Thursday, April 22, 2004

Dear friends,

I want to share this journal entry with you because I think it is important. So often, I try to be a cheerleader and make everyone feel good (and I like that quality in myself). But I don’t always feel happy and positive, and I experience moments of profound sadness. I am not sharing this entry so that you will feel sorry for me, but I am sharing it because it is a part of the experience I am dealing with as a cancer patient, and thus, part of my healing process. I am also sharing it because we all have our burdens and difficulties, and it is okay to cry and scream and be angry. Well, I do those things too.

I am a strong person, but I also possess a tremendous vulnerability which I don’t permit people to see very often. So I am exposing my vulnerability here in order to encourage others to be brave enough to experience their vulnerabilities, as well. It is important to open up to others, and I’m much better at helping people than allowing them to help me. This I need to change; I'm working on it.

April 21 - Wednesday
– Well, so much for a good night. I shouldn’t have done it, but I got one of my transplant books out and re-read it. The pre-transplant section includes suggestions for “Getting Your Affairs in Order.” As I read it, it made me realize what I needed to get in order. I don’t have a will, and even if I did I don’t have a thing to bequeath to anyone. But it made me think. My family would need to know the location of my life insurance policy, instructions for my funeral service (I want “The Prayer of St. Francis” and “Amazing Grace” played at my funeral, and I want to write a message to be read to family and friends after the sermon—that's the performer in me—even my death will be a production!), the passwords of e-mail and various accounts need to be made known as well as the addresses noted of people programmed into my cell phone, who don’t have e-mail, so they can be contacted should I die, and the most important loose-end—Aidan. I am his godmother, and I long to remain a presence in his life. As a Catholic, he will celebrate many sacraments as he grows into an adult, and beyond. I want to be sure he knows that I am with him on those special occasions, even though it may be in spirit only.

Thinking about all of this made me incredibly sad, and I’ve been sobbing for almost two hours. Part of me wants to organize this and another part feels that if I do, I am preparing to die. On the other hand, if I don’t put these things in order and I do die, none of my wishes will be taken care of and people will not hear my final words. I don’t want to die, and I’m afraid that by preparing a will or any end of life documents that I'm saying,"Okay, I’m ready," and I’m not, and I’m so frightened.

Most days I don’t think like this but every now and then thoughts of dying sneak into my mind, insinuate themselves there, and cause me much emotional turmoil. I have prayed so often for strength, courage, and faith. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t know how to get rid of my fears and I find it difficult to surrender these to God (it’s the control freak in me, I know), but somehow I’ve got to find a way “to let go and let God.”

Tonight I so much wanted to wake up Barbara, or pick up the phone and call my sister, Karen, or my friend, Joseph, or my other numerous friends—Lynn, Karen B, Natalie, Lisa, Nelson, Katie—there are many others too, but I just couldn’t do it. I know every one of them would be fine with me calling late—probably even feel good about being able to listen to and console me. My reaching out to them would be a gift I could give them, but I’m too damn stubborn and don’t want to impose upon or burden anyone with my problems. So, I turn to God and hope that he gives me the courage I need.

I don’t know why I prefer to suffer alone. Perhaps I don’t want anyone to know how frightened I truly am. Aha – right there I wrote “suffer alone”—if I’ve truly turned to God I shouldn’t feel alone, right? Maybe I don’t possess the faith I thought I had even though I talk to God frequently, I pray, I give thanks for all the wonderful people and successes in my life, and seek this divine energy in times of difficulty. But perhaps this isn’t enough. I’ve got some work to do regarding this…

Another source of consolation for me has been this journal. Its pages have been a nurturing place for me to sort out my feelings and be completely honest. I always feel better (and feel better now) for writing my feelings on paper (or in this instance, to computer screen). I’ve decided to place this on my blog site in order to share my emotions with everyone. Maybe I don’t have the courage to verbalize them, but I can definitely write about them.

I plan to live; there is much to accomplish in this life—I want to see Aidan grow into a man, and I want to fall in love again—oh, there are so many things. So, I must find the courage and the faith to get through this next phase of my treatment. It’s a very difficult time right now but I will continue fighting this cancer and I will continue exploring my life. I remain overwhelmed and humbled by the support and love I continue to receive from family and friends—I am truly a blessed woman.

I feel calmer now, so I am going to turn off my light, have a talk with God, then put on one of my healing guided meditation tapes, and hopefully, soon I will drift off to sleep. I see a radiation oncologist tomorrow and have a CT Scan scheduled afterwards, so it’ll be another harrowing day at the hospital, but I’m prepared for it. All of this will make me better—yes, it will.