Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What are the odds?

This past Sunday was wonderful. I spent the morning at my favorite coffee/bakery shop listening to my audiobook on the patio enjoying the 70 degree sunny weather in Arizona. Then, Dashing finished his morning shift in the ICU, and we spent the rest of the day together. After lunch and a 6.5 mile jog through the desert, we landed back at our house for an evening in.

We decided to watch the movie 50/50 (the one with Seth Rogen about a friend having cancer). I've hesitated to see this movie. Since I've had my own cancer experience, I didn't know if I really felt like I could watch it.

However, it fit in the day perfectly and let me share my emotions with the one I love the most. Let me explain the connections:

1. In the same year I finished my cancer treatments of ABVD Chemotherapy and radiation, I ran a half-marathon. Yesterday, we ran 6.5 miles - my longest run since the race, and we went running only a few miles from the marathon track in Tucson (at the time of the 1/2, I lived in Phoenix).
2. I finished my cancer treatments this week in March, 2 years ago.
3. All of my chemotherapy treatments were in Tucson, we watched the movie in our new home in the Tucson area.
4. I watched it with my Dashing - who was there for me every step of the way.

Watching the movie  exposed so many feelings I hadn't addressed in a while. They rushed through my body like a dam breaking to release all of the tightly held rapids into the canal below.

Now, the story of 50/50 was not like my experience. My doctors were personable, concerned, supportive, kind, understanding. My family and friends were pillars of hope and strength, who surrounded me with love. In this movie, I felt like the patient was emotionally (and sometimes physically) alone. Dashing asked me during the movie, "You must have felt alone since you were the only one going through it, even with all of us around." I actually didn't. Although I had many moments of feeling like maybe not everyone really could understand, I can firmly say I never, ever felt alone. How lucky I was and am. Dashing then clasped his hand with mine and held me close for the rest of the night.

There was one clip in the movie that resonated so much with me though. It was near the end of the patient's chemotherapy treatments and he, after so many months of being stone cold, he broke down with tears, screams, and thrashing movements. I had this moment, and both the movie patient and I said "I'm so tired of being sick," while endless streams of tears ran down our faces with feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, and exhaustion.

So what moments in the movie stayed with me? (The moments that had me redirecting tears from my face to my sweatshirt sleeve).

  • You sometimes feel like it will never end
  • You stand in the bathroom contemplating how much to cut your hair, before and while it's falling out
  • You don't really want to believe it could be the end of your life, and although it demonstrates positivity on the outside, on the inside it's refusing to figure our how you really feel ignoring mortality, sadness, or hurt. I did this too.
  • You get tired of being sick
  • You feel like  you're a burden
  • You question who is truly there to support you
  • You can shut people out easily because you're shutting down on the inside

So as parting words for the masses, I say this.... It is more than just ok to feel sad or hurt sometimes. Let yourself feel how you really feel. Come to terms with the fact that life is not always happy. You don't have to be "Suzy Sunshine." Sometimes things are hard, disappointing, tragic, and upsetting. Share those feelings just like you share the happy, elated, joyful ones. In that, you'll find the meaning of your life.


Sweet Simplicity said...

I haven't seen that movie yet. I know I can't relate to this experience that you have had, but you are such an inspiration. I love that you can be so honest about what you went through.

Hilliary@ Happily Ever Healthy said...

I have not seen the movie yet, but I would like to. I love how honest and open you were in this post. I liked the last part where you said let yourself feel how you really feel. I think that is so important, because your right life is not always full of happy moments!

Emily w/Amazing Grapes said...

It sounds like your cancer free now and I think that is amazing! That's so great you're feeling better, running and able to live your life again. I can't imagine all the struggles inner and outer that you went through then. I think I'd have a hard time with shutting people out, if I battled cancer. That's something I do even in my mild struggles already. =/

But I thought this was a great post, very honest and helpful to anyone who may be currently facing cancer. I haven't seen the movie but its a comfort to know you had people there that loves you and were with you every step of the way.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)
Emily at Amazing Grapes

Emily Hester said...

BB, I watched 50/50 recently as well...and as usual I was a big mess! Watching it: Made me thankful that you so courageously kicked cancers butt. Scared me for what could be ahead in the futures of those I love. Think deeply about the odds of 50/50 shots.

Love you and your honesty and eloquence. Hugs from too many states away...

Daisy said...

I just came across your blog and this is the first post I read. My dad died of Cancer and it was really hard for my family. It awesome to hear that you over came it, thank God :)

This was a great post! Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Alyx said...

You make a 6.5 mile jog sound like it's nothin'. Totally envy you. The day I run 6.5 miles will be the day my blog is plastered with stuff about how I'm a champ and super strong and awesome and stuff. hahaha

But really. You are a champ, and a strong person, not only for overcoming the cancer, but talking about it.

Everyday Adventures said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing your emotions on your blog as well as how you could relate and differ from 50/50. I thought the movie was definitly an interesting take on dealing with cancer from the patient, friend and family aspect.

Katie said...

I have yet to watch 50/50, although I want to, but I can relate to this post for the movie, "It's Kind of a Funny Story." (I'm actually going to write about it at some point...) I don't know if you've seen it or not, but I too contemplated watching it because it's about a young man admitting himself into a psychiatric unit for depression. My husband actually watched it first. I told him I wanted to see it, but wasn't ready yet. Then a few months after I was released from the hospital, I watched it with him and actually enjoyed it. By letting enough time *for me* to pass, I was able to laugh about it all. My husband kept asking, "Is it really like that?" And most of the time, it was. And by the end of the movie I was like, "Yea, you know what... that was Kind of a Funny Story!"

p.s. I'm so glad you never felt alone :) *hugs*


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