Happy Sunday everyone!
I recently watched the video of Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland singing a mash-up of “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “Forget Your Troubles”. Shocking how incredible and current it is….for so many reasons. Just listening can bring a smile to my face. But, the back story is also drenched in sadness. This was at the end of Judy’s career. She was at her most depressed and, unfortunately, almost at the end of her life. Her ability to muster such greatness while facing such demons is mind-boggling to me. Though I think many are facing this now during this period of isolation/staying at home.
It is an understatement to say that times are tough for everyone – and that no two people are handling this pandemic, this stay at home life, this time where so much s unprecedented. But it is for that reason I thought to write a bit about the things that drive me – ways I find to cope with all that is going on in the world and in my life. Ways that allow me to spend much of my day thinking of relationships, people, family, friends and all of those that put their life on the line every day. I think of them and I feel Love and Kindness towards them. I want to take action and do something that can be of service for them and others. I think – what can I do? What is my purpose in all of this? Do I have a gift that can I can use to help anyone – even one person, rise above the dreary.
When I was diagnosed with cancer the first time (1982) I spent weeks, maybe months miserable and confused as to “why me.” It was no help for me. I didn’t see it then, but I realized it when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2011. Why? In 1982 I was strong, but like Judy Garland – much was a facade. I was a Sr. in college with less than 5 months left till graduation; I knew that if I left school and came home to NY for treatment, I would never have graduated. And that decision has changed my life forever – In good, bad and different ways.
I did learn how to be alone and isolated – since most of my friends (not all), but most, social-distanced me out of there lives. I was alone, away from my family pretending I was ok. I wasn’t – but that is on me. The other way that staying in Boston changed my life was the treatment I was given. In NY they were using Chemotherapy – new and harsh. In Boston, they were experimenting with different Radiation Therapies including COBALT Radiation – Basically Chernoble/3-Mile Island radiation. That alone should have scared me away, but I was sticking with staying in Boston. This boiled down to a silly notion that “you are nothing without a college degree.” A totally shortsighted notion from my Dad (and how he felt about himself). He was a scion of his industry so, in truth, his lack of schooling meant nothing.
So why did this period change my life so? Well in 2011 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I learned more about my circumstances. My doctor, Andrew Ashikari, was extremely thorough about genetic testing and my health history and blood testing. He went through everything with my husband, Scott, and I. In the end, it seemed almost certain that my disease was caused or a side effect of the COBALT radiation – with no genetic links at all. So immediately I began to again think Why Me? But not for long — This time was different. I had friends, family and an entire community willing to help and support me. This is where THe Rocks were christened. 🙂 This is where the original The Cancer Made Me Do It. was born. Somehow I had an epiphany of thoughts. I realized looking at my past will drag me down, but setting my sights/my vision on the future Pulls me up: It lifts my spirit and gives me my sense of purpose. The blog was started to tell others they are not alone, they can overcome; they can empower and be empowered.
Then in February of 2020, right before the country came to a halt, I was again diagnosed with cancer. My new Dr., Sara Sadan, is also a meticulously thorough individual; and after several weeks of testing and metabolic testing on the actual mass in my chest, they too came to the belief that this Cancer is a result of the original COBALT radiation. So again I was faced with a choice. Be mad, be angry, ask why me – or FIGHT this disease with a smile, a belief in my future, a confidence that my support system will catch me when I slip, an undeniable hope that all will be fine, and an unwavering conviction that I Can and I Will beat these odds as well. Mind you it would be nice if this conviction would help me win the lottery as well — Just sayin’! I get that may just be a bit greedy 🙂
So now, like most of you, I am home and isolated with my husband (you get how there is a real yin ad yang about that right? -‘Nough said on that subject :). I awake every morning and immediately assess my physical being. Most days are fine, and some are not – but either way, after my physical assessment I acknowledge my emotional one. That is my superpower, my gift, and yes, my purpose, because it is, at that moment I find another reason for gratitude, for kindness, for friendship, for family and love. I contemplate the actions and service I can intersperse in my day. So even in a time where we are home, we are feeling out of sorts, we are a bit adrift– allow me to offer a line to tether you to something bright and hopeful. ME. Because if you think of it that is all any of us has to give – We give of ourselves in whatever way we can.
Though I would be lying if I didn’t admit having limitations to my abilities. For example – my ability to clean (keep it a secret but it is, in actuality, my desire). My husband has been cleaning, cooking, walking the dog and other tasks that I am totally capable of – but have chosen to relinquish these activities to him. It’s a gift to make myself believe that he enjoys folding laundry and cleaning bathrooms –! I have also may be driving Scott a bit crazy with the shows I binge watch – some of them are toooo embarrassing to even admit to – He keeps he “can’t believe I watch such shows, can’t you see how depressing they are?” “They aren’t real,” I respond, “But look at the stars they are gorgeous, actually the whole cast is.” And if I am being honest, this is probably the 5th time I have watched this Friday night football series….win wink….from beginning to end, and I enjoy it every single time.
Everyone has a purpose and a gift – even the cast of Friday Night Lights and Vampire Diaries – there, I named them. But so do you all….there is an end to all of this, there is a light. Wake up every day and believe that! Assess you vision and reach for it! Soon you will realize that the journey to positivity is no longer, because you have arrived in that place. Your journey can start today if you want!!!!
I am your cheerleader in this – I know you can, you will –everyone watch and see the transformation….
Have a great day!