Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Eyes of the Sick
Nobody likes to meet the eyes of the sick. I don’t know what they expect to see. Are they preserving my privacy or avoiding an underlying fear that I represent? I have no idea.
These are the eyes of Karen. She has stage 4 lung cancer. She is undergoing palliative (comfort) treatment for her disease. She will die. She’s done her best to be right with her maker. She continues to smoke, because the damage to her body has all ready been done. It’s a small comfort. She was diagnosed in June, and hopes to survive until her 50th birthday in January. She probably won’t.
Could you tell any of this from the picture?
What I have is not contagious. You shouldn’t be scared of what you see in my eyes. Yes, there’s pain, but there’s also strength. You’d be surprised how strong you can be when you’re tested. You just have to dig deep within yourself and hope you have a foundation that will get you through before it crumbles.
If this fails, get your game face on. Grin and bare it. I don’t think struggling any other way, such as whining, complaining, and worrying, are productive methods of coping. Venting, occasionally, yes. Throw yourself a pity party, but put a timeline on it, and get on with living.
I think it’s silly to waste my time scared of dying. If that’s what I’m doing with my time, I don’t think I’m living.
I think my biggest obstacle to remaining healthy is myself. It’s difficult to remain isolated. It’s difficult to turn away friends and not be able to hug my child.
But I’ve made an executive decision. No friend visits until after the period of engraftment. Once I no longer have to take my neupogen, then I can have you all trickle in. Don’t come to Boston specifically to see me. I can’t entertain you. I’m worried about what you’ve been exposed to, especially those of you who work in hospitals and schools.
I’ll keep my blog updated. You can hit up my cell. You all know where to find me. I still love you, and I want to love you for the rest of my long healthy life.
I’m ready to make sacrifices I wasn’t so ready to make the first time around. I think previously I still had a bit of my adolescent immortality. That’s been beaten out of me. I will do anything so my child does not have to grow up motherless.
This includes remaining in either my hospital room or hotel room for at least another two weeks. This includes only eating processed foods. I’ll attach my food restrictions sometime, just for fun. You don’t have to read it. I’ll wear my mask when I cross the “clean barrier” (i.e. leave my room). I will also wear gloves, wash my hands obsessively, and keep my space immaculate. It’s the least I can do. The end justifies the means.