- Midwest, USA
- May 20
- At the midpoint of the journey's life
I found myself lost in a dark forest
with no straight path I could see anywhere.
M.L. Rosenthal's translation of Dante's La Commedia Divina
Diagnosed with ovarian and bladder cancers, I received an entirely new subject for writing and a challenge to intensify the second half of my life.
MY RECENT POSTS
- The Value of a Life
January 26, 2015 08:08PM
- The Ideal Comprehensive Cancer
September 18, 2014 09:07PM
- Cancer as Teacher
July 16, 2014 08:56PM
June 24, 2014 09:38PM
- Another Body Part Goes Rogue
June 14, 2014 11:14AM
MY RECENT COMMENTS
- “These are lovely--I'm
jealous! Very glad that you
are able to
January 26, 2015 08:27PM
- “A lovely post, MH. Happy
Anniversary to you
January 10, 2015 02:52PM
- “Well said--you're lucky
(as you know) to have
December 07, 2014 06:49PM
- “Glad your writing is
being shared with another
October 29, 2014 08:35AM
- “I used to have a friend
who made decisions based on
this was a one-time
October 29, 2014 08:30AM
- MY LINKS
A friend died last week—of many things, cancer among them. She won’t have the treacly obit about how she courageously battled cancer, though she did, and has been in remission for more than five years. But the last few months, she’s gotten too tired and sick to fight everything else… Read full post »
OS friends: I've been asked to think about designing a comprehensive cancer center. I have no real power, but my input was requested, so I've started a list. I'd be grateful for ideas that you--especially cancer survivors--have to add before I turn this in. Many thanks!
Basic assumptio… Read full post »
I’ve had a rough week and have not responded well in my head or my heart. (My body seems to be fine, always a relief.) My responses to events have been less than what I would have preferred—which is to say, not perfect. Regardless of what I know intellectually… Read full post »
Two X-rays of my left breast were hanging on a light box when I walked into the room on Monday. Surely I’ve seen X-rays of my breasts before, but what struck me this time was the way the white strands and clusters resembled the Milky Way. And there, circled… Read full post »
This week I had the annual mammogram. Because I have had ovarian cancer, I am at greater risk of breast cancer (also colon cancer). I tell this to the tech, and also mention that I have dense breasts. “Be brutal,” I tell her. “I want it to be clear… Read full post »
They were afraid of a serious reaction to the poison, something beyond gradual cell death and destruction of gut flora. So I duly reported the growing prickliness and numbness on my face, to which the nurse responded kindly, “Oh, honey, that’s just nerves.”
&n… Read full post »
Reporting in: It’s been more than a month since the last surgery, so I’m cleared to drive and return to work, though I suspect I still have some of the anesthesia roaming around my cells. I’m not back to eating as usual (that’s not a bad thing), and I… Read full post »
I’ve not posted for a while, because frankly sometimes I get tired of my own drama-trauma. About this time seven years ago, I began really worrying about the growth in my abdomen and the consequent pain, though it would be several months before surgery and then a confirmed diagnosis… Read full post »
In my youth, we called them “prayer warriors”—godly women and men known to spend time in prayer. Now, in a liturgical church, we say “Prayers are available at the healing station.” There’s a wooden icon of Madonna and Child that feels Renaissance in its style…
When I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, more than six years ago now, I did not expect to live much longer. The odds were stacked against me: stage IIIB, classified as late stage, harder to treat. One of my thoughts was that at least I would have time… Read full post »
“And just what was so wrong about her?” my friend asked with some anger after my mother, whom he’d met twice, died.
How can I explain that her smother love wasn’t for me? That what was wrong wi… Read full post »
For a week or more, I have been touchy and weepy and jittery and grumpy. In other words, I was facing another cancer check-up. The night before, I had medical nightmares; things went very wrong. I would like to think that cancer would leave me alone, but it does not,… Read full post »
This week I talked to a lawyer about the possibility of bringing a suit against my urologist for medical negligence. It’s a non-starter, partly because at least in my state, maybe nationally, there’s a one-year statute of limitations for malpractice. Unless I find out… Read full post »
Right now, Regency romance novels are getting me out of my own life. Any chick lit is good (and I do not mean by using that label to denigrate genre fiction), but the stories set in Regency England have the advantage of another time and place. Language differs too;… Read full post »
To call the bike pink would have been an insult. It was more the color Crayola called thistle, a purplish cast to the paint, not a boy’s bike, certainly, but not a sickly sweet girly bike, either. It came with training wheels, even at 24 inches. My parents would… Read full post »
“It’s best if you can just be still after the surgery,” an acquaintance counseled, when I asked for advice about how to deal with the impending removal of my left kidney.
This woman donated a kidney several years ago. To call us friends would be stretching it, but… Read full post »
I last went to Florida during late winter of 2008, after two cystoscopies that led to a diagnosis of Stage I, noninvasive bladder cancer. It was my second cancer, the less dangerous one to offset the scariness of Stage III ovarian cancer, for which I’d finished chemo… Read full post »
In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, when the king unjustly accuses his wife, Hermione, of unfaithfulness and condemns her to prison, she asks,
Who is’t that goes with me? Beseech your Highness
My women may be with me, for you see
My plight requires it.… Read full post »
The month of October will be swathed in pink, as if for a national Christo installation. I am not opposed to fighting breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer. I just wonder if anyone knows that September is National Ovarian Cancer Month, or that our color is… Read full post »
“Sorry to crap in your Cheerios.”
No, this was not a glib apology I recall from a boy in junior high. This sentence fragment came from my urologist, an eternal boy who will be talking like this when he is seventy. He’s a sports nut, a gambler, a… Read full post »
“You do not feel well,” said one of the pharmacists as I slowly walked to the back of the drugstore clutching my scrip.
“You look like you’re walking the Green Mile,” another pharmacist offered.
If I’d felt better, I might have smiled for them, but walking was al… Read full post »
When a friend went through chemo several yars ago, I tried to be helpful. When I went through chemo myself, I apologized to her. I did not know, could not know, what it was like. So here’s a list for those of you who want to help, a… Read full post »
“I don’t need you to worry for me, ’cause I’m alright.
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home.
I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life.
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.”
Billy… Read full post »
Journal entry February 29, 2008
I think I’m depressed, possibly a phase of grieving, even though the biopsy says the bladder cancer is noninvasive. I’m facing (just a bit) the reality of what this second cancer means in terms of follow-up, circumscribing, the sense of a door closing on a… Read full post »
“And after the chemo ended, she lived happily ever—for six months.”
I determined that if I had less than five years to live, I was going to live them on my terms. I took a few vacation-celebrations with friends, ate a lot of celebratory meals, saw a dermatologist and got… Read full post »