Tag Archives: cancer

The Weariness of Cancer

October 6, 2004

Hi, Kat:

You must still have been in your “stampede mode” when you wrote me this morning. Hence the “howdy” salutation!

Let me begin by saying that I am having a bad day…emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I am grateful I am able to tell you so freely. Thank you for that, but take that into consideration when you read the rest of my e-mail.

Wow, you really can get through a book quickly! “Lovely Bones” was a difficult read, but I found it interesting with the author’s perspective of death, living, the beyond, and those left behind. I have a different book for you when you return – “The Red Tent.” I think I told you about that one as well. It is totally different then the two you have recently read.

I don’t want you to feel pressured to tell me anything about the sexual incident, but I felt you opened the door by asking me to define the difference between harassment and molestation. I know you don’t ask any question for no reason. I knew there was something behind it, but I respect your comfortableness in sharing and will wait for you take the next step. But, don’t be surprised if I ask if you are ready because I know sometimes you need some “nudging.” ha ha.

As far as the weekend goes, you only need to bring yourself, a change of clothes, and an open mind. Boy, I bet I got you wondering even more now! Good…sometimes I like to leave you guessing.

I know that you wish I wouldn’t have seen the list, but I also feel so honored and privileged that you chose me to share it with. It helps me understand you a little more and it shows me why God brought us together. I will leave it up to you on what you want to do with the list from this point on. Just don’t lose faith in the process of healing that you are going through. Trust in God and our friendship. Those three things are strengths you can use as you move forward in your journey of healing.

I wish I could help you “unload” every night from stuff hat happens and you can start the next day fresh and new. I would like to do that with you when you get back from vacation, but again I leave it up to you. I do think that a lot of your current reactions to your parents and Alex is based not only on the current encounters, but a lot of stuff you have carried for a long time. That is why I think it is important for you to talk about it and process it. See the whole picture and not just the dark, ugly, bad part of it. If I can do that for you, great. I know how helpful it was for me to do that for myself.

You know me…I’m not always serious although this past week may not seem that way. Part of it, I believe, is my medication and the other part is just trying to get through the day. No, it wouldn’t be interesting to watch me get emotional. I usually do that in the privacy of my home, but it is getting harder to keep it in until I get home. The reason I tell you all this is because you interact with me so much on many levels that I felt you needed to know what may happen. You didn’t have the opportunity two years ago when I went through cancer (be grateful), but you will see me now.

Sometimes, it’s not a pretty sight and I try hard to protect you from that, but I also know I can’t. I don’t want you to get hurt because of some random comment or behavior I make. So promise me that if you see something out of character for me, call me on it. I care about you too much to not want to know if I have done something wrong or to hurt you. Please promise me that.

Well, enough of all that. So until I talk to you again via e-mail, IM, or the phone…have a good night or day (depending on when you read this). Know these things: God loves you, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily, and you matter.

Until later,

Greta

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Serious, Funny, Either Way I’m Good.

October 6, 2004

Howdy, Greta!

First, don’t ever think you have to hide things from me. Just so you know, I can usually see it anyways. I just don’t say anything. I like to check every now and then that you’re okay. I know you’re a “big girl” and can handle it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t worry about you to some degree. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t! So stop being stubborn. That’s my job.

I’m towards the end of “Lovely Bones.” Haven’t finished it yet. It’s very different. It’s difficult to read because of the harshness of what happened. But don’t worry about the book having a bad effect on me. It hasn’t.

I know that severe sexual harassment doesn’t quite categorize what happened to me and it doesn’t matter necessarily, but I didn’t and don’t know what else to call it. Not a big deal. At some point I’ll share my whole story with you. But it’s going to take a lot of strength on my part. I’ve never talked about it before. Alex knows some very basic things, but not everything. Just enough to get me by without having to answer questions or explain things. Some of it, I’ve never told him. I’ll do my best with you.

As far as getting away for a weekend, I don’t think Alex would mind at all, as long as it doesn’t cost much. He’s pretty good about stuff like that (I think). He’s fine with it as long as he knows what I’m doing and who I’m with and that I’m not getting drunk somewhere. Now you’ve got me curious.

Part of me wishes I could take that list back that I sent you. I feel immensely vulnerable and very exposed. It was hard to write it, yet it helped calm me down a bit because I got it on paper and out of my head. Writing things down helps me to let go…to let my mind stop thinking about it because I’ve recorded it and can go back to it anytime. Does that make sense? I do that with everything, good or bad. You should see how many journals I have written in, plus lists I’ve made before bed and so on.

