I had lunch with a friend at work today. She is a fellow cancer crusher and beat the crap out of some breast cancer last year. Unfortunately due to the timing of my recurrence, the holidays, traveling, busy work schedules, and what have you, I was never able to tell her that I had recurred. In some respects it was harder for me to tell my cancer-crusher friends about my recurrence. I feared that I would trigger any lingering fears they had regarding their own medical challenges. It did not feel right to just send something like this through a work email:
Subject: Womp womp
Any fun holiday plans coming up? Oh by the way I have cancer again. How are you?
Keep it classy,
Your pal Jess
Needless to say, Judy ended up finding out through my blog. Two months later we were able to meet and talk about it. Now something you should know about Judy is that she has a phenomenal perspective when it comes to illness. We share a similar viewpoint that all of this chaos has to serve a purpose. With her insight came a bonus gift:
She said that this is a very special pine cone. It came from a Sequoia tree.
YUP this kind of tree:
Judy explained to me that in order for this little pine cone to turn into a massive and beautiful tree, it must burn. In order for Sequoia trees to regenerate, they must be exposed to the extreme element of wildfire.
The pinecone is now in my possession to remind me that through the chaos of the fire (cancer), I am on the other end determined, wiser, and stronger than before. No longer a mere pine cone.
What a beautiful metaphor.
A problem that I have always had as long as I can remember is asking for something that I want/need. I couldn’t tell you why. In childhood I would see something at a store and just hope that my mom telepathically knew. Oddly enough my mama does have what I believe to be telepathy and can detect me in “crisis mode” from hundreds of miles away. WEIRD. (It’s a far better skill than knowing what barbie doll I liked in the store.)
In getting sick I was pretty much forced to tell people what I wanted or needed because for several months I was on “independence probation”. If I wanted to go from my bedroom to the living room, I needed my Dad to spot me so I didn’t tumble head first down the stairs (and I’ll be damned if I tumble and don’t stick the landing!). Now that I am back to normalcy and can do everything that I could before I got sick, I need to remember that the same rules apply. I must ask for what I need and what I want when it comes to my emotional wellbeing. This ties back to my last few entries about creating what you need. I am pleased to say that in a quest to meet other young people with similar stories, I not only helped to create a Providence meet-up, but it became an official Stupid Cancer Meet Up on the http://www.stupidcancer.org website!! So legitimate.
All I did was put my feelers out in the right forum and in a matter of 9 days the event came to be. I am really excited to meet other likeminded people with similar life experience. I think it will be a healthy step in the right direction in adapting to me new normal. I am glad that I asked for what I needed. (Shout out to Jocelyn that helped to make this an official event! And for being doctors appointments being spaced out to every 4 months!)
Speaking of new normal…
Many of you have told me that you have been following my friend Tony through his journey through http://effleukemia.com/
He just updated his blog for the first time in a few months and I am so proud to share that he finished in 14th for the NYC MS Ride and has officially registered for the 2014 NYC Triathlon. I am so proud of how far he has come in the midst of such dark times. All I have to say is Tony Lanza gives ZERO effs.