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Can You Hear the Laughter?


Kasey

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I can hear lung cancer laughing. I mean it! I can literally HEAR it. And through the laughter I also can hear the words - “I claimed one more young life.” I am not angry. I am beyond the anger and rage. Heartbreak and despair are also left behind. I am void. I am empty. For the first time I cannot find hope.

I have fund-raised. I have advocated. I have supported. I have grieved. I have been knocked down and gotten back up and made my voice heard. And now I am tired. Since my diagnosis in the fall of 2004, I have lost so many friends - here at LCSC and in person - far too many to count. In the last 2 years I have attended 7 lung cancer funerals. Some were members here we all knew and loved. Others were local folks who needed support and love. Of those 7, 5 were young woman, 4 of whom never touched a cigarette. And that fact alone makes lung cancer laugh in our faces.

TracyD was diagnosed 39 months ago. For those who don’t know it, she was my niece, goddaughter, friend, confidante, and now my hero. I did NOT introduce her to this board. She found it all on her own, poor thing The day I was reading her first post I thought how familiar the story sounded, only to discover it was MY Tracy. My heart broke a thousand times over - that she had to be here at all. And I cried. And then I rallied. And I rallied until this week. I rallied for Tracy, for myself, for as we all know none of us are EVER out of the woods, I rallied for the newbies, for the hopeless, for the scared. And today I can rally no more.

I don’t want lung cancer to win. But I honestly can’t imagine how I can do one thing to stop it. Today I am broken. One of the brightest lights in my world has been snuffed out. The grief I saw in the faces of those who loved Tracy just sent me to my knees. My arsenal is empty now. I’ve nothing left with which to fight. I hope the sound of this laughter never comes to your ears. It is a cruel and cynical laugh. So now my prayers get sent into a new direction. I pray that lung cancer gets knocked down so hard - never to arise again. That the survivors far outnumber those taken. So those of you reading this - it is your task now to rally your forces and pick up the challenge........for all of us......for Tracy.

Kasey

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With all you have been through and now with Tracy's death, I can understand why you can hear lung cancer laughing it's awful laugh. I understand why you feel spent. I have not heard the laugh yet, so I am hear to catch you and to hold you up through this awful time. Others here will as well.

I am thinking of Tracy today. She was a very bright light and in my short friendship with her she taught me lots. Cancer did not win against her. She is in heaven now and pain free. God, not cancer, rescued her when she needed it. I know she is up there now encouraging us all to go on and to enjoy every day the best we can.

Together we do make a difference and can mute out that laughter when it does make its appearance. And we will hold each other up when needed.

Many hugs to you Kasey

Sandra

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Dear Kasey, it breaks my heart to hear your pain. Remember we all at some time feel like we've lost "it," that spark that that makes us uniquely who we are. At those times, we feel like we will never get it back but you will. I promise you will. But I'm sorry for the time it takes. Take comfort in the fact that so many more of us are thinking of Tracy and of you and your loss. Take care my friend and be kind to yourself.

Judy in Key West

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Lung Cancer may be laughing now, but we will FIGHT the demon so hard that hopefully it will be begging for mercy and we can laugh back at it as we kill the beast.

We will all continue to rally and work extra hard, especially in honor of your Tracy.

Thinking of you and your family.

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((((((Kasey)))))

There are no words I can say to make any sense of all of this. Cancer MUST be stopped!!!

Please know that we all love you dearly and that we will do whatever we can to stop cancer from ever laughing again.

Hugs - Patti B.

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Hard to write cause I am crying now but I understand your pain Kasey!!!

I hope You have a very long talk under the stars tonight with Tracey and God and I hope it helps you find a little inner peace..

Always ave a shoulder to lean on and a ear to listen with....

Hugs and Prayers from Randy in NC!!

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Kasey,

Remember that no one knows the date stamped on their heel. Tracy lived her life to the best of her ability every single day. The fact that so many people grieve her is a testament to the person she was. Tracy was well loved and will be missed by so very many. It is a tragedy that her children will not have the opportunity to grow older and ask their mother all those many questions that young adults have. I am so very sorry for the loss of such a wonderful young woman.