Which brings me to your second e-mail about being serious. I know that’s not your intentions. I’m always thinking so that’s not an issue. Writing you e-mails helps me get it out since I can’t see you and talk to you. Don’t worry, you’re not causing me emotional upheavals while I’m here in Myrtle Beach. I’m actually relaxed, though distracted. I noticed it today. My mind isn’t always here and focused on what’s going on. I felt bad about it today. Of course, I’m usually a bit spacey. But I thought a lot tonight and realized that I need to pay more attention to my parents. I think they were feeling neglected and pouting tonight. Not because of you or anything to with any of this. It’s that Alex and I chose not to hang out with them for a while and instead be by ourselves.

I’m fine with talking about serious things through e-mail. It lets me get them out. But it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. I usually am worried because I’m always writing you novels about what I’m feeling and thinking. Sometimes I think it’s too depressing and morose to talk about, but I’m fine if you’re fine!

It should be interesting to watch you get emotional, especially since that’s not your common nature! Although, sometimes I’ll take the cranky over that since I don’t like getting emotional much. Don’t worry about how you’re acting at all. The e-mails that you send me actually make me feel that you care.

Well, I”ll stop babbling since it’s 1am and I need to get to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Have a good night/day. Sleep well and I’m always praying for you.

Nightie-night.

Kat


I Didn’t Tell Mom, But I’m Praying For You

 

 

October 4, 2004

Well, hello Moonbeam [Kat]!

Thought I would try a nickname for you. Not sure I am going to stick with it. I am hoping by the time you read this  you will have gotten my voice mail message on your cell phone and we have talked a bit.

I had a good time with my Mom, but I didn’t tell her. She was just so happy to see me and spend time with me that I decided to wait until the first month of treatments are over. She really didn’t have a lot for me to do. Of course, it rained all day Saturday, but I did get to take her out for dinner for her birthday.

I am here all alone. It is very quiet without the three of you at work. I am getting some things done today, but it seems everyone is looking for Al today! Of course it works out that way.

Nothing planned for this week. I have homework to work on tonight and tomorrow and then dinner with a friend on Wednesday. I have class on Thursday and Friday then I will be getting ready to go to New Jersey for the weekend. Everyone is supposed to be getting together for my sister’s and mother’s birthdays.

You were on my mind a lot yesterday, even during church. Never really did hear the sermon, but prayed for you. I hope it helped.

Believe it or not, I actually miss you. Okay, don’t get teary-eyed on me…ha ha.

Hey, I just got done talking to you on the phone. It was good to hear your voice. I would like to talk more about the eating issue and your Mom, if you are up to it when you get back. Maybe we can sort through it and get past it. I actually have eaten better and plan on walking at lunch and tonight. So that should keep me out of trouble…or not.

Have a great week away and don’t let anything get you down.

Tell Alex I’m jealous of your location!

Love,

Greta

 


Can We Talk at Lunch?

I heard what I didn’t want to hear. Greta had cancer. Again. I didn’t know her through her first bout with uterine cancer, but I had heard the stories. I knew it was going to be difficult. It was the last thing I wanted to hear that day. When she answered me, I panicked and ran, afraid to hear any more. My instinct was to pull back from our budding friendship to protect myself. I couldn’t go through that kind of heartache and lose a friend I had just found. It was better to cut myself off now before things went any further.

For a few days, I ignored Greta. Didn’t call her, didn’t e-mail her, and only uttered the barest of words needed to communicate at work. I confided in Alex about Greta’s cancer. I was afraid of losing her. Alex didn’t seem to concerned about it. He told me that everything would be okay. But I wasn’t so sure about that. I thought why get involved with someone if they’re only going to leave me?

Ding-dong! My e-mail blinked in front of me at my work desk. Sighing, I saw that it was from Greta.¬† Can we talk at lunch? Minutes passed by as I gazed at her question. It’s not that I didn’t want to be friends with her. I did. She was funny, sarcastic, loving, tender, gentle, but headstrong, determined, and opinionated. I had never met anyone quite like her. The problem was I didn’t want to go through the pain of losing her. My fear was that she was going to die from the cancer. I had no idea how bad it was or wasn’t, what the treatment was, and so forth. All I had was my late night Web MD searches on the Internet. By the way, not a good thing to do when you’re already paranoid and upset about a diagnosis. It gives you the bleakest picture possible. With trepidation, I hit the Enter button on the keyboard. OK.

Now what do I do? I had agreed to meet her for lunch, but my stomach was in knots. Again, I wanted to stick my head in the sand, and refuse to hear or see reality. Around noon, I wandered downstairs to her office, trudging along as though I were headed to my execution. Melodramatic? Probably. But you have someone you cared about and prayed for to come into your life and then be told they have cancer. All you hear are the bells tolling doom.

