Keep Calm and Fight Like A Girl
I wasn’t sure if I was going to enter the fray this morning, but I can’t help it. I’m drawn, like a moth to flame today. My heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Florence who wrote The Right To Fight as it has spurred me on to write as well. For you see, it’s a touchy subject and although I’m not one to pursue it too much, I must today so please allow me to go on or you can choose to simply pass me by ~ it’s ok. The post will be read by those for whom it is intended.
Death is a subject that is controversial as you can see by Bill Keller’s recent article in the New York Times click here to read. It’s personal ~ the way each individual reacts to it and deals with it. For breast cancer survivors (I, myself being a 12 year survivor), it’s emotionally charged when we read an article about how an individual deals with her diagnosis, her treatment and how she reacts to her disease. Florence has written a great post which I will not repeat. Please make sure you read how she has reacted to the recent article by Mr. Keller.
Instead, I prefer to focus on Lisa Adams click here to visit her site. For when I read her About Page I was stunned by our similarities: we shared Memorial Sloan Kettering as our hospital, how our original diagnosis’ were much the same (although I had 6 lymph nodes with cancer) and it was my right breast and her left one which had the cancer. We endured the same chemotherapy treatments ACT, yet back in 2002, my treatments were every 3 weeks and not every 2 weeks. I endured 6 weeks of radiation, where she had 1 week less. We both lost and regained our menstruation cycles after chemotherapy as we were young when diagnosed. I was diagnosed at 34 years old; Lisa was 37 years. We both had salpingo oophorectomies (ovaries surgically removed) which of course, plunges young women, including Lisa and me, headlong into menopause ~ speaking for myself, since I’d already endured menopause as a side effect of the chemotherapy, only to have my period return which was hormonally hard to deal with let alone physically, mentally and emotionally, what was one more final round of menopause? Heck, I’d already lost my hair, my dignity and my figure let alone my breasts. What was harmful in losing one more thing that could be affecting my cancer prognosis?
But Lisa’s cancer, for whatever reason, came back and metastasized. Mine didn’t. It’s not that I still don’t have that possibility in the back of my mind because I’d be lying if I said that I don’t think about it. Every 6 months when I’m tested at my oncologist’s, I’m reminded that cancer can still be lurking inside my body. It doesn’t help when there are aches and pains which happen occasionally either as they tend to wither my resolve to stand firm in my thinking that I will live forever cancer-free.
Lisa’s public journey through metastasized breast cancer is new to me as I had never met her before nor visited her website. But I highly applaud her perseverance, her integrity and her drive to lift the veil and to share what’s really going on behind the pink-ribboned spectacle of breast cancer. Much talk is about prevention and early detection, but rarely do we read/hear about the women in the trenches who are battling death daily. My friend Jenn was such a warrior who lost her battle a few years ago. It was Jenn who told me through a medium that one must know her limits at the end of her life and to make sure that I knew what I wanted. I never forgot that message nor the one that told me that my scans were clear, clear, clear and that I now walked for 2 ~ me and you.
I believe we all have a right to choose how we deal with our imminent death (if we are given such a gift) ~ we can choose like Keller’s father-in-law to go peacefully or we can choose like Jenn and Lisa to battle with a fierceness known only to few. Whatever you choose, I stand for you and I fully defend your individual right to choose. There is no right or wrong way to die, it’s a personal matter. I heartily applaud Lisa’s courage in sharing her journey with us. My heart holds a heaviness for all she is enduring as well as her family and all the others out there in our great big world who are dealing with dis-ease and the ending of life as we know it here.
P.S. See below for posts about Jenn…Happy Birthday Jenn (Jan 13 she would have turned 38)