Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Commonality of the BIG "C"

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in You my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings
until the disaster has passed.
[Psalm 57:1]

Today, an event in our blogging world has given me an opening to write on a subject, Cancer. I have written on this subject before, but today the parameters are different; today the subject is my personal observation and experience of areas in which anyone can be a servant in what may be the greatest hour of need for encouragement, hope, empathy and love.

If a person has an encounter with CANCER, he/she knows what is meant by the Big "C.'' Not 0nly does the person have cancer, but the disease permeates the immediate and extended family and friends who are consumed with the issue of a loved one with cancer, the support, needs and cares of the cancer patient, and surrounding surrogates.

Yet the disease seems, or even is, so isolating to the cancer patient. To the patient cancer is seemingly perceived a contagious condition deserving isolation; no one wishes to discuss, or be around anything labeled cancer. ONE MORE TIME, cancer is not contagious -- hereditary links, perhaps -- but not like the common cold!

Some persons truly do not know what to say or do (BTW just sitting silently, but exuding a pleasant, peaceful countenance is the best gift of all). Some persons deny its existence because they have not dealt with their own mortality.

One of the more amazing statistics of my brief blogging career is the number of persons who are cancer survivors, none of which I specifically sought, but delightfully I've met, welcomed and shared stories I did not expect. --THE COMMONALITY OF THE BIG "C."

I'm not sure how each of you began blogging. I took an 1-day blogging workshop and set out mostly writing and randomly reading other blogs. I used a search engine for topics, like Arkansas, Texas, Weight Watchers . Then I would check their blog lists for interesting topics and lurked around. I sought persons who were doting pet owners.

My own cancer survivor (kidney) experience is described in two blogs, Scripture to Go - Part 1 and Part 2. Many of you encountered breast cancer, but there is a Duke's mixture of bone, cervical, lung, too. Also a number of bloggers are caregivers to cancer patients--what absolutely wonderful angels you are!

Some of you have confided you nearly died. Some of you have formed your own cancer survivor support groups, because of the isolation and loneliness of the disease as I described, even as survivors. Some of us expressed the wish we had blogging during the acute phase of cancer, the long, lonely hours of chemotherapy and radiation.

With this train of thought I lift up to you today Janine Rusnak of Sniffles and Smiles. I drifted through her blog early from some one's blog list [I really don't remember who]. She is on Facebook, too.

Janine had breast cancer and is a survivor; she also was a caregiver for her beloved Mother who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian, breast and lung cancer, very soon after Janine's chemotherapy ended. TODAY Janine is having a procedure near the site of her original surgery to determine if her cancer may have returned. She has written of some experiences in her blog.

Fellow bloggers, Faye and Jackie, Facebook friends of Janine's have graciously requested I post this simple WINGS OF HOPE photo today on my blog, which I would willingly do for anyone. These bloggers, Janine and I are on Facebook, but my Facebook use is fledging at best.

If you desire to send encouragement, hope and speedy recovery messages, I suggest you visit Janine's blog, leave an encouraging comment on her latest post and post this photo in comments (if possible) or in your blog, if you so wish. She has tons of comments, but she reads every single post!!! She may not respond immediately until her recovery allows her the strength.

Or you may link to my post, if you so desire.

And a tiny bit of my perverse humor: Tuesday (Oct. 13) I celebrated the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday with a sightseeing visit to my physician's office where I was the proud recipient of a shot in the butt. How is that for creative birthday celebration!!!

Such thoughtfulness deserves a tad of respect so I lurked over to Jackie's blog, Teacher's Pet , and Faye's blog, Sleepless In Gainesville; both are very humorous.

But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. [ISAIAH 43:1 NIV


Arkansas Patti said...

It is true that most people do not know how to react when someone they know has been diagnosed. I was once guilty of not knowing how to respond also. It is really not taught.
This is a fine post Carol that there is a need for.
My fridays post touches briefly on the subject of cancer but like you, mentioning it in my blog before has made me realize, we really aren't alone.I think everyone's life has been touched in some way. Thanks for a needed post.

Teacher's Pet said...

Thoughtfully and prayerfully written...
Prayers for all cancer survivors and their families.
Love from Jackie

Lisa said...

The Big "C"....I lost my father to cancer September 30...Just 14 days ago. I can't believe it has only been 14 days.

How I hate the Big "C"

My father never smoked, always exercised, ate right and did all the things a person should do to NOT come in contact with the Big "C"....

Beautiful Post....I too love Janine and will be posting the picture as soon as I can get my thoughts together.


Teacher's Pet said...

Janine is indeed touched...and as soon as she is able, she will contact you herself...but she asked me (pre-op) to pass this along to you...and to all those who are thinking of her and praying for her...Here is a portion of her post (pre-op) this morning:

You and all my friends, both long time and new, have brought tears of gratitude and joy to my eyes today. And I don't know how I shall ever say thank you enough!!! You just don't know how much it means to me!!!! Thank you!!! All my love, Janine XO

Lorna said...

