Monday, July 19, 2010

so close, yet so far

A week has passed since my penultimate cycle of Chemo. My 6th and last session will be on August 2nd. Then three or so weeks later I will start the 5-6 weeks of daily radiation treatment. Being this close to the end of chemo makes me feel like the whole regiment of treatment is almost over. That’s certainly how others are treating it. “Yeah! You’re almost done” come the cheers from the supporters. “Yeah!” I think to myself. Yet there’s this nagging unknown of how the radiation is going to affect me. A simple internet search will give you a bunch of horror stories of women who had terrible experiences of burns, fatigue and other nasty side effects. So I am torn between tough Michelle and vulnerable Michelle. Tough Michelle signed up to do a ½ marathon about 10 days after radiation is scheduled to complete. Vulnerable Michelle decided to NOT do the Danskin triathlon in August.

In the book “Crazy Sexy Cancer” one of the women shares how she had felt that being fatigued was “Doing cancer the wrong way” because people had expected her to be strong. Sometimes I feel like that. I’m supposed to be tough, right? Shouldn’t any sign of weakness be eradicated? Since I’m only human and both sides of the coin will show up periodically. I've considered how cool it would be if I had come up with a superhero persona like baldylocks ( or chemobabe ( Then maybe I could more clearly differentiate between the ass-kicking Michelle who ran/jogged/walked 4 miles on Sunday and the beat-down Michelle who crawled back in bed for a nap that same afternoon.

I even feel that maybe I’m not fulfilling my full potential by just sort of casually blogging. I’m getting lots of awesome wonderful supporting messages from people who read my blog, but somehow I feel like I should be doing more. I was warned about this by a friend of mine. She insisted that I not make a bucket list; otherwise when this whole thing is over I would be left feeling like I had to quit my job to go do all the things on my list. So I’m not sure what I should be doing, but in thinking about this I was reminded of a story one of my wonderful sisters tells about me. When I was about 8 or 9 years old I was sent to bed. I clearly didn’t want to go and stomped up the stairs. About ½ way up I turned around, raised my finger into the air and declared: “I will rid the world of injustice”. Cute, right? Can’t you just imagine me with an indignant look on my face, finger raised in admonishment to all the oppression and oppressors everywhere? So, I am not saying that I’m going to quit my job and become some sort of activist (mainly becuase I love my job and I'm good at it), but I am spending a lot more time wondering how to make the world a better place.


  1. Michelle, I am so impressed with your attitude.
    Must take after your Mother. I miss not having her as a bridge partner. Even gave up bridge because of it.
    I just want you to know that I pray for you and know that you will beat this.

  2. This sounds like someone who doesn't know that they are serving as a source of inspiration to others by showing such strength and positivity. It also sounds like someone who needs to cut themselves some slack for when they simply need to slow down and take care of themselves. It makes you seem more human and real to all of us when we see both sides of you.