I have always been an upbeat person and found this whole cancer thing fairly easy. I had always been able to rise above any problems. Why would this be any different? Death? Not me! Cancer would not get me. I would die of "Old Fart's Disease," or I would get hit by a run-away train. But cancer? Never! .........or would it kill me?

Subject: Re: On Anger
Date: Sat, 23 January 1999 08:11 AM EST
From: QueenReg


Liz,
I say we've had cancer and we can feel and act as we would like. I usually end up making people feel guilty about their health when they hit me with the "You're lucky" or "It's only your breast."

I find that the farther away from my treatment I get, the more comfortable I am with my body and its changes, but the more uncertain I feel about my mortality. I didn't think it would not be this way. This is what triggered me:
I had to go to my oncologist on Monday to have a form signed, and as I stood at the counter waiting for the receptionist to return, I noticed 2 programs from funerals or memorial services taped to the cabinet directly in front of me. You know, the things that have the prayers for the service in them; ushers hand these out at the funeral home or church. Both featured pictures of middle-aged women, the years of their birth and death below the photo. One even said that the woman had "Waged a courageous battle against cancer." Now why the hell was this posted where cancer patients can see it! I wanted to say something, but I was flabbergasted. I went home, composed myself and called the breast center. The woman I spoke to was shocked that this was displayed in a place where people are clinging to their lives.

I had never once considered death as a possible outcome of my cancer. Now, I think about it every day. Am I going to be one of those women whose funeral program is posted on the cabinet? Are they going to say "Aw, poor Regina, she was such a nice lady." I am a bit pissed that these thoughts have crept into my head and I can't seem to get them out. I am doing that self-butt kicking, but it isn't working as well. How dare they take away my peace
of mind! I am thinking positively, when all of a sudden, those funeral program images sabotage my thoughts. I want my Pollyanna attitude back. I find it, and it gets zapped by funeral programs. I hope this is just an emotional relapse because it doesn't feel really good.

Time to regroup. I cannot let cancer get me. I will not. I am too strong for that. I need to refocus, to see the good again. To see my possibilities again. I have been given a gift by cancer. I can reroute my life, change my course and reevaluate what I have done and where I am going. I cannot get sidetracked by these negative thoughts. I just can't.

Subject: Re: Just wondering
Date: 1/28/99 5:39 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: QueenReg


Julie,
I think that this happens to all of us when we reach the end of our treatments. For me, being a cancer patient was so much easier than being a cancer survivor. While in treatment, my focus was on conquering. Now I have to sit back and believe that I have conquered. It's tough. Like you, I have had times when I just can't get out of that mets, recurrence and death funk. I really think it's the natural progression of our emotional healing.

Just a few weeks ago, that's where I was. I thought about death every day. And I hadn't even considered it when I was diagnosed. Now I have to regroup and concentrate on all the things I have done to prevent mets, recurrence and death. It requires constant attention.

Hang in there, Julie. I hate to see you hurting. You are one of the first people I felt a connection with on this board. I think we arrived here at the same time. Be proud of where you've been; be hopeful about where you're going.

Regina

Subject: Re: Finding Peace???
Date: 4/25/99 12:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: QueenReg


Jenifer,
I try to remember "what you think becomes reality." When I can do that, I am fine. But sometimes, this lousy cancer beast sneaks up behind me and catches me off guard. It takes a conscious effort each day to maintain that positive outlook. I cannot let cancer consume me. It's taken my breast, my hair, my security. It cannot rob me of my plans, my hopes and my possibilities. I won't let it. But I need to work on that everyday. It's hard,
but it's worth it.

Regina

Subject: Death
Date: Sun, 13 June 1999 08:39 AM EDT
From: QueenReg

 


It is so sad when one of us loses her battle with breast cancer. It makes us feel so vulnerable; it makes us angry. When I was newly diagnosed, I never thought about death. I thought about the lousy path I would have to take to beat this disease and set out to do just that. Then on the morning of my first chemo, news broke about Linda McCartney's death.
I was frozen in my tracks. My reaction: how dare she die on the first day of the treatment that would save my life! I felt angry. The media was flooded with cancer news because of her passing. Everywhere I looked I saw her face; I saw statistics; I heard to gospel of early detection. Then it dawned on me - this could kill me.

I think my oncologist must have been telepathic. She appeared in the treatment room, something she usually does not do, to sit with me and talk about the things that were being reported in the news. Her words are words I want to pass along to the newbies who are reading about Mary Jo's death and are sad and scared: Dr. Griggs said that Linda's cancer was Linda's cancer; mine was mine. She assured me that we were on the right course to give cancer a swift kick. She also said that the media was doing all of us a favor by making breast cancer a topic in the
forefront.

We need to band together to shake up our legislators to funnel more funding our way. We need to encourage women to examine their breasts and get mammograms. We need to become the positive face of breast cancer - survivors.

Mary Jo's passing is truly sad. My sympathy goes out to Tim and her family. But her passing makes me want to scream enough is enough! If we all do that together, someone will hear us. We must keep making noise so that women stop dying from this disease, so that husbands aren't left without wives and children don't grow up without mothers.

Let Mary Jo be our renewed spirit and help us to keep fighting the good fight. And newbies, keep plugging along with your treatments. You are needed in the ranks.

Regina

Next My First Victory Lap

Anger and the Fear of Death
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