Sorry for the lack of updates this week and to all the many wonderful people in my life who have written to me and who did not receive a response. Please know that I love getting your messages and I feel like a really crappy friend for not being able to write back. Part of it has been because writing a text or email has felt like a herculean task for the last several days, due to a complete lack of energy. The other half is that, quite frankly, I have had nothing funny or upbeat to say. No positive spin. I have been a sadsack and a major Debbie Downer and I don’t wish to bring everyone down with me. So sometimes, it is just too difficult to respond.
I know that often people write and say “I’m not sure what to say”, but know that I still really appreciate those messages and I like to hear that you’re thinking of me. No one knows what to say. Cancer is stupid. It’s a real conversation killer. But saying something is always better than saying nothing. So in conclusion, please keep writing to me, never worry about saying the “right” thing, and please don’t think I’m a big ungrateful meanie for not always writing back. Thank you.
Although I don’t have many uplifting words of wisdom to share right now, I do still feel compelled to keep up with this blog, even through the dark times. There are now many people who actually follow it and check in for updates, which is pretty neat. I was even recognized by a young nurse at the hospital last weekend who had seen the blog, which made me feel like a total celeb (Hi, Gillian!). So here I am, to tell it like it is, and risk majorly ruining everyone’s pre-holiday cheer. You have been warned.
Cancer has kicked my ass this week.
It took all of 3 days into my chemo cycle to contract some sort of virus from hell. My legs and head have ached to the point that I wondered if it would be possible to cut them off and somehow float around without a head, or legs. I have been so tired that just thinking about going to the kitchen to get a glass of water feels like I am trying to solve some type of impossible mathematical equation. I have lost my typically ravenous appetite and as such, have lost a lot of weight. I have cried and screamed in agony, with my poor husband standing by, likely googling phone numbers for local exorcists. I have felt completely detached from everyone else’s reality. Babies. Work. Holidays. Vacations. Life. I stare at images of these things on my computer and feel like an alien, looking down from Planet Cancer, not understanding what it is I am looking at. And when I think that I still have many long months ahead of feeling like this, or worse, it makes me want to punch a hole right through my wall. Except I don’t have the energy to punch anything. So I have to just imagine it, which is completely unsatisfying, and nowhere near as bad-ass.
So that is my reality for the time being.
Right now, I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel a “positive” attitude. I don’t feel up to the task of inspiring anyone. I want someone to knock me over the head and wake me up when this is all over. I want to give up and throw in the towel. I want to be able to go outside for a walk, get my own groceries, go to work, and post boring photos on Facebook of me doing boring things. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to not feel like a burden to everyone around me. Mostly, I just want my life back. A simple, normal life, and nothing more.
Does anyone have any leads on this whole cancer cure thing? If you do, feel free to write to me.
I promise I’ll respond to that one.
17 thoughts on “This just in – cancer sucks”
My mother, Carole Zucker, gave me the link to your blog (We are related)! You write beautifully and are one incredibly brave person! When you feel better, come to New York! They have a wig shop near me that is awesome! You can try on every single one! They are precut, 100% human hair and stunning so you can tell exactly how it will look on you. Most of the women around here probably look better in their sheitels than with their own hair (which I, for one, will not humbly attest to)! I will make you an appointment to have the wig specialist complete your look after, trimming bangs etc. We will then go for lunch to one of the trendy local kosher eateries that make everything from cupcakes to a “dirty burger ( some weird but good veggie thing with a really bad name).” So, as soon as you feel up to it (come between chemos), lets do this! You can get my number from your mother.
I hope today is a brighter one!
You probably don’t remember me, I knew your sister when we were younger. I have been following your blog since you started and have found it very inspiring, and am hoping you start to feel back to normal soon. I also thought you might like to know that you have been my inspiration this past week. I have been in and out of the hospital and doctors offices being poked and prodded as doctors try to determine why I am having a hard time breathing. As each test gets more invasive, I just think to myself: if you are able to stay positive through chemo I can sure as hell make it through a few diagnostic tests.
Keep kicking ass, you’re stronger than you think!
you are doing amazing. i love reading your blog. positive or not, it is always inspiring to read 🙂
KEEP FIGHTING !! I pray that you will feel some sense of normalcy soon………as the saying goes “and this too shall pass” hopefully sooner rather than later…I know ,who am I too say ? …just wishing the best for you…and your family….
If may feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel but there is. Hang in there and you will kick cancer in the ass!
After reading this week’s blog I have a few comments
• You may have temporarily lost your idealic positive attitude, your sense of normalcy and every ounce of your energy, but your sense of humour still kicks ass
• Love is a cure that you are blessed to be enveloped in. Breathe it in and let others take some of your load
• You are a wonderful writer-can’t wait to read your healthy writing
• Your readers appreciate your honesty and having us should be completely guilt-free for you. You are the giver, don’t feel bad news or delays in posts lets us down
• You are braver than you know. You keep proving that-just believe it
In this weeks comments there was a lot of compassion and sounded like some good ideas. I hope you find relief soon.
Thank you for the blog.
Hug hug hug and more hugs (the real kind, that won’t hurt your already hurting body). Please don’t feel guilty for not updating and responding. Please don’t feel pressure to keep up with this blog. The fact that you have given so much already means so much to people, and the last thing we would want is for you to post from a place of obligation and guilt.
