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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Friday, April 23, 2010

Personal Dissonance

Personal dissonance is a psychological term describing the difference between a person's self image and their actual abilities. 

I've been battling with my own personal dissonance recently. 
The funny thing about cancer is that the world doesn't stop once your diagnosed. Your own world may seem to stop. It certainly takes a big detour, but everything else, everyone else, keeps marching on.
There are still school plays and cupcakes to be made.
Overtime illness becomes another responsibility that needs to be maintained and not the apocalyptic catastrophe originally imagined.
My actual abilities change day to day based on how my many ailments disable me.
It's hard to pin down exactly what I'm capable of and how long I'll be able. I certainly have thought for a long time now that I was capable of doing things I was not physically capable of. 
Merging your ideal self with your real self is a normal psychological stage of adulthood (though I can't remember exactly who said it and what its called).
 It occurs when you realize all your childhood dreams may have been just that: dreams. Reality hits and you recognize you can't/won't achieve everything you thought you would. You know you'll never be an olympian. You'll probably never be president, famous, or even rich and successful enough to own property anywhere in Manhattan.
I'm there. I'm at that point in my life. 
It always surprises me when I realize I've reached some psychological milestone I read about in college that shows I've matured.
I don't need to look any farther than the mirror to realize I've aged. My patchy grays and forty extra lbs ensure that I'm not mistaken for a teen anymore.
I feel like cancer should have stunted me. I should be frozen in time with the phone to me ear listening to my CT report.
You know what? It's not so bad. It's almost a relief. 
I had so many goals for so long hoping to achieve something great that would outlast my existence and continue to spread good. 
But those ideas couldn't all happen. 
I can't be everything I ever dreamed I'd be. I'm not wonder woman. It's not humanly possible. It's certainly not possible with my illness. 
And I finally know that's okay. HOORAY! 
I wonder how much my disease and suffering has contributed to my acquiescence to the fact I'll probably never do any earth-shattering, history making deed.
 I think it certainly sped the process up by shortening my life span, which certainly limited my achievement options.
 If I don't live to 38 I can't be president, now can I? 
It's a normal life stage and I'm happy to realize, despite the obstacles, I'm content with how I realistically see my life. It isn't as full of acedemic achievements, high level degrees, prestiges/powerful jobs and world changing projects, but it is full of love and contentment. 
I call that a success, but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying to somehow alter humanity forever for the better. It just means I know I'll be okay if I don't. 


Loraine Ritchey said...

I read your blog everyday....I am so in awe of you, your ability to communicate, your courage and determination and your sharing.... I lost my son, Chris, a little over 4 months ago to HL. ( actually it was bloodclots as a result of being treated for H1N1) he had the two stem cells transplants and was on SGN35 at the time.

I watched how brave he was....I read Chris Alt delete blog and others who tell of their ongoing struggles with the "curable cancer" everyday...I cannot believe how wonderfully wonderful you all are.... You have each in your way touched my life even though I haven't met you and know this your words reach out and touch so many , you may not win a pulitzer but you have won our hearts.......Thank you Loraine

Anonymous said...

Hillary, I think you are shortchanging yourself. You are already having an enormous impact...your readers are more aware then ever of the effects of this disease, in all its varied nuances. That alone makes you special. You have shined a light on our deepest and darkest fears, and shown us that life indeed is precious and worth living.
Never, ever think you have not done great things. Your very essence has been so beneficial for so many, and you are clearly loved. What better legacy than that?

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing inspiring and strong person. Your blog alone shows your strength and courage. From reading your blog I can see that you have accomplished amazing things.....becoming a nurse, battling cancer, fighting for what you believe in and being an advocate for health care, having a loving supporting husband and family and the joy of bringing up a wonderful son!!!! Yes cancer sucks and was not in your plan but from reading your blog I believe you you have accomplished amazing things and will continue too accomplish more.
I have battled lymphoma for 7 years and have learned...."The most important things in life....aren't things!"
Now continue to Stay Strong and enjoy!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hillary, I read your blog as much as possible and Like Loraine Ritchey says, I too am in awe of have accomplished more than some 80 or 90 year olds...I hope you live that long, however, none of us know when our lives are going to end, and you make the most of every day..we should all learn from you, yet, we don't, we get caught up in sillyness. You are an inspiration to all who know you! I think of and pray for you daily!!! And you have the wisdom of someone much, much older than your years!

Dani said...

Hillary, thank you so much for posting this. You are an amazing, amazing incredible woman. You have accomplished much more than what many people who live to be 100 have not, in that you have found happiness and contentment despite facing some of life's hardest trials. Thanks for shining your light a little on all of us. We pray for and think of you often.