I understand the emptiness, but you will rally again. This is one helluva setback, beyond the scope of comprehension, but Kasey, you will pull yourself back from this pit of despair. You are not the type to just lay down your sword and shield and go quietly into that dark night. It's just not you, my friend. You will take the time you need to lick your wounds and allow them to scab over, because that is how you work. You will let your friends support you and love you and help to refill your soul with the love you are so quick to share.

As my friend, Fay A pointed out prior to her death, in dying, cancer loses. In the end, Tracy won, she took the cancer out.

I sent you my phone number, please, call me if you need to. If I am not home, leave a message and I will call you as soon as I can.

Be kind to yourself.

xxoo,

Becky

PS I don't hear laughter, I think you heard wrong. Kasey, I hear the angels crying....

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Kasey (((HUGS)))

You may not be able to beat Lung Cancer but you give so much to the people who are suffering and the caregivers/children of people who are suffering. Without the Kaseys of this world Lung Cancer would be laughing in our faces but with them we are making a stand against this beast and one day we will beat it. You and I or our children or grandchildren may not be here when that day comes but you just have to know that you were a link in that very long chain of events leading to it being beaten.

Be gentle on yourself, Kasey.

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(((((((((((((((((((Kasey)))))))))))))))))

I don't have any words that can possibly make you feel better right now, so I'm just sending a lot of hugs your way. After all these years, I still feel the anger and hear the laughing. Please know I'm here to listen.

Ann

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I've been heartsick for you.

I just want you to know that I understand. I've heard lung cancer laugh many times, and I've lost my passion and momentum to move forward so many times...It would be easier to give in or disappear....

I have to take a step back and try to heal the best I can...

I hang onto hope...and I remember all the posts here...all of you who are living with and surviving LC...and how all those who are here and fighting need advocates on their side...need support during their cancer journey.

All of you help me move forward when I feel like I can't. Let us do that for you now Kasey...

One by one, survivors laugh back in LC face...that's how we go on.

You've suffered a great loss my friend. We are all here for you, weeping for you.

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Kasey,

I've read your post several times and wanted to reply, but couldn't find the words. Your pain is so raw and so deep that I don't have a response. I mean, what is there to be said that will heal this hurt?

Just know that I accept your challenge. You have done more than your share of advocacy and comforting and if you need to lay that down for a little while to grieve for your dear niece and all the others lost to this vicious disease, I will help to pick up the load.

Love,

Susan

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(((Kasey))) your post was so evident of the love you felt, the pain and heartbreak you are going through. I am so sorry dear Kasey.

I do understand what you were saying. I have heard the laughter. I have felt beaten down and mocked for my struggles. And I too have felt drained and empty. This is so natural when you've been hurt as deeply as you have. It's ok. You have been a mighty cancer warrior, strong advocate, friend, confidant and supporter. You have opened your heart again and again to so many people, most of whom you've never met, but you've loved them fully regardless. And time and again, we are forced to say goodbye to beloved friends, wonderful people who do not deserve the pain and suffering they've gone through. And instead of walking on unaffected you've taken each name and each loss as a scar on your heart. You've born your scars as a badge of honor and took them up as banners to fight for those who are weak, scared, those just entering the fight and for those who have fallen. But it has been a long hard battle. Every warrior needs time to nurse their wounds. Time to heal and be renewed. You've earned this time.

When Keith was fighting, I felt like I had all the strength of God and will power to fight this disease. When he died, that vanished. But I still felt the love and support of you and the other friends and family here at LCSC and I felt I needed to try and go on and help others so no one would have to feel my pain again. But again and again, lossing people I cared for so much, not only those who were with me my whole journey like Fay, but caregivers as well who left after their spouses died, like Don Wood, and then I again opened my heart fully to another cancer survivor. I started a friendship with Darrell, we talked every week, we laughed and cried, shared plans for an eventual visit etc... and when he passed, I was done. I couldn't do it anymore. I felt like I couldn't bear the weight of loving anyone again and possibly losing them. There is only so much pain a heart can take before it needs a rest.