Cancer is horrible. You, however, are not. You are amazing. And I am one of those people that doesn’t have the right thing to say, but can only offer infinite hugs. (((((())))))
Dear Ms. Stephanie,
I love your posts and am inspired by your candor and now that I know you want some writing back from us readers, I’m in. As for keeping this blog going at a regular clip, understanding the feelings of just not wanting-to-do-anything, I’d like to offer that if you wrote a single line or word, perhaps a mere punctuation mark each week, be assured that you’d receive writings in return. If anything at all, just know that we are here, some of us strangers to you, who are rooting for you regardless of your literary output. So take breaks if you want, I have calendared writing to you weekly on this blog. Blessings to your travels and finding your inner strength that will see you through this very tough time.
Hello, We do not know each other but I happened to stumble upon your blog and was immediately inspired by you. I have continued to come back and wait for your next post. I am currently in my medical training to become a radiation oncologist and I wanted you to know how much you are an inspiration to your friends, family, doctors and anonymous followers over the internet. It is the patients such as yourself that makes going into work every day so easy for your doctors and nurses. I do believe that reading your blog, which is so honest and candid, will make me a better doctor in the future- and for that I wanted to thank you. I wanted to wish you the best of luck over the rest of your journey and know that one day you will responding to other people, such as yourself, with inspirational words of advice, wisdom, and wit. My prayers are with you.
Stephie, like everyone else reading this, I wish more than anything I was writing to inform you of some magical cure for this awful disease. I wish I could wave a magic wand and say some magic words and poof! Please know that if I knew them, I would say them. All I can say is please, please keep writing. The fact that you continue to open up and write this blog is so BEYOND inspiring. Whether it’s a post complete with witty anecdotes and positive charm, or a post about how much cancer sucks and how badly you wish it was over, we are here, we are reading and YOU are continuing to inspire all of us. If you need someone to come over and punch a wall for you, I’ll do it. If you want someone to cry with, I’ll be there. If you want or need anything, I’m here. Love you and always thinking of you. Keep your honesty Stephie, keep writing and you WILL kick this cancer in the ass!
Reading your blog… $1,000,000.00
Reading the replies to your blog… $1,000,000.00
Remember your promise to not only us, but more importantly to yourself.
You’re going to kick it in the _ _ _.
Contrary to popular belief if is extremely difficult for breast cancer patients to keep up that ‘positive attitude’ that everyone seems to require that we have. The whole pink camapaign does a terrible job of portraying the devastation of this disease but it is all many people know of it. Realize that you are not alone in the feelings that you are having right now-they are the norm I have found.
I have also suffered from people not knowing what to say so deciding to say nothing. This was, and still is, extremely hurtful Cancer sucks and there really isn’t anything to say-people need to realize we would never really even expect their words to help us in any concrete way. How they help us is by letting us know they care and are not afraid of us. We are still the same people.
Please know that I am praying for you and that my heart breaks that you have to go through this.
-If you haven’t already discovered breastcancer.org forums you should check them out. They have one specifically for young women that may be a good resource for you.
To my friend who somehow always manages to make me smile, even when writing about cancer:
I have to say that you are wrong about one thing in this post – you are absolutely an inspiration; in this post, and all your others; the times during which we ate entire cartons of ben and jerry’s in one sitting, watched So You Think You Can Dance and cried about boys; or the times like now, where I am happy to just sit on your couch and watch stupid kids movies from the 90s.
I find it so inspiring that you admit that you have bad days. That you are sad, that you feel tired, that you can tell us that everything hurts, and that you are hating it.
It takes a lot of courage to be so honest and vulnerable, there are not many people like you, and this is why you are one of my (very few) friends!!
I also can’t wait until the post where you tell us all that you kicked cancer’s ass, but in the meantime, I’ll be here reading, and feeling so proud of you!
I too remember how terrible I felt through the treatment. Side effects started immediately. Pain and nausea were tough. I never understood what fatigue meant until that time. Lifting up my hand was tiring. I lost a lot of weight. Papa and Paul were always forcing me to eat and sometimes I would get so mad at them and then cry. Eventually my doctors prescribed drugs that did help me a lot — Zofran (anti nausea meds) and Decadron (speed). Actually decadron gave me tons of energy and also enabled me to eat. I promise you that this will stop, you will feel heathy and strong and you will be able to do those boring and exciting things you loved to do. Keep blogging!!
I am an old friend of your uncle, David. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been where you’re at and after 10 years and several recurrences, I’m still standing. Since I teach about cancer in medical school, I have a good understanding of what’s happening in our body in response to the chemotherapies. It’s very important that you tell your doctor about your aches and pains and be specific about where and when they occur. He/she will be able to recommend medications that will help ease your discomfort. Lots of pillows, massages (I trained my husband to give my backrubs with baby oil), listening to your favorite music, watching good movies, etc…These are activities that helped take my mind away from my body.
Sending you hugs and positive energy.
Your writing blows my mind…as it always has. Thinking of you lots and wish I could make you feel better. What I CAN do though is offer my assistance..if you do decide to cut off your head and legs I will keep them stored safely…kinda like how the ‘Governor’ in Walking Dead stores the zombie heads. If you don’t watch the show this will make no sense….but what I’m trying to say is that I love you like a zombie…but more. xoxx
I wish I could give you a hug. You’re allowed to have bad days and you don’t have to inspire us. Your fight, your willingness to share this experience with us, including the dark times, your full disclosure and ability to help others not feel alone is amazing ( a number of women I know are currently battling breast cancer at the moment). I know you are surrounded by people who love and care and who are more than willing to help but if you need anything at all. I’d help in an instant. You amazing me Steph. You are doing a very brave thing by sharing this experience – including the good and bad days. I just wish I had the cure so you didn’t have to go through any of this. Cancer does suck. Hugs and sending positivity, healthy vibes to you. xo
I look forward to the post where you tell us all that you kicked cancer’s ass.