Let’s Be Honest

October 27, 2010 at 7:30 PM (Family, Happy, Karma, Silver Lining) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for three or four weeks now because I know no one wants to read it. (No, I’m not dying. My CA-125 seems to be responding to the new chemo, although I have yet to feel any practical benefits.)

But things at the ol’ Casa Carcinista are, well, different since I got back from Colorado.

Sure, there’s the coughing and wheezing, the resting after a flight of stairs. The utter lack of an exercise routine. But I’m talking about more meta-changes.

For the past four-and-a-half years, we’ve been sailing along through open seas, scanning the horizon with our telescopes, peering from the crow’s nest at the edge of the world, looking for signs of what’s to come. For that time, there’s been no sign of anything, just flat horizon. Some days we’ve had calm seas, and picnics on the deck; other days have been stormy and I’ve stayed below decks. We’ve just kept sailing, waiting and watching.

Now, there’s land on the horizon. Distant, hazy, indistinct, but it’s there. And that’s where we’re sailing. Don’t know how long it’s going to take us to get there, nor whether we’ll change course and sail somewhere else first, but there’s no doubt of my destination.

I think what triggered this all was the realization, in Estes Park, that I was not well. For the first time, really, since forever, I was sick and not getting better. There were things that I just couldn’t do because of cancer, and the likelihood that I ever would be able to do them was small and shrinking. Even during my IP chemo routine in 2006 (the energy nadir of my life), I was able to drag myself to my best friend’s wedding as MOH and even threw down a little swing with my sweetie. Sure, I paid for it for days, but it was a hoot, and I got better. I’m still waiting to feel as well as I did before FD. (Nothing personal, FD – I still love you.)

Strangely, I’ve found these recent changes in my life almost comforting. Where the null-sum of cancer is undoubtedly the waiting, the uncertainty that comes while a surgery date approaches, or while you’re twiddling your thumbs until the scan results come back, any kind of certainty in this free-for-all can be the equivalent of a neatly solved equation, exhaling a long-held breath. As our therapist reminded us this morning, we’ve entered the last healthy step of the stages of grief: acceptance. Not that my demise is imminent, but that it’s out there, on the horizon, whether we’re sailing there directly or around the Horn first. Can you imagine setting out on a journey that will last the rest of your life and not knowing where you’re going or when you’ll get there? (And forget about knowing what to pack.) You see my point.

Even more strangely, a field of calm seems to have settled over Casa Carcinista. With this acceptance has come relinquishing of closely-held argument positions, reductions in conflicts, a willingness to compromise and see the other guy’s point of view. The little brown house is full to bursting with love. Mr. W and I are more likely than we used to be to drop what we’re doing and have a hug, or sit at the table after the boys are excused and just talk quietly about our day. We listen more closely when our kids stop us to talk. We are always available for snuggles. We are focusing on the stuff that really matters – building and maintaining healthy relationships, following family traditions, spending time together – and, for the most part, filtering out the dross.

So no, since you asked, I’m not scared. There are still plenty of things I’m pissed off about, and for damned sure I’m not anywhere near finished fighting this battle. But the cloud of acceptance and love that has descended over Casa Carcinista has made us better people, and I wouldn’t trade that for a house at the beach.

And while we are speaking of beaches... here's my favorite.

Photo courtesy Mr. Wonderful.

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  1. Mr. Wonderful said,

    Life is a journey. Not sure my bags are ever packed with the right things. But I am happy to share the ride with you.

    Love you.


  2. Dee said,

    I have been following your blog for a while now.
    Thank you so much for so eloquently putting into words what it is like on this journey.
    I don’t care where the ship takes me or what I am wearing as long as it makes stops so I can spend time with my husband, children ,family and friends.

  3. KLarson said,

    Being newly diagnosed to this awful club in December of 09, I still feel a lot of anger. I effin hate ovarian cancer and what it does to woman and families. I appreciate your honesty and you give me hope that I’ll be able to move past my heartbreak, grief, and anger.

  4. Amy said,

    How in the world do you expect to remain a cry-free zone when you write amazing stuff like this, woman?

    Sheesh. This is the first time I’ve been happy for a 300 mile buffer zone since your diagnosis. Still, I’d rather have a hug or three.

    Have I ever mentioned how happy, proud and amazed I was to have you in my wedding? Well now I have.

    • Thad said,

      I’m with Amy… how the HELL do you expect this to be a cry-free zone with a post like that!?

      You’re an amazing writer Sarah… oh, and an amazing person. As always, we’re right down the road and eager to do anything we can to be your helpful sailmates.

  5. Anna said,

    Beautifully written truth…I wish you smooth sailing over calm waters

  6. Maggie said,

    Such amazing stuff, finding the peace….here’s to many more peaceful days and to sweet hugs and laughter….

