Things I don’t have to worry about anymore.

June 9, 2011 at 8:10 AM (Age, Awareness, Energy, Family, friends, Happy, Karma, mommy guilt, Real Life, Silver Lining, Zen) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sarah and I sat together on the couch looking at her computer, trying to make sense of things. At the moment, she was in a place of clarity, somewhere between waves of a morphine-induced fog and cancer-induced exhaustion.

“Can I help?” I asked. “What other subjects would you like to write about? You said you had more to write.”

Sentences were shorter now. Not always coming as full thoughts. But this one was clear: “Things I don’t have to worry about anymore.” Her words were dry. I helped her take a sip from her glass of water.

“Okay, I understand.”  We had talked about this before, and I knew what she meant.

Her body was weak. Her focus waxed and waned. She couldn’t hold anything up without help. She couldn’t type. But she was still Sarah, with big, beautiful smile and brilliant blue eyes looking out at all of us, surveying what, to her, must have been such an amazing picture of life. Thinking to herself…things I don’t have to worry about.

It was Monday, May 2nd. We knew what was coming. There was no stopping it. There were no more doctors. Just family and friends for support and love. And of course those helpful, pain relieving drugs. None of us wanted this, but we all knew it was reality. As Sarah and I would often say, “It is what it is.” It was as simple as that. And she had come to accept this.

Tuesday, May 3rd. Sarah died. All worries were gone.

Over the years, Sarah and I discussed, sometimes argued, about the things we worry about. Our therapist often helped us with these things. Bringing us to a better place. Better as a couple. Better as lovers. Better as parents. Better as friends.

We talked about worry and stress. What if we just didn’t have to worry? Is this what happens when you die? Worries just disappear? Maybe. Or, maybe we come to a place of peace, knowing that all those things we worry about in life will simply work themselves out – one way or another.

Is this what she meant when she said “I know I’m getting the easy way out?” Since she wouldn’t have to be concerned anymore? Worry would no longer exist?

Sarah may have been a cynic (and who wouldn’t be after five years of ups and downs from cancer, surgeries and chemo?), but I believe she became an optimist toward the end – seeing there really is no reason to worry. That our energy is put to better use in other ways.

So, what does Sarah NOT have to worry about?

1. Cancer and all its crap.

Say it with me: CRAP! CRAP! CRAP!

No more cancer. No more surgery. No more port. No more drugs. No more chemo. No more side effects. No more scans. No more waiting for results. No more wondering about the next treatment or trial – or if there will be a next treatment. No more wigs. No more hair falling out. No more hair growing back in. No more trips to the hospital during the day, nor in the middle of the night. No more oxygen tanks. No more possibility of further organ failures. No more catheters of any kind. No more injections. No more feeling like crap.

For the rest of us, cancer IS still here. Some of our friends are battling now. Some will win. Some may not. But, let’s keep hope alive. Sarah had hope. We can ALL have hope. Let’s not worry. Instead, look for cures. Look for ways to stay healthy. The Feathers will continue to send love and healing thoughts to all friends of The Carcinista who are waging their own war. Please stay well and know that love and caring is all around you.

2. Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Clearly NOT something Sarah worried about for herself. She caught it, but late. Really late. And this gave her more and more reason to want others to know the signs. Ovarian cancer is much more treatable in early stages. So, to help Sarah not worry, please spread the word.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

Learn more at one of the following:  http://www.tealtoes.org/symptoms or http://www.ovationsforthecure.org/aware/aware.php

3.  Getting a tan

From an early age, Sarah loved the sun. She loved the beach. Loved the pool. Loved being in her bikini. She called this her “happy place.” And she was the sun goddess – flipping regularly and adjusting straps so not have an uneven tan. When young – before the sunscreen craze – she always had the perfect tan during the summer. More recently, she tanned just enough – but careful about burns. And of course, making sure to get a good dose of Vitamin D.

4.  Her daily Diet Coke

Sarah’s favorite drink. Loved it cold. Some said she shouldn’t drink it for a variety of reasons. Her response, “Damn it! If I’m going to cut out everything else “bad” for me, I have to have at least one vice. And so she did.

5.  Global Warming

One of Sarah’s many sarcastic comments a few months ago while discussing possible directions for this post: “Since I’m probably going to Hell anyway, global warming doesn’t sound so bad.” Sarah cared a great deal about the environment and global warming. She worried about the future and what will be left for our kids. At least she doesn’t have to worry about it.

6.  Wrinkles

Have you seen what the celebrities are doing to themselves these days? Botox and all sorts of other weird things. Sarah was not keen of the idea of wrinkles, but I think she would have taking them, and worn them with pride.

7.  Finding the perfect outfit

Being the fashionista she was, Sarah always cared about how she looked. She even dressed up for Chemo. And why not? It made her feel good. I have to wonder what the fashion is in Heaven these days. If togas are in vogue, I’m sure she’ll be sorely disappointed (she already did that in college).

8.  Being cold
Sarah was ALWAYS cold. Well, except in the middle of the summer, or on the beach in the Caribbean. But, there was a silver lining. She used to say, in stark contract to her chili side, I was more like a furnace. And this called for lots of snuggling. We kind of balanced each other out – keeping just the right warm.