But I can tell you from experience, that this pain makes the heart stronger. Loving so deeply of others, is something you can't turn off, even if you take a step back from the fight for a while. I did that. I couldn't bear to talk about cancer for the longest time. But I have always held all of you here in my heart and in my prayers. And I could not leave; not permanently. I read your posts silently for the past 2 years. So now it's our turn to pick up the sword and fight with your good fight on your behalf, until the time that you find you're no longer empty, that you in fact feel the need to fight again. It will happen. It happens because you love. And that is what makes you so uniquely Kasey, so special and so loved in return.

You have strength and heart beyond what you imagine, and what you can in fact believe in yourself. You are beautiful, wonderful, and giving. Let us give support to you for a while now. It's our turn.

God Bless you and bring you some measure of peace and comfort.

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Sweet, Kind, and Caring Kasey,

You are not alone. We are here for you, and we truly understand. We must never give up the hope that WE will be the ones laughing at this #@#$% disease as it disappears from this earth, and hopefully, soon. Too many have left this world way before their time. I just wish there was something I could say to help ease your sorrow. Ellie

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((((Kasey)))))

My heart breaks reading your post as I can only imagine the grief you feel. Like you, I have lost so many to lung cancer and it is so hard to keep going. But then I remember those lives and know "they" would want want me to continue to fight for them.. THats the only way I keep going.

As I think about Tracy, you, and the rest of her family my heart hurts for all of you.. What an awesome person she was and what a legacy she has left us.. Have you ever heard the story of the dash?

The Dash (Copyright Linda Ellis 1996)

I read of a man who stood to speak

at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

from the beginning... to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth

and spoke of the following date with tears,

but he said what mattered most of all

was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

that she spent alive on earth.....

So, when your eulogy is being read

with your life's actions to rehash...

would you be proud of the things they

say about how you spend your dash?

Tracy spent her dash leaving a legacy that will be remembered by memory. It is her dash and many others that give me the strength and courage to keep fighting.

Love ya friend!

Jamie

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Why the pain and the suffering? Why the cruelty? Why are so many here working so hard and yet our efforts seem in vain when these people we care about fall to this disease?

I don't have the answer. I can't imagine your pain and weariness.

I completely understand how you would feel how you are feeling.

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I am so sorry, Kasey. Your post breaks my heart. And I share your anger, though obviously it's different.

You are more than entitled to let us, and others, fight for you for a while. Lord knows you've done enough. I can only offer you this as a glimpse of hope for future fights, should you so choose.

You've probably heard it before. The man who is walking along a beach where thousands of starfish have washed up and are dying for lack of water? He pickes one up and throws it back. he picks up another, and throws that one into the ocean, too. As he's about to through a third starfish into the water, another man walks up asn asks "With thousands of starfish dying here on this beach, what possible difference can it make to throw a of them back into the sea?"

The man threw the starfish into the waves, turned to the other man, and said "It made a difference to that one."

If you never, ever do another moment of advocacy, fundraising, peer counseling or any of the other remarkable contributions you've made to our common fight, Kasey, you've made a difference to this starfish.

Love.

Amie

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Kasey, I read your post several days ago and wanted to respond but, didn't know how to put in words how I felt so I thought about it for a few days.

I lost my Dad to lung cancer six years ago. I was a Daddy's girl and never thought I could recover losing him emotionally. But I did-I had no choice. I watched my Dad go from a big, strong, healthy man to a man bedridden the last few days of his life. That image is burned in my mind. :(

Move ahead to Sept. 26, 2008. My husband of 29 years was diagnosed with Stage IV squamous cell lung cancer. I was numb. My mind kept going back to thoughts of Dad and how I had lost him to cancer and could not bear the thought of Thom going through the same tragedy.