I sat at the little white wooden table in her office, our lunches heating up in the microwave. The air was redolent of spicy tomato sauce and melting cheese. Spaghetti leftovers. I stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact. She heaved a sigh and sat down heavily beside me.

“Kat…I know you’re upset. Talk to me. Let’s work it out together. What’s going on with you? Please talk to me. I know you’ve been avoiding me.” Greta gently touched my shoulder. I wondered if she could feel my trembles as I tried not to cry.

In a subdued, small voice, I replied, “I’m afraid of losing you. I’m afraid that you’re going to die. We just became friends and I don’t want to lose you!” A single tear slipped down my cheek. I was embarrassed by my lack of control of my emotions. I hastily swiped the tear away.

“Kat, can you look at me please?” I lifted my aqua eyes to meet her baby blue ones. Her hand was heavy on my shoulder, gently caressing, “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I’m here with you forever. My cancer isn’t that bad. Yes, it’s cancer, but it’s minimal and easily treated. You don’t need to worry.”

“Are you sure, Greta?”

“Yes, I’m sure. The doctor is calling Stage 1 uterine cancer, but she said it’s more like a half stage. It’s not even a full stage one. We caught it very early.”
She brushed another tear away from my cheek.

“What do they do for treatment? Do you have to have chemotherapy?” I asked, feeling steadier by the moment with her answers. I snuffled and snorted into a tissue.

“No. The treatment is hormone therapy. All I have to do is take some pills every day.” Greta smiled and stood up to get our lukewarm lunches from the microwave.

“Does it hurt? What’s the cancer like? Will the treatment make you sick?” The better I felt, the more curious I became. My mother called me the “why” baby when I was little because I asked so many questions. It hadn’t changed much as an adult.

“Yes, it hurts. I get really bad cramps and back pain. I also bleed a lot and it’s very heavy. The hormones do have side effects, but not like chemo. It’ll make me really tired and have less energy, possibly cause hot flashes and headaches. I’ve been through this before. It’ll be okay, I promise.” Greta set the plates down on the table. She grinned, took hold of my hand, and squeezed reassuringly. “Don’t worry, Kat. I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me now.”


I Can’t Hear You! Na, Na, Na, Na, Na!

There are moments in life when you don’t want to hear what’s being said. You want to put your hands over your ears, close your eyes, and sing loudly to drown out the words. Greta had acted strangely for the last few days. She was cranky, out-of-sorts, snappish. A ticklish dread formed in the back of my mind, but I refused to pay it any mind. If I ignored it, it wasn’t true. It’s like a child who closes their eyes and think that you can’t see them. I was the child closing my eyes.

I had only known Greta for three months by now, but it had been an intense three months. We e-mailed back and forth every day, multiple times a day. We talked every night on the phone. We started sharing our darkest secrets and our deepest thoughts. But I was skeptical of the friendship. I wondered if she would stick around for the long haul. Or was I a passing whim that would be dumped when things got too difficult or messy? It happened before and I expected it to happen again. Friends weren’t my specialty. Especially since Alex limited them once we were married. I never thought someone would want to be friends with me once they knew the “real me.” With Greta, there was an emotional draw, a bond that felt deeper than some friendships I had for years. It’s like we were making up for lost time. I panicked that I was going to lose Greta.

My car was in the shop getting new tires and an oil change. My husband, Alex, didn’t have the time to pick it up, so it was left up to me. Greta offered to give me a ride. We took a break from work in the afternoon and headed off to the car dealer.

“You’re awfully quiet, Kat. What’s on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?” Greta asked.

“Nah, I’m good. Just thinking.” My stomach clenched, full of wiggly worms boring nervous holes into it. I had a question to ask, but I didn’t want to hear the answer. I suspected what it would be and dreaded knowing the truth. I tried to convince myself that I was better off not knowing. I white-knuckled my purse straps as it sat on my lap.

We rode in silence most of the way. As the dealer was in sight, I told Greta that I had a question to ask her.

“Okay. What’s the question? It must be important if you’ve thought this hard about it!” She laughed lightly, chiding me for my silence on the car drive. She pulled into the parking lot and parked the car. I looked at her for a moment, worry pinching my brow.

I took a deep breath and blurted,”Do you have cancer again?” She started, surprised the sudden question.

“Yes, I do. I was waiting for the right time to tell you,” Greta replied quietly.

“Okay.”

I bolted out of the car and ran.