Even the slightest connection leaves its print.

Sandi McBride said...

Wow, you really came across with this one, post tonight! You do know Kat (of Just a Beach Kat) she's on my blog role, you should meet her if not...she's a breast cancer survivor. Thanks to her I had a mammogram for the first time in 6 years. I've always been to busy...she reminded me that busy isn't the best excuse. Glad it's over, but it came out just fine!
Again, great post!

Amber Star said...

Dear Carol,
I don't remember if I have talked with you about my brush with cervical cancer. Fortunately for me it was in a VERY early stage and was still in situ and they got it all. My survival rate has been 45 years, I think. When I was seeing all the docs before they finally decided on rheumatoid arthritis for me, one was so intense about it. He told me how lucky I was, because it is so very aggressive. I was VERY lucky. My doctor's nurse was just making calls to get me to come in for a physical. I was 23 years old.

My dad died from bladder cancer some years ago.

Cancer is so hard for so many to talk about. I didn't think it was hard for me to talk about, but you know it really is. We lost a dear friend a couple of years ago from prostate cancer. It was difficult to talk about it after he was in such terrible shape right before he died. Also, it was difficult when one of my friend's husband died from cancer in the lining of his heart. Maybe, it is easier if it is another woman and we are just talking about it.

Learning to discuss cancer should be as easy as anything else, but it isn't. The really crappy part is that some cancers are passed from one to cervical cancer. Anybody reading this please keep up with your Pap smears, and nag your daughters and any woman you know to do so, to. I still do and I'm 65.

Now I'm off to bed after gargling and taking care of myself. The daily ailment resulted in a shot in the rear for me today. I'm a day after you.

Liz said...

So many many people are affected by cancer. It is evil but God has the ultimate victory.

Great way to celebrate your birthday!

NitWit1 said...

I thank all of you for comments. I know Janine will come to this blog and read them all, as well as her own.

-AR Patti-I know you have that proverbial knot you tie on with your group--I love your group's outreach like the trip some of you made to see another survivor in dire condition-I would have been timid--but it turn out so beautifully. Just proves we have to get out of our comfort zones.!

Lisa: Thank you for visiting my site for the first time (I think) I pray you willreceive comfort and healing-my Mother died of brain cancer--it was horrible and extended; it was almost a blessing to see her at peace and not in horrible seizures; when Janine gets home from her surgery regardless of her prognosis, I know she will share with all of us; right now she has 10 posts on cancer about previous struggles and the death of her mother. She is an accomplished English teacher and journalist and writes in a creative vein.

Teachers Pet and Sleeping in Gainesville- I have found new bloggie friends, too and provided the genesis for this blog--Thank You.

Lorna: my famous blogger with the one liners which hit the nail on the head, thanks.

Sandi Thanks for complimensts; I will skate over to see your friend and KUDOS for her influencing you to get your mammo. remember the PAPS and exam too(UGH the don't get easier with age.)

Amber Star: You were so very fortunate to have been discovered so early. I had a neighbor with similar diagnosis in her 30s. She just died at age 95 with no reoccurrence of cancer. That was a time there wasn't much to do outside of surgery. I know other young women having that discovered accidentally. A number of cases were daughters of mothers who use a drug stilbesterol to avoid miscarriage. Ironically some of the dastardluy drugs you are using may protect you against something else....who knows.

Liz: my very first follower: I do believe as you do. There are several diseases mentioned in the Bible called wasting disease in some translations which I think may refer to cancer like diseases.

The subject I did not mention, but was a grave disappointment to me in my cancer encounter, was the lack of support from my church family at the time, and is one reason I have changed, but don't see it much different. It was the proverbial knot I hoped to depend on. No one likes unpleasant subjects especially when we deal with mortality. I have talked with some members with counseling experience . One member, a fellow pharmacist, loves hospital ministry and I plan to get close to his work. It all gets back to we humans, religious or not, do not like to face unpleasant subjects with no answers to "WHY", and mortality question.

All of you have given me insight to maybe my next "project" as my husband calls all of my activities. I live close enough to a Cancer Support Group in Mountain Home, which I may investigate when I leave office-probably at the end of this term. I had thought of Hospice training--but I'm terrible at anything called or related to NURSING.

But I can talk (my husband says AMEN) and I can empathize. I need a little training in listening.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hello, Carol!!! I'm still very groggy, but I just had to come and tell you, my dear friend, that I made it through surgery, and my first day of pain!!! Thank you for your lovely post. Your friendship means so much to me!!! See you soon, I hope!!! Love you! Janine XO

Kat said...

Hi there! Great post. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I know ALL about the fears and ups and downs of dealing with the big "C" and I too have met so many other survivors through this wonderful "Word of Blog". Thanks so much for your visit and comment earlier. I'll send up prayers for your friend at Sniffles and Smiles (love that blog name) and will go visit her now.


lakeviewer said...

What a great post, for all of us to learn from, and for Janine to feel connected. Thanks for the links and information too. Yes, it is difficult to find the right words, the precise gesture.