Because of people like you, Kasey who have advocated and raised funds for cancer reasearch my Thom has access to new treatments that were not available for my Dad. So many positive things have come about just in the past few years that I really believe that Thom actually has a chance to survive this monster-because of people like you. :)

I know losing someone to cancer brings about emotions we don't even know we possess but, we are allowed to let them surface to deal with our feelings so we can move on and hopefully, help others.

So, thank you Kasey for all that you have done and believe that you have made a difference in many lives even if you can't see it in front of you.

Jean

Aimee, I had never heard that story before have filed it away in my memory as I feel it will come in handy in the future. :)

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Kasey,

I wish I could wrap you up in a real live hug, but distance will not allow me

to, so a cyber hug will have to do (((Kasey))).

The Demon does laugh. It taunts me everyday. Not too long after loosing

Alan, a friend of 13 years who sits next to me at work was diagnosed

stage IV NCSLC, her husband also works with me. I have lived the

disease all over again. The initail DX, cyberknife to her brain tumors.

Listen to their hopeful talk, only to see them crushed when the latest

brain MRI showed 12 new tumors. Hear the dispair when the 3rd type

of chemo has been ineffective, and finally to hear the sound of the hope

quickly leaving them.

I am sorry Kasey I wish there was more I could say, or do to stop the Demon from laughing,

but sometimes I too run low on hope.

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Kasey,

You will bounce back and start kicking cancer's a** again. But right now I'm in a pissed off stage! I know I shouldn't play favorites but I'm especially pissed at small cell lung cancer right now! It just hits so fast out of no where and people don't even have a chance to fight! Sneaky crap!!!! cancer (I'm not giving cancer any capitals!) just sucks and the fact is the older I get the more funerals I get to go too. I'm just entirely sick of death and dying right now!!!! So cancer can just go SUCK IT!

Dana

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Kasey,

It's been a while since I've been here. I'm so sorry. I had no idea that Tracy was your niece. I can't imagine. What a lovely woman.

Sometimes winning isn't beating the disease. Sometimes it's a win to not allow the disease to crush your soul, but to live with purpose and joy -- even if it's a moment at a time. Sometimes the win is when you give someone else a lift up so they can find their spirit again too. I remember when Bill and I were first here, you were one of the first people to offer him hope. I remember us sitting outside talking about your story. I remember your amazing, upbeat encouragement all along, including after he left the cancer behind. You have helped so many people win. Give yourself time. Even warriors need a rest sometimes.

I'm so, so sorry.

Teri

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My dearest Kasey,

I just read your post and I had no idea about Tracy. I know when we saw you on the 27th you said she was not doing good. I added her to my prayers and here she passed on the 30th. I had no idea. I am so so sorry for the grief you and her family are going through.

It is important for me to tell you that I did not have computer access since mine ceased. I have a new one now and I just now saw your post. So please forgive me for not responding sooner. I hope you don't think I was ignoring you. I also have a close friend who had a double mastectomy and almost died from an allergic reaction from chemo. I have been with her. It never seems to end....

I am at a loss for words, your post really hit home and just tugged at my heartstrings. It is just so unfair. But as unfair as it is we have one life here and we must fight everyday to wake up to another day as we never know what is in store for us.

I understand you are burnt out as you are so special as you and Fred have taking the time to attend the funerals of friends of yours and on here who have lost their battle with this monster. Now it has hit home with Tracy.

Will it every end... probably not but hopefully with research they will find cures and I don't mean just early ones, but progress in ones that are found in late stages. So incredibly sad for these non smokers that are diagnosed with late stages as there are no signs till then. We must never give up the fight as we all know what the alternative is. We have to keep fighting till we knock this f-er out!

I am here for you, you have my email and phone number please know if you come to be really overwhelmed we will come to you in a heartbeat.

We love you guys..... I am so so sorry for the loss of such a sweet lady.

Maryanne & Joel

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