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A Slap in the Face


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So, Dad was diagnosed in March of 2006, and we have ridden the rollercoaster this entire time. It has truely been a ride I wouldn't want to repeat, and wouldn't wish on any other soul. We have been through the ups (tests show a type of cancer that responds to chemo, no mets, phlem going away, a night without throwing up, etc., etc.) and we have been through the downs (large mass, test after test, nausea, cough, weakness, emotionally strained, superior vena cava syndrome, possible dimensia, etc., etc.). Our story is not unlike many out there.

However, it has been most recently, upon receiving the good news of remission, that I, and more-so my mom had what I like to describe as a real slap in the face.

Starting on that dreadful day in March, where we sat in oncology waiting rooms, piecing together puzzles as a mere effort to make any other thing be in our mind besides CANCER, we now live a cancer life. Cancer will always have some form of control over our lives. Of course it sounds dreadful to live between checkups, but in some regards it feels like that is what we do. Our oncologist said it the best, "You have to learn how to live with the new normal."

We tried at first to put on the rosy glasses, and wait for the day when the doc would make it all go away, and we wouldn't have to think about it anymore. That was a figment of our imagination however. We have to think about it in order to not think about it....does that make sense?

Now, I dont' want to sound grim, and I don't want to sound like we are giving in to this bast*rd of a disease, but I am willing to admit how very, very niave I was about this disease.

I am so thankful to have you all here to be my "cancer family" as I hate the thought of living every day with this odd control and no way to take that control back for myself. I know I am rambling...and for that I apologize. I hate to admit that in the wake of our happiness, in the shadow of our excitement, there is this slight aching feeling for it to be the old way, the way it was. It never will be.

Thanks for letting me vent. I try not to do that too much, but sometimes my mind wanders out of control. Control, control....maybe I just have an issue with control!!

God bless,

Jen

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Jen,

I think you expressed the feelings all of us have at one time or another, or maybe even all the time.

Everyone tells me this is the "new normal", and I get that. But I too wish for my "old normal" back, when every moment isn't somehow overshadowed by cancer.

I thank god for the good people on this board every day, without them .... I can't even imagine.

Tracy

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Thanks Jen. You know I miss the old and the new normal everyday. Wish i could have either one or the other because this one sucks big time. :(

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Jen, we ALL want our old lives back. I know I MOURN the loss of my old life. I understand the 'new normal' and that this is the way it will be forever...............God willing. I try to not allow cancer to rob any more of me than it has........but it has taken my naievity. I no longer can just believe that everything will be okay, ya know?

So somehow we must come to terms with the fact that this is the way it is NOW and go on from there. Difficult some days...........you bet! Does it beat the alternative..............you bet! Is it fair that things aren't the way they were before.............no way! But this is the way it is. Hopefully we can all find our own peace in that.

Keep your chin up. You won't feel this way EVERY day, Jen.

Kasey

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Jen,

You have unfortunatley for all of us, hit the nail on

the head. I talk about mine and Alan's "New Normal"

all the time and how our life is lived in 3 month

intervals. the 3 months betweeen his scans and the

week of HE :twisted::twisted: that follows waiting

for results. After his last scan it was almost 4 weeks of HE :twisted::twisted: as we lived through

scans and a biopsy. However, after 18 months we have

falled into a rythym that is comfortable for the 2 of

us. Yes, like you, I always seem to be looking over my

shoulder to see how close the monster is to coming

back into our lives, but then again that is part of

my "new normal"

Continued prayers for you and your family

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I too like Randy, wish I could have the "new" normal back. I do not want her to suffer, but I miss her more and more with each day. I miss taking her to chemo and visiting with everyone there. She was so proud of how well she was doing. Oh and Jen, I will take your prayers anytime (referring to the other post).

Hugs and Prayers

Connie

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Jen I couldn't of said it any better myself. This is our norm now. There isn't a day that goes by without me thinking about the word cancer. It is something that I and my whole family has to deal with on a a daily basis. Even when my mom makes it to the 5 year mark. It will always be in the back of my mind, put on the back burner for simmering. The test will never go away the will always come every 6 months or so.