9.  Nap time

The afternoon nap was a cherished time. When we were younger, both working full time, Sarah enjoyed them on weekends. When she began working at home, afternoon naps were an enjoyable part of her day. After having kids, almost essential.

Then, cancer came. Naps were no longer just a “nice” part of the day, they were a necessity. And Sarah did worry about not getting enough. If the kids were anxious and made too much noise, or the dog was being a pain – sleep didn’t happen. If I called from the car on my way home and got a short answer, I knew her sleep had been restless.

But now, I’m sure she’s resting when she wants to, on her favorite beach. It’s warm. There’s a nice breeze. She’s got a great tan. Eyes closed. Sweet dreams dancing in her head.

10.  A replacement

Sarah often talked about my “next wife” and how I should find someone just right. She even wanted to help. But, I’m glad this is something she won’t be worrying about. I’m not. If it’s meant to be, I’m sure it’ll happen. If not, that’s fine too. When I met Sarah, I knew she was “the one” just three days after meeting her. And while our relationship was not always perfect (who’s is?), I’d take our 18 years together and enjoy them again in a heartbeat.

PS.  If and when I do find someone, there is no possibility of a replacement. Sarah will always be one of a kind.

11.  Her three boys

She worried, and she didn’t. She knew we were well prepared and have a great support system. I remember the first time I heard her say something about a support system. It was before our oldest son was born. She wanted to stay on the East Coast because it was close to her family, her support system. This was a foreign term to me at the time, but have grown to love it and all that it means. Our friends and family are truly amazing. I know Sarah is not worried at all.

12.  Dust bunnies

There are many parts of life that are just that, life. Dust bunnies and all. So, stop worrying. Make sure you live each day. Take some time to enjoy the little things – and the big things, too.

We miss you Sarah. Thank you for helping us see and know what is important in life.

Love,

– Mr. Wonderful

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Save Money: Get Cancer!

January 26, 2010 at 4:24 PM (Age, Energy, Hair, Silver Lining) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Recent articles in the media may give you the impression that cancer can be expensive. So expensive, in fact, that many patients need help in paying for their treatments. But I’ve put together a little list of the fantastically fiscally responsible features of this insidious illness. Check it out:

Baldness: Eliminates costs for hot water to wash the hair, electricity to blow-dry and straighten the hair. No shampoo, conditioner, frizz serum, or hairspray. No salon appointments, cuts, color, etc. No razor blades or shaving cream, waxing or eyebrow appointments. Average annual savings: ~$2,500 – 3,000.

Fatigue: Depending on your pre-cancer social life, savings can be significant. No cost for movie theaters, club cover charges, bar tabs, or concert tickets. (Who could stand up for three hours straight?) Deduct the cost of increasing your cable selection or increasing your Netflix membership, but average annual savings: $500 – 3,000.

Figure changes: Who knows what size you’ll be next week? Depending on your treatment protocol, you could be pumped full of fluid, plumped up on steroids, recovering from surgery, or in no mood to eat. And since the only places you’ll go will be the drive-thru at the pharmacy or a medical facility, you’re going to be looking for comfort anyway. Buy some yoga pants and this fleecy-lined sweatshirt in three colors each and you’re all set. Shelve your shopping addiction until your shape has settled. Average annual savings: $1,000 – 10,000 (depending on your habit). [NOTE: I didn’t really do this, but hypothetically, it could work. Nothing could stop me from shopping. Nothing.]

Feet: Don’t need heels (see reduced social life). Don’t need new trainers (see fatigue). Yoga doesn’t take shoes, and besides, your feet hurt. Get some snuggly boots or comfy soft slip-ons and relaaaaax. Average annual savings: $250 – $750+.

Nutrition: Eating out is limited to take-out, since who wants to be perky enough to be in a restaurant for an hour? People will be bringing you food since you’re too tired to cook, and other than that there’s a case of Ensure in the cupboard. Bananas and yogurt will round out the selection. Average annual savings: $300 – 1,000+.

Reading: You can cancel your magazine subscriptions. People will bring you the current issue of every trashy Hollywood tabloid, and, if they’re really good friends, shopping bags full of shelter mags. Plus, you’ll be spending a ton of time on the internet doing treatment research, reading killer blogs and connecting on i[2]y.com. Average annual savings: $50 – 300.

Home decor: for the first two weeks at least after your surgery, friends and relatives (especially those at a geographical distance too far to visit) will send flowers. LOTS of flowers. Plants, cut blooms, and, if you’re lucky, gorgeous bouquets from Winston’s. Since you’ll be a little immunologically compromised, the nurses won’t let you keep flowers in your room, so they’ll all have to go home. Which means that no one will notice the dirty slipcover on the armchair or the fact that the neglected and frustrated dog has eaten the doormat. Average annual savings: $100 – 500+.

See? Now run right out and tell your favorite cancer patient to quit their caterwauling about health insurance, co-pays, and pharmacy costs. This ought to cover at least one and possibly two recurrences of even the most hideous diagnosis. Right?

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