Thursday, July 26, 2012


I'm working on getting to see my wonderful OB/GYN to start talking about a baseline of information on my ovaries. Every time I think about my ovaries, they get this pinchy sensation that feels like "YES! Me!!" I'm just listening and going to get my team together to make sure that nothing nefarious is going on with those little suckers.

I'm sort of in this middle world where people still are uncomfortable with the whole 'cancer' conversation but we're on ground that feels much safer. It's much easier to talk to someone about cancer when it's not currently growing inside of them, right? I don't have judgments about it, it's just interesting to watch how other people react to my experience (and isn't that all of life, anyway? Having experiences and reacting to them?)

What I don't like, deep inside me, is that when people act sort of relieved that we don't have to have the 'oh that's too bad!' conversation, that I feel like the sum of the experience I had is inconsequential. It's not that I need any one to do anything different, I'd so much rather people are real in their reactions and exchanges with me (fake is awkward.) "Oh, it was just thyroid cancer, well that's good."

I just want to invite people who are reading that if you are uncomfortable in a situation, like meeting someone who has cancer, try asking really broad questions. "How are you feeling about that?" is a pretty good fall back question and I ask it probably daily to people I meet/interface with. Don't assume that just because you think you would feel a certain way about it, that's how I feel- just ask me! When I ask this question, I'm genuinely curious to know their experience, because I'm not trying to cope with mine, in that moment. It's okay to be uncomfortable, it's how we grow.

I am grateful to those folks who encouraged me to just make the call to my GYN, he's a great guy and I know he'll help me figure out a good route to take. I had asked for the CA-125 test and he's not a fan of it, so we're going to get together and talk about some other possible options. I don't think I have cancer, but my mother lost her ovaries at 25 and I really have no idea if any kind of cancer runs in my family- and given the amount of noise my ovaries have made over the course of my life it feels prudent to be on top of it.

Liz asked if I thought I'd need more, and more, and more testing as I go- and I had to really sit with that because I can see where someone might go in that direction. I don't land on 'anxious' about too many things and I feel like if I can check into it now, and if nothing's going on, create a baseline to work from, that's all I really need to do. I'll keep in the loop with my doc and maybe have checks when I have physicals or even annually, but I'm not going to fuss about this and demand scans I don't need and wrack up a bunch of stress and worry.

There is a 5K run that I am thinking I'd like to try to do- it falls two days before I leave for Shanti so I don't know that it's something that's realistic but I've never done anything like this before so what do I know about what's realistic? I know that it's a cause that's important to me (child trafficking) and I've been thinking about how I could realistically get started on an exercise program. Left to my own devices, my old patterns, it will never happen. I'll talk with my friend who is also training right now and see what her advice is.

A lot of stuff around my family relationships is coming up now finally, which is a lot of what I think this whole cancer thing was about- and it's interesting the movements that are happening when I felt very frozen before. All of my life I've felt (and really, been identified) as 'different' to my family. The whole 'black sheep' thing, which is fine- I am different, I live my life a different way, have very different values, whatever. I'm growing okay with that feeling of separation. Due to a lot of things, I also felt like I wasn't important to my family, and I am still working through those feelings. I had gone back and forth wondering if I should continue to try to pursue connection with my family and throwing myself up against this giant wall of expectations and demands without ever telling anyone that my feelings were desperately hurt, that I felt alone, that I was angry and felt abandoned and unimportant to them.

As I was moving through cancer, I started just talking to a few people and that felt exactly right. I was isolating myself, determining how other people felt about me without ever asking them, and while I do try to be as available as I can, life doesn't make it easy for me to be close with anyone in the family, really.

Add to this the intense drama I've been going through with my mother, and how insanely difficult and ridiculous that has been, and I've felt that I didn't get to have a 'family' like some other people do, that I was just going to have to wing this life on my own, pretty much.

I set some good boundaries for myself with regard to my extended family but what I wasn't doing was just reaching out, from one person to another, and sharing heart to heart. Cancer got me talking, I realized that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I am excited that I get to spend time with cousins that I love SO dearly and who I have really missed in my life. This isn't the end of the story, there is still so much junk to work out and I seriously need some therapy to wade through it all. In the meantime, I can have a place where it's easy- where it's just people who love each other spending time together without it meaning anything more than that - we just dig each other and it's fun to be together so we're doing it. I love it, and it makes my heart really full.

With regard to my mother, I had an intense and empowering conversation with her where I told her that I really need her to fight for me, fight for our relationship. I've been carrying it on my shoulders and taking care of her since I was a little kid and I am done with that- if she wants me in her life, she'll have to fight for me. I'm HER kid, not the other way around. I don't need to set down deadlines, or "You must do this or else" type of ultimatums. I just need her to take risks, be challenged, try hard, and do those things in a direction of wellness, and health, and wholeness, rather than drugs, and destruction, and manipulation. I'm almost 36 years old- I'm over it.

The reason I'm sharing these eensy weensy little windows into these very personal areas of my life are because this is the land that cancer came and tilled up. During that process of having cancer, new ways of seeing, relating, choosing, being- all tilled up from underneath the hard packed earth of my heart that historically, I only knew how to keep stamping my foot on in frustration. Cancer showed me the beauty of what's underneath and it looks an smells so good, I want to keep digging.

I want these fundamental human relationships in my life to just be easier, and for my heart not to hurt quite so much. I want experiences with my family that are delicious, and recent. More than anything, I want to feel seen, and valued, and important to my family, willing to risk things for. I have to continue do that for them, too.

I feel like this is a good start and I'm grateful that I could finally move all this intense energy in a direction that feels healthy and rewarding.

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