Friday, April 17, 2015
Too Close To Home
A couple nights ago, I was laying I woke up in the middle of the night,
and thought "Oh crap....I bed some people found my post about
Mark thinking he had cancer really offensive."
I mean, the story was funny....but the fact that I spoke lightly of cancer might have been a sore spot for many.
That's what I want to talk about today.
I think one of the hardest things we have to face in life is our own mortality.
That, and the fact that everyone we love is going to die as well.
It would be so much nicer if we knew that at some point, everyone was going to win a new car.
That would be a much more pleasant reality.
I have often wondered if it would be easier if we just knew when it was going to happen.
If, when we were born, we came with a little tag that said "Expires in 2054."
At least then we could just live without worrying about it...until 2054, of course.
But, nothing in life is easy.
And there are no guarantees.
Something that has always been interesting to me is that even though we all know that we will die someday, it is something we really have a hard time talking about.
Of course, it's never fun to discuss something that is heartbreaking and painful, but we often bottle up our feelings about it, which, down the line, just causes us even more pain.
When it comes to disease, it is almost worse.
It's something that is always out there...but once it hits close to home, it becomes a horribly sensitive topic.
I used to joke about Alzheimer's all the time. I'm sure most of us have made some comment about "losing our minds" or "my Alzheimer's is kicking in again!"
I still do...(only when I say it now...there is a little part of me that is worrying it actually might be true.)
When a disease hits a family, it seems like it becomes the ""elephant in the room."
You don't know if it's appropriate to talk about it. You don't know if you will offend somebody if you bring it up, etc,etc.
When I wrote about Mark being convinced he had cancer, my intent wasn't to be insensitive. I have had family members die from cancer. My mother had breast cancer, Mark's mom lost her ear to cancer, it's everywhere.
What surprised me the most was his reaction to thinking he had this disease.
Rather than maintaining a positive outlook, and waiting to see the Dr, he had decided what his prognosis was (it was fatal) and that was it.
He had lost his will to fight.
This was shocking to me.
You know why?
Because everyone I have ever known who has and is currently battling cancer have been the strongest fighters I have ever met in my life.
These people are out there kicking this disease in the ass.
No matter what the prognosis is...no matter what they have to endure, no matter how crappy they feel...they are LIVING.
And they are so POSITIVE.
I stand in amazement every time I read a post, or run into a friend who is currently in treatment. They don't look defeated. They aren't feeling sorry for themselves. They are out in the world...doing their thing.
That is more than I can say for a lot of perfectly healthy people!
I think this goes for so many illnesses and diseases out there.
There are people fighting battles we have no idea about....because they are continuing to live their lives through their treatment, through their pain, through everything.
I faithfully watch the show Nashville (love this show) and one of the characters was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. He has been very hesitant to tell anyone about it...he doesn't want to be a burden. In this week's episode, his daughter asked him why he was ashamed to tell people about his disease.
That made him stop and think for a moment.
Was he ashamed of it?
He didn't want anyone's pity.....but why was he hiding it?
I think as a society, we are so trained to act a certain way.
There are things that we can talk about openly, and others that we can't.
For some reason, being sick sometimes tends to be something that becomes very personal. I understand that some people prefer it that way.
I do wonder, though, if we just felt more comfortable talking about illness and death (not meaning that all illness leads to death! Just the two topics!) if we wouldn't be so scared of them.
Unfortunately, both are a natural part of life. And the latter is something we are all going to face at some point. Not talking about it won't make it go away.
Maybe if it were a topic that weren't so taboo, it wouldn't feel so sad and scary.
I know that, if a person has suffered for a long time, death is often viewed as a gracious passing. The person is finally at peace.
Wouldn't it be nice if we were able to get to a place where we could view death as a beautiful passing, whenever it happened? If those who were left behind were able to just feel peace, rather than that pain of loss?
I know I would be able to accept it much more graciously if I were able to do that. (That one might be a long shot.)
And when it comes to illness and disease....I often wonder if, rather than becoming sensitive and upset, we start conversations and spread awareness. We create support systems for the ill and their families.
I didn't know a thing about Alzheimer's until I was thrown into it.
I wish I had had a support system in place then, because I had no idea what to expect or what I was dealing with.
It was so helpful to reach out to the people I could, who had been through similar experiences. And now, I hope I can do the same for others.
Anyway. I am sure each and every one of you has, at some point, been touched by the terrible beast that is cancer....or any other disease that has invaded you or a loved one's lives.
Even though I knew there was nothing wrong with my husband last week...it really did make me think. I made myself stop and imagine how life would change if we ever were put in that situation. How I would handle things if it wasn't me who got sick (because I knew I could handle that, and have actually thought through that scenario on several occasions before,) but him.
I had taken on the role of caretaker with my mother, but what would it be like if it were with my husband? How would I handle it if he wan't handling it? How do you fight for someone to get better if they won't fight for themselves? Would I be able to be strong enough for both of us and the kids? How would I manage to keep the household going if he wasn't able to work? These, and so many other questions went through my head, and I forced myself to think about it. It's a lot like making a will. We put it off, and don't want to think about it, because it's depressing, and we don't think we have to worry about it....yet.
I think the best thing we can do is take good care of ourselves, so that if we (God forbid) ever are faced with unforeseen challenges, we are well equipped to take on whatever comes our way.
When I'm feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted...here are a few things that get me through.
1. Healthy Food
2. Lots of Rest
3. Focus on your blessings.
4. Stay Positive and Calm (however you need to...read, meditate, yoga, aromatherapy,walk, go to your happy place. :))
5. Water with fruit infusions...all day long.
7. Dogs. (Animals will cure ANYTHING.)