In this cyberworld that I have recently created I have become friendly with other woman struggling with many of the same issues that I do — mostly how to be a mother and have cancer, and deal with both without losing your mind. I don’t know these women personally, some I don’t even know their real names. I have entered their lives through their blogs that are written from computers as far away as Israel and they have entered my life through the thoughts that I spill onto these pages. Having cancer can be an extremely lonely experience, one that plays with your mind and messes with your body. It helps to have these women around when your thoughts carry you inward to the war that rages daily in your head.
This war, which is not televised for the world to see, is mine alone; reason faces off against fear, living for the moment versus planning for the future. Thankfulness combats bitterness; joy struggles against sadness.
These woman –these virtual strangers–get that. They get it without having it explained. They know that I am “fighting” my disease every day and that the word “remission” doesn’t really apply. They understand that even though I may be alright today, that next week, next month, next year, the story could change and that that possibility remains constantly at the back of my mind. They understand how slight daytime aches turn to carnivorous cancer cells eating away at my body in the dark hours of the night.
One of these “Mothers with Cancer” that I blog about ,died last month. She was in her 30’s with a 3 year old child. Her death has gotten under my skin. I can’t get past the thought as I read her blog that she was fine one week, feeling OK, and then suddenly it was her husband blogging about how she passed away the night before. There is something very surreal about this act of blogging and dying. Blogging is a permanent record of who you are…and suddenly you are no longer. It is almost as if someone were to die while you are talking to them on the phone. Just like that.
These blogging friends I have are in all stages of their cancer. Some are in Hospice, some are living their own lives with no recurrences of the cancer, and some are in constant overwhelming pain. When I read the posts by those woman I am sad for them and scared for my future. As my oncologist said today when I asked her how I will know if the cancer comes back, she said, “cancer pain does not get better, it only gets worse.” The thought of someday living out my life on pain meds is very scary.
To the outside world, I look better, and yes, I do feel better most days. But know this, inside my head the war continues. I will not fall prey to depression or let the fears and anger be victorious over thankfulness and joy. I am too strong for that. But know that they are there, forever struggling to take over. Some days they make great advances for sure, and some days they even win battles, but they will never, ever win the war.