact hits you, and it takes a long while to sort out. You're not alone!
My grandparents were survivors of the holocaust. For a long time any time I felt depressed I felt so guilty that I could be feeling that way, when other people had it worse. The thing is, that other people feel worse doesn't negate what YOU are feeling. I asked a friend once when things return to normal, and she told me that they don't - life changes permanently once you've battled cancer. However, you DO find a new normal... a balance with who you are now. As for survivor's guilt I life with that too... so many friends that lost the battle, and here I am. I figure that living my life well is the best way of honoring them, and that includes taking care of my wounded heart.
You fought a war, and the scars linger. There is no weakness in seeking help. I have found my balance in a support group, but more and more in focusing in things that bring me joy - my son, my art, plans of the future. It took me three years to dare to dream about the future, but I do that again. I'd encourage you to talk to a counselor, to find a local support group and get back into doing the things that bring you most joy.
 Yesterday I walked my son to his first day of Middle School.  This was a milestone that I was not expecting to reach, as three years ago the initial diagnosis was that I would be lucky to stick around for two. I wanted to be there for his first day of middle school, for his first girlfriend. I wanted to be there for his barmitzvah, for high school graduation, and his wedding.  I didn't dare to dream that I would actually see any of them, but I really, really wanted to.

We have moved into a new, lovely home, where I can grow roses and my grandma's gooseberries. Where he has his grown up room and dreams of university and Paris (??), and the day we will visit him there when he's a working professional, either in quantum physics or acting.

Tomorrow - tomorrow is my 15th wedding anniversary. I still remember our vow renewal for our 12th - done casually with some of our beloved friends here.  I was afraid I would not be around for our 15th, and I wanted to make sure that we made those memories together.  Last week, just after we'd moved into our new home, a huge windstorm went through the province - lots of people without power ( ours was out about 5 hours) and our vegetable garden was hit pretty hard. All our tomato plants were destroyed, so after it was over we went over and collected every single green tomato.  We weren't ready to simply give up on them, after everything we had done to help them grow and produce their lovely fruit. We came home with about 50 green tomatoes, which have been ripening nicely on the windowsill of our new home.

I am choosing hope, and living for the future and whatever it brings. Tomorrow, tomorrow. I believe in my tomorrows.


  1. Good write up is this. Well you maintained the topic here. Expecting more from you here again.

  2. Hope is the only thing makes the world move. You are a courageous brave woman and everything you do and say is correct. Don’t lose hope and stay strong.