Thursday, October 21, 2010

the real story

I would tell you abut the kale chips I made today (great), but tonight I have more on my mind. I'm still thinking about a conversation I had during hockey practice with another mother who is scheduled to have surgery in a few days. I asked how she was doing, and I heard about meals already in the freezer, her doctor’s opinion about when she might be able to drive again, her mother’s upcoming two week visit to help out. As I listened I thought to myself, the real story here is not about the preparations and about her family being ‘set’ in her absence. The real story is about wanting to enjoy time with her mother and concern about her having a good visit; about post-surgical complications and being able to manage. This person unfortunately suffers from a chronic disease, and I know there are so many things I’m not hearing about.

Twice in the past I've had breast cancer
; in 1998 and in 2005. My second experience was when Abbott was three and Cal was one. When people asked how I was doing I talked about the particulars of chemotherapy, and surgical preparations and complications, but not so much about what lurked beneath the surface. The anger at not being able to be fully present for that part of my children's toddlerhood, not repeatable; the issues of body image and concerns about mortality; the overwhelming knowledge that life as I had known it would never be the same again. There are stretches - whole months - I really can't remember from that period of time.

I know I'll be thinking a lot about this friend in the weeks to come.

15 comments:

islandfairy said...

wow i had no idea. it must have been very hard to go through so much while your kids were so young but you're an inspiration for having overcome it. i'm sure your kids will look at you with admiration for all you went through.

Johanna said...

That must have been an incredibly difficult time in your life. You are most certainly a survivor!

Sammi said...

I hope your friend is okay, and I hope she reads this and realises how concerned you are for.

Francesca said...

Sometimes the real story is hard to see with clarity or to convey to people, for fear that they won't understand. Often, only people who've lived through difficult times can get the real story.
I'll be thinking about your friend. Sending you hugs.

Helene said...

Thank you for sharing Lecia.
Every person has an extraordinary story. One that inspires the ordinary people and gives them strength to keep at it.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Will do too!

emily said...

i'm so glad you shared this, lecia. such honesty is a gift. thank you for that.

KPiep said...

In the next couple of weeks I'll be sending you a wee something in the mail. I've been considering it for a while, and your post today let me know that my decision was the right one. Not sure when I'll make it to the post office, but I'll email you when I do.

RID said...

Thank's for sharing your real story, I think you are a great person, a great friend! XOXO

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

She is in my thoughts...
Nicola

kairu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kairu said...

Dear Lecia, I remember your earlier story about your experience with cancer, which I read before I met you. It added a greater depth to the beauty you surround your life with.

I thought of the Mary Oliver poem "In Blackwater Woods," which I first encountered when Justine Picardie wrote that it had been read at her sister's funeral. The journalist Ruth Picardie died of breast cancer at the age of 33, leaving behind two babies. For her children her absence would not last only a few months that they would hardly remember, but for the rest of their lives.

The poem is too long to put here, but here is the end of it:

"To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go."

Kwana said...

When illness comes there is some much time lost and so much not said but felt.

Dina said...

Oh my I had no idea you've been through cancer. I know it is not an easy time , I've been through it with my mother who unfortunately never made it as her cancer was very agressive.

jenny said...

You amaze me, Lecia. You gave me strength at a time I really needed it. Knowing just a fraction of the fear and pain you went through... gosh... it makes me appreciate cancer survivors so much more. Big hugs to you and I hope you're feeling better today.