  7. tori said,

    I have the ugly cry going on over here sarah. But I am happy that you’re at peace with what’s coming down the road. I don’t know what else to say.

  8. Jennie said,

    Wow. That is one powerful post. Thank you. I’m so happy for your peace and only wish that I able to find it and pack it with me if my journey takes the same turn. XO

  9. Kale said,

    acceptance. yes. I’m still working on that one… thanks for a beautifully written post.

  10. Tweets that mention Let’s Be Honest « The Carcinista -- Topsy.com said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennie McGihon, Anna Rachnel. Anna Rachnel said: RT @thecarcinista: has a heavy one for you today, but I always give it to you straight, don't I? http://fb.me/wpAaUzAd […]

  11. Patty said,


    That was beautiful. I am speechless. Do you know the kind of love you inspire? Thank you. We are all on this journey with you.


  12. amba said,

    crying on the couch..love you !

  13. Connie Reeves said,

    I am filled with awe, Sarah, for you and your Mr. Wonderful. I think your calm acceptance is a great thing and will provide you and your family with many moments of joy during this journey. May it be a long and happy one.

  14. Eden said,

    Beautiful Shotgun. Miss you. Thinking about you and your Mr. Wonderful and your beautiful family.

  15. no line on the horizon | See Emily Play said,

    […] long after arriving at work, I read the latest post from Sarah, my ovarian sister who has been battling since 2006.  Her words hit me hard, as they often do.  […]

  16. Melanie said,

    Hi, just found you blog. I am mother of 5 & 3 year old boys, who was diagnosed with stage IIIc ovarian a little over a year ago. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  17. klb said,

    I was oh so hoping that this would never be a post of yours, instead cancer free and fancy free would be the next one. I am sad but in awe of how much you have to say and how beautifully you say it – and I have never had cancer. But I have had many family members and friends who have. What insight and love you provide with each writing. Thank you for letting me be a part of one little tiny aspect of your world.

  18. crystal peaches said,

    nothing i say could ever express how this made me feel. you are an incredible, inspirational woman, mother and friend. i love you and i miss you.

  19. JQP said,

    Such amazing writing- I had such clear visuals of sailing along (pirate theme with you and Mr. W dressed head to toe in proper attire). I have to admit (which I’m sure others will too) that I’ve been a stowaway on that boat at times. Keeping very quiet but trying to grab a peek here and there through that telescope when I could.
    Thanks for setting an expectation Sarah. I no longer have to be a stowaway-but will be more than happy to jump on that ship to share some of the ride with you any time you want/need.

  20. Mr. Wonderful said,

    Ok – Carcinista – I think you need to show how “Pirate” we can get. Next post should be “Pirates at Maho Bay”!

  21. jane said,

    Lovely, lovely post. That is all.

  22. Eileen Esworthy said,

    I understand the free floating/falling awfulness of shifting tides. I hope that the land is far away and the journey takes a long time so long as you are able to enjoy the moments asea with your family, friends and us.

    You are often in my thoughts, and today they are filled with love, admiration and awe…and a little bit of joy (how weird is that?) that there is acceptance and no more struggle.

  23. JW said,

    This is beautiful, Sarah. Thank you for this gift. We are with you on your journey, and it is our journey, too.

  24. Uncle Tom said,

    Most people go through life without understanding what in life is really of value. By sharing your journey, you have helped me to better see what is of value in my own. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    With Warm Affection and Love,

    Uncle Tom

  25. nancy said,

    Sarah, I am so happy I found your blog. You have written a powerful post here with so much to contemplate in there, no need to say more. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Carlene said,

    I absolutely get it. Unfortunately. I wish I didn’t, though.

    PS….I have always called my DH “Mr Wonderful”. I’m betting we are married to men cut from the same cloth. Not the sissified “wind beneath my wings” stuff, but more like rocks beneath my feet – solid and supportive, no matter what. God bless ’em.

  27. Danielle said,

    I’m in awe of you as well. I hope that I could be as strong as you when faced with such a challenge. Breast cancer is my creep and shall she come again for me I want your grace. I feel a lot of love for you. Thank you for sharing and giving me someone to look up to.

  28. Libby's H*O*P*E* said,

    A beautiful and poignant piece of writing! I just want to wish you a happy birthday today, along with future “smooth sailing.” You are an inspiration to everyone involved in the ovarian cancer community. Please keep writing and thank you for sharing your gift with us. You’re quite amazing. — Paul

  29. All You Need Is Love « The Carcinista said,

    […] sense of loss for me and our boys. But I embraced the pain, accepting that she had reached the end of her amazing voyage. She and I had come to a place of peace long before she died. We knew the destination, just not […]

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