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."

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Losing Roles

I realized, a couple days ago, that I’ve saved every email I’ve received from a person since my diagnosis. This was entirely subconscious. I was aware that my inbox has 1500 messages. I thought the messages started back in 2001 when I opened the account and moved to NY.
I do have some from 2001, but only the really memorable ones.
Apparently, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I stopped being so concerned with the contents of my inbox. I had a precious, small amount of energy that needed to be conserved. I don’t think my email was high on the priority list.
With a sickness that causes the level of fatigue I have, I quickly prioritized where I would use my energy. Deep house cleaning went out. Our Aunt, Becky, offered to clean for us. She’s been a huge blessing.
The cleaning was not completely about a messy house, our version of “messy” is clean for a lot of houses. It was about keeping issues out of our marriage. Every sick woman should have a housekeeper.
Mowing the lawn. Taking out the trash. Most the “man” duties that I was happy to complete before, I decided were not my problem. I continued to take care of my family’s health care and anything my son needed.
I also, at some point, stopped cooking. The nausea and fatigue were too much to even look at food. My family got fed anything from a can or in a box.
Simultaneously, I lost my roles as career woman, bread winner, party girl, house keeper, grounds keeper. I lost the ability to be the wife and woman I thought I would be. I was no longer a cook or caregiver.
I lost friends.
I haven't been able to coach my son for a complete season. I wasn't able to coach my niece. I would really like my husband to do these things on his own. It's always been me pushing for that kind of involvement, but I think he gets how important it is to xander. Xander needs something he can rely on for stability and enjoy.
I think I can convince my husband to sign him up for basketball this year and to help coach. I'll make it worth his time.
I really struggled with what roles I had to give up as a cancer patient. It’s something I’ve dealt with long ago in the past. It was the cause of many tears.
I felt useless, inadequate. I felt like I was dewomanized, and on some days, I felt dehumanized. Supportive, loving friends and family help in this transition process. They are what need to be focused on when this time in a person’s care rears its ugly head.
So maybe, someday, I’ll break out my written history of the past couple years, but for now, I’m going to stick to the simple steps I’m taking.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hillary,
You are so loved and admired by people you don't even know.
None of us needs more housework, yardwork, or cooking chores. You are right to put these things aside and concentrate on yourself and your family.
Don't worry about those things. Trust me, they will always be there.
So for now, just keep doing what you are doing, smiling and getting stronger every day.
Carol

Brynn said...

You didn't lose me! I am your friend and you have lots more routing for you! I love reading this everyday! It's like I'm talking to you!
Keep on keepin on! :)