These days


Me with my grandma

My mind is all over the place. Sometimes I feel I can’t focus. There are just too many emotions flowing through me during these holidays. So many memories of people who are no longer here. There is also sad, bad news in the blogosphere. And the uncertainties that never seem to end.

Yet, we must continue. Some days are more difficult than others though. Today is one of those days.

There have been a lot of deaths the last month due to metastatic breast cancer. One of these women who lost her life was Carolyn Frayn who blogged at art of breast cancer.

Although I know the outcome from this disease, it is still very hard to process when someone I care about dies. Carolyn was a beautiful artist (read her last post here). I enjoyed reading her posts as they were always so poignant. I often checked for updates. I knew what she was dealing with, but in my mind, when I did not see her posts, I was wishing she was just too busy living her life and didn’t have the time to post. I didn’t want to imagine the worst. Although I know the reality of metastatic breast cancer, I still hold on to hope. I am sad to have lost another member of our community. My condolences go out to Carolyn’s family.

And even those other women I didn’t know — their deaths affect me too. Ever since my diagnosis, this has become personal for me. Let’s not forget we are all in this mess together regardless of our cancer stage. I am unable to walk away. I feel for those families as they endure so much pain during these holidays. My condolences go out to you as well.

Losing a loved one sucks so much! There’s no way to describe the pain we feel. Losing someone during the holidays is even more painful to me, not that there is a “right time.” It reminds me of when I was getting chemo and was given a huge dose of steroids and diphenhydramine. One made me wired and one made me extremely drowsy, simultaneously — the side effects of these two drugs fighting against each other. But I couldn’t avoid them. I had to let them pass. Similarly, I don’t feel festive these holidays and at the same time I don’t want to sink into sadness. I need to let these days pass. But I do agree allowing myself to experience all these emotions/feelings is best. I should allow myself to grieve.

I am also thinking of my grandmother, who raised me, and who died from ovarian cancer on a January 2 – not a good way to start a New Year. It was during these days — the holidays, 1997 — that I had my last conversations with her. I am still grieving her loss. One thing I’ve been doing to help my state of mind is writing stories based on our memories together from my childhood. I suggest you give writing a try as it might help you too. Think of one special memory (or several of them) and write them down. Then read them out loud.

It’s totally OK not to feel festive during these holidays. And I am sorry some of you have reasons not to. Still, my wish for us is that we have many more good days than bad days, remembering we can only do our best.

Thank you for all the support you’ve provided me during 2015. Please know I am thinking of all of you and wishing everyone a wonderful holiday.

May 2016 bring us all some hopeful and encouraging news!

About thesmallc

I'm Rebeca. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. But there's more to my story: I am an animal lover. I love to cook. I have a wonderful fiancé who doesn't mind walking my rocky path with me. We currently live in New York. ---------------------------------------- “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
This entry was posted in Awareness, c World, Coping after cancer, Family, Loss and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to These days

  1. Carla Burke says:

    Beautifully written. I can completely relate.

  2. Carrie says:

    Happy Holidays, Rebecca! Yes, it’s been a sad month for metastatic breast cancer. I didn’t know any of the women who died but that doesn’t matter. It angers and saddens me just the same. I’m not having a hard holiday, even though there has been loss in my life this year. But I know that so many others are in pain this holiday season and they are always in my mind.
    Beautiful post.

    • thesmallc says:

      That’s right Carrie, it doesn’t matter whether we know these women or not, their deaths still affect us. Like you, I wish I could change it all.

      I am glad you are enjoying your holidays! Well deserved after all the headaches you’ve been though. Loving all your photos, by the way. May you receive only good news in 2016! xx

  3. Ninasusan says:

    Very well said! Great post!

  4. helensamia says:

    Two friends lost in the last couple of weeks… Just to sad at Christmas for their families.. Lets hope 2016 brings better days…

  5. I feel just as you do Rebecca — there have been too many senseless deaths in our world over the past year and the pain is heightened at Christmastime. And the heartbreak we still carry at the loss of our precious loved ones feels rawer this time of year. The picture of you with your grandma is beautiful – the love you both have for each other shines through. Wishing you peace and comfort always x

    • thesmallc says:

      This is all senseless. It is so hard to process and accept when someone goes. I try to hold on to my faith but sometimes I fail at it. Sometimes it just gets to be too much, you know?
      Thank you for your kind words. My grandma and I made a great team! She was hilarious and not your typical grandma. She was better.

      I hope you are able to find a sense of peace during the holidays, Marie. xx

  6. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: The Christmas Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  7. Those days before Christmas were really bad. I only slightly knew Carolyn, had exchanged a few emails, had no knowledge of the other women. But it was shocking to see a new post each day on Facebook . Sad.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I’ve taken a bit of a different approach this holiday season – complete avoidance. My hubby and I rented and RV and went camping … wasn’t as successful as I would have liked as it can be darn cold at this time of year, even in California … I’m not sure I’m going to be able to avoid the holidays forever, but for now at least I’ve managed to get through one more year … last year didn’t happen (I had my major surgery Dec 17 and left the hospital Dec 23) … Actually, it was on this date last year that I got my final pathology from my bilateral mastectomy … and word that all my lymph nodes were clear of cancer … so although I didn’t completely understand it at the time, it was a day of good news … and even being cancer free in 2015, It was still a very difficult year .. mentally challenging … hoping you can find a way to reduce your anxiety in the coming year … hugs

    • thesmallc says:

      That sounds nice that you guys went camping. I would love to go camping one day in California (Joshua Tree or Yosemite National Park).

      I am sorry you experienced part of the cancer mess so closely to the holidays but I am glad you received a good report. I am sure that allowed you to relax a little. Personally, I can’t stand my cancer associations with winter. I found my lump in mid Dec. but couldn’t get a biopsy scheduled until first week in January. Those days were not pleasant. The mental game was the most challenging part for me.

      Thank you for your kind wishes. I hope 2016 brings you lots of great news! xx

  9. Mandi says:

    We are all in this together. I haven’t been particularly festive, I feel you. Hope you January brings more sunshine and a few more good days. ❤

  10. bethgainer says:

    Rebecca, I, too, am grieving all the recent deaths of those we know about in the blogosphere and those we don’t know. Carolyn’s death hit me hard, and each death depresses me. Metastatic cancer of any kind is horrible, and you are right: we are all in this together. As you know from my posts, I’m trying to cope by embracing mindfulness, but it’s not easy.

    I hope you have a wonderful year filled with health and happiness.

    • thesmallc says:

      Beth, I remember being hit with bad news almost everyday the last few weeks — so many losses. And even just a couple of days ago, another young woman lost her life to MBC. I am perplexed about how some organizations don’t find this to be a situation of emergency.

      Embracing mindfulness is a great exercise, but like you mentioned, it is challenging especially when we get hit so many times. You continue to do your best. I will too.

      May 2016 be very kind to you. xx

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