Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Leaving Your Mark...

We found this inukshuk on the beach a few weekends ago, made by someone else who’s been out to enjoy the wonderful scenery. As I searched for a photo to go with this blog entry, an image about marking one’s passage seemed appropriate.

Even the mention of the word cancer is enough to send most of us into a tailspin. Having many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer while my family doctor was away on vacation with no one to cover for her made the last 5 weeks a haze of fear and doubts. It was sleepless nights with enough internal pain to be uncomfortable, but never bad enough to justify the long waits in the Emergency department at the hospital. Not knowing what was causing the pain and other symptoms meant wondering if something was getting worse while they ran tests or left other things until my own doctor got back. I finally found out late Friday that my ovaries look fine. Now it’s on to more tests, some physio and slowly ruling out other things until they find out what is causing all this discomfort. Some of the stuff is so unrelated that I think my doctor is tired of trying to find a correlation. Perhaps it is actually several things going on at once...

Nick still insists that my warranty is running out... but so far, I haven’t smothered him with a pillow.

I read about Dani being so honest and sharing her own fears earlier this year through her blog. I know now what kind of relief you feel when something that scary is ruled out. I have other brave friends out there in cyberspace, at Retreat and in our congregation who had to face the much harsher news that they did indeed have Cancer. They have fought such brave battles that I am in awe. This past month especially has made me wonder if I would cope with as much grace, humour and courage as they have.

I have wandered in that greyness of uncertainty. I have struggled with computer codes and wondered if there would be a point to revamping the site at all if the news was bad. I have hugged my daughters more and prayed that I would have more time with them even as our whole city mourned the loss of four 16 year olds in a horrible car crash. I have drawn, journaled, stitched, prayed, wept, wondered, hidden and finally emerged on the other side of this experience with the certainty that it is NOT about how many days we are each given, but how we live each one to the fullest. It is about how and what type of mark we leave on the world around us and in the hearts of those we love.

It is still frustrating in this day and age not to be able to walk up to a computer screen, let it scan me and have it tell me EXACTLY what is wrong. Picture a Hal type computer voice...

“Eat some dark, leafy greens today, Jen!”

“Time to stay away from the cookie with your tea, Jen.”

“That walk you did is toning your legs rather nicely, Jen.”

“You should put ice on that bruise, Jen.”

“Your iron’s a little low, Jen. Time to go out for some liver.”

“I think you need a hot bath and some chocolate, Jen.”

“You’re thinking too much again, Jen. Go get some sleep!”

If I keep telling myself to just put one foot in front of the other each and every morning, and never go on a chocolate-free diet, I should be fine.


tkdchick said...

Awwww Jen, I have a very good idea of what is going on in your head. Its really hard to go around pretending nothing is wrong. I did that for a few weeks... thought I was saying little at times the people close to me and around me knew that something was wrong.

You have been in my thoughts lately, as you've not been as "out there" as you have been for many years. I had a feeling something just wasn't right.

Fingers crossed for you that nothing is serously wrong!!!

Big hugs for the Dragon!

Nic said...

I empathise with the whole not knowing what's wrong thing - just knowing that something really isn't right. I have (after nearly four years) been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and most of that four years was spent waiting for inconclusive results to be repeated until they were ... well, conclusive I guess.

When I finally got the news this summer that everything else had been ruled out, my neuro commented I seemed psychologically well adjusted to the news - and I am, *now* - I'd been through the shock, the grief, the feelings of uncertainty. They are normal things to feel, and you can bet your last $$$ that those people of grace have felt them too. You can - and will, I have no doubt - work through those feelings and be able to face the challenges of resolving your health issues with your customary good humour and determination. You have a great family and support system, including us out in cyberspace!

My thoughts are with you.


PS One thing I found helpful to me was researching as much as I could about my symptoms. Much of my fear came from the unknown, and my arming myself with knowledge, I felt more in control.

Karen said...

I had my cervical cancer scare when my second child was 6 months old. It is in our family so I am a fanatic about my annual check-ups and my daughter is now too!
Because I am so anal I was lucky and mine was caught in the first stage. But in subsequent years other problems led to a hysterectomy at age 37. I am still vigilant and to date have been cancer free.
Not so with close friends and family. My neighbour is currently battling an aggressive breast cancer and I am helping her all that I can to deal with it. But it is definitely not the same as having it.
I have added her to my prayer chain and I'll add you as well, Jen!! Everything I do for her, I'll do in my mind for you!!
Karen in Barrie

Steph in Saint John said...

Big hugs Jen, you're in my thoughts and prayers

Maeve said...

well wishes for your health! Maybe if "girlie health stuff" wasn't such a taboo topic in our upbringings, it wouldn't be so scary when we feel like something is wrong. My prayers are with you.

ps, your site redesign is lovely :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer,

Just remember-
1. Chocolate contains anti-oxidents so don't cut it out of your diet.

2. Many years ago there was a young man who ended up paralyzed in an accident. he was visited by a Wrestler in the WWE who wrote him this poem, which I always think of at times like this.

God is on your righthand side
His love will see you through.
And some times when you lose your faith
HE still believes in you.

My prayers and thoughts are with you!

Stacey from NS

Barb said...

Does this mean that I should have sent chocolate in your package?

Hugs from Connecticut:-)

Lori-Ann said...

Hi Dragon!

I had a blast at BYC, and the chart launch/anniversary/SH visit was just awsome! It was nice to talk shop about design, and I'm so looking forward to retreat.

You can keep an eye on my "girly troubles" on my blog ;)

Your hard work was evident, appreciated, and you should be very proud. :)

Lori-Ann (ps- I loved your humor in your design instructions, lol)