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Jen, I hear what you are saying and I completely understand. I think under the circumstances you have gotten the best news you can get. And it feels sad that you cannot fully celebrate and rejoice in the good news. And reality is sinking in. :cry:

But don't let this dark cloud linger for long. You DO have reason to celebrate. Dad is beating this damn disease. The war may not be over but please be happy for this victory.

As Randy and Connie have stated, many people on this board would be happy to have the new normal back. What if last March instead of the cancer diagnosis your dad had a heart attack and died? Wouldn't you rather have this new normal? Yes, this new normal sucks! But it could be so much worse.

HUGS! Hang in there!

Karen

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I found this quote sometime ago and thought it quite appropriate:

"An individual does not get cancer, a family does." ~Terry Tempest Williams

I thought it was VERY appropriate and used it as an opening on a website that I created and we used to keep each other up to date during Dad's journey. I often remind Dad that he was not alone in his battle -- we (his entire family) were very much along for the ride. He was in the driver's seat but we were very much right by his side, no matter what!

I too long for the days prior to his diagnosis - the old saying "ignorance is bliss" truly applies in many, many ways I suppose.....(sigh).

I think the key to success and not letting cancer control your life is definately learning to "live with it". Its a hard battle - but one we all must conquer!

God Bless,

Cindy

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So, so true! I hate the roller coaster! I hate the uncertaintyI I hate that I have to accept this as my new normal or go completely nuts in an insane kind of way. Seriously!

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Jen,

You're right, the "new normal" sucks, and it seems like everyone agrees. However, maybe we can all learn from these experiences. We can learn how to be more compassionate, how to cherish every moment with our loved ones, how to understand others, how to be supportive. The truth is, one never understands what it's like until they walk in your shoes. And maybe God choses us to walk in these shoes for a reason.

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Thank you all for your words. I cannot tell you what they mean to me. I hate riding the teeter-totter, but knowing I am not bobbling up and down by myself has certainly helped!

Keep the posts coming...they give me peace!

God bless,

Jen

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A good friend, who had colon cancer that metastasized to her liver, and was given less than a year to live (she is now more than 25 year survivor!) once said,

"Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are on an island you can never leave." Of course, you have lots of company on that island. But the quickest way to test that statement is to talk with someone who has never had cancer or never personally touched by it. You feel very fast that you ARE on the island to stay and that person can come and go as they please.

It IS a matter of accepting the new norm or not. One chooses to be happy or not. Don

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It is unfortunatly a real fact for all of us who have had cancer or any real tragedies, experience.

There's no going back. The bubble that you lived in before has popped.

It's all about what we make of it, our new normals...

Life can be good again, just never the same. There comes a time when all of "this" becomes a part of us...and for a long time, all some of us can do is take thing in bite sizes one moment at a time...

Sometimes I really dispise people who are oblivious to loss and pain and the "real" monsters in this world such as disease and dispair....they are just so frigging happy :wink: and clueless aren't they? LOL

Other times, often I am thankful that I have this new perspective now...it makes living life so much more meaningful and I am so connected to the things in life that are SO valuable and important.

Before it was the right outfit, the right job, the right car or materials that I strove for....

Now, it is family, love, support, and those precious precious memories that we make everyday that we open our eyes and go out into this uncertain world...

OH, I'm sorry... this is a great topic that has hit home with us all...I didn't mean to just go off here...

Enjoy this time, your dad, your family....

Many many hugs,

K

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Jen, reading what you wrote, felt like it was coming from me, outa my head, just like everyone else here. It's crazy, isn't it? To think it'll never be the same again. I remember six years ago, when mom was diagnosed, I'd go to sleep thinking of my mom and this monster, wake up and feel normal for about three seconds, only to actually almost feel a literal slap in the face when it all came flooding back to me. What an ill terrible feeling it was.

Katie, everything you said too, so very true.

Christy

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