Foe


We’re coming up on three years that Michael’s cancer has been in remission, if you count from when he had his surgery – which, for the type of cancer he had, they do.  The farther away in time we get from it, the less often it darkens my thoughts.  I don’t want to live ruled by fear; on the other hand, I’m also afraid of being lulled into a foolish belief that it’s all behind us, that we paid our dues, only to have the rug yanked out from under us again.  So what’s the balance to strike?  I’m still not sure.  You just live, I guess, with a respect for the fact that life is unpredictable.

Cancer seems to be everywhere.  Just since Michael was diagnosed almost three and a half years ago, four people he or I have known have died from cancer.  The most recent was a former co-worker/friend of his who was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer after he was diagnosed; she passed away last night.  She leaves behind a husband, children and grandchildren (several of whom she was raising), and a lot of friends.

I didn’t even know her – met her a handful of times, that’s it – but the news this morning kind of threw me.  I keep thinking of the kids left behind who needed her, of the husband who surely must be feeling lost, and of all the grieving friends.  And I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind that that could be us.  It makes me feel incredibly fortunate and very sad and angry at the unfairness of it all, at the same time.

There’s no sense to it.  No justice.  Cancer steamrolls its way through families, willy-nilly, sparing some, destroying and taking others.  I can see how faith would bring a sense of comfort for some – to believe that, whether we understand it or not, there is a rhyme and reason to it all.  But I remain unconvinced, so in my view, it’s senseless and completely unfair.

But it’s true: none of us gets out of here alive.

RIP, MB.

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6 Comments on “Foe”

  1. Caryl Becker Phillips
    April 19, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    I will miss her. A lot.

  2. Vonda
    April 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Awww, sorry about MB. :( Cancer truly sucks. We have a family in our local Ds group, who have 3 children, Madison 5, McKenzie 4 and Aidan who is 2 with Ds and failure to thrive syndrome. The mom had a pain in her leg, and when they did a biopsy they found she had stage IV adenocarcinoma, which started out as lung cancer, and metastasized to her leg bones, pelvis, spine and brain. She was never a smoker, and had NO symptoms, other than a pain in her leg that wouldn’t go away. But she’s hopeful and always has a smile on her face. And boy does she loves those children. To think they will most likely lose their mother at such a young age is SO fricken unfair, and hurts my heart so much. She has been on chemo for the past year and a half, and the new tumors keep popping up in her lungs. Sigh. I will never understand.

  3. Meriah
    April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Yes. I’m sick of seeing all that and our kids getting leukemia too. Which is why I’m doing TNT. I have to do something.

  4. Alison
    April 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Yeah, there’s just not “fairness” in the universe, right? I think that’s the wrong measure to use, because if I start thinking about things being fair, I get bitter, and that ruins the life I’m living.

    I’m now just over two years from having my brain tumor diagnosed, and I’m trying to build my skills at living my life in this moment. We have no idea what’s going to happen. Right now I’m quite healthy. How much longer? No one can say. So I want to be living the kind of life that is meaningful and valuable to me every single day. That’s my goal.

  5. Audrey Tignanelli
    September 1, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    I just read your Colorectal Cancer Nightmare. I visited your site for a very different reason. I wanted to write an e-mail to Kelle Hampton and I saw your link. My heart goes out to you and your family. I totally get the “life is not fair” as I am a survivor of first Melanoma and secondly rectal Cancer. I understand the fall out lasts forever, as far as I can tell. I am nearing my four year anniversary of remission (you will notice I do not say wellness) and am just beginning to see glimpses of a future where I am well enough and my family is healed.
    Back to Kelle Hampton. I just read her book in one sitting. I read the viral birth story when Nella was born and I was ill and it was so painful that I could not follow. I did not follow the news or any other media that had the potential for causing any anxiety. I had enough of my own. I am sure you will understand. Anyway, I found the story very uplifting and it gives me great courage. Kelle Hampton did and does what she does because that is who she is and how she has dealt with an event that “rocked her world”.
    I know the book is about her survival and how she rallied her courage and her resources to save her family. I am trying to do the same thing. I only wish I had continued fighting with her enthusiasm even after I got the all clear from my oncologist. If I had, I would be a much happier person today and so would my entire family. The change you cannot see in her is the change from victim to victor. I saw it right away as I started reading and that is why I could not stop.
    I am sorry that I have to tell you this because it may sting: You do sound like a victim and you do seem to see Kelle through a cloud of bitterness and dislike. You sound bitter and you have every reason to be bitter but you are misdirected. Let us be tolerant of others and not suspect others of ulterior motives such as exploitation of circumstances and capitalization.
    I will pray for you, your Michael, your Finn and the rest of your beautiful family and I take a very great liberty, I know, by suggesting you try to “look for the good” and be happy knowing that the Hampton family is healthy and happy and that she has really helped me. I am now a victor and not a victim and that makes a world of difference.
    Thank you if you read all of this. I never did support groups either so this is my first connection with a family struggling with the horror of Cancer.

    • Lisa
      September 1, 2012 at 1:35 am #

      With all due respect, and hopefully with as much empathy and sensitivity as is called for here, I am sorry to tell you this, because it may sting: you sound self-righteous in your comment. I’m glad for you that Kelle has inspired you and encouraged you with her story; she has undeniably done so for many people. She has also, however, done just the opposite for probably just as many people. She seems to be a very polarizing force; many people find her – at least the “her” she portrays – to be charming, positive, and a wonderful role model. Others find her to be shallow and self-absorbed and find it baffling that she’s seen as such a hero when, really, what has she had to overcome? You should read the reviews of her book on Amazon – that’s a pretty good sampling of the feelings on either end of the spectrum regarding the Kelle Hampton Phenomenon.

      You – a perfect stranger – telling me I’m a victim and not a victor means very little to me. If you knew my whole story, you might not think that, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you or anyone else thinks. I know what I’ve faced, what I’ve risen above, where I’ve stumbled, and what I continue to struggle with, and in the end, I know I’m not a victim.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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