Friday, 17 August 2012

Hard Lessons Learned

One of the toughest things I've had to deal with in life, even before cancer, was discovering the true self of a friend.  I have lost those that I considered to be good people and good friends once their facade dissipated, revealing an ugly side.  A side that you did not conceive that person being capable of.  And, as I've found in many situations, it is not until you step back and re-evaluate the friendship that you find the truth of the matter: they were never hiding their arrogance, pretentiousness, or vaingloriousness, you just favoured their good traits, turning a blind eye to their malevolence.

On Facebook, many people friend anyone that they know, or think they know.  This has some with thousands of "friends".  Others only friend the people they truly wish to keep in contact with, they tend to only have a couple dozen to a couple hundred at most.  On Facebook, blocking people has seemed to turn away from keeping unwanted eyes away from your daily life, to the act of if someone does not agree with everything you think is right then you block them.

For some, it is no skin off their back to have the delete/block button at the ready.  They have the power to take someone out of their life in an instant.  The internet is full of safeguards, if you make a mistake or simply change your mind you can "undo" your act.  They can leave with a comment of "I wish you would die" or "You deserve to die (or have cancer)" and think they were fully in the right to give you that sentence.  At times I wonder if they simply belittle the act of losing someone to death?  They are gone.  You may have them in your mind, think of them often, and reflect on good times, but that person is no longer there for those that do love them.  Are we becoming a generation that thinks it is okay to be so malevolent?

No, as a generation I cannot see that being the norm.  Many people still care for others, even strangers, and many try to be good people.  The fact is that some still believe the world revolves around them because they cannot see passed their eyes.  They do not understand that the world owes them nothing, but they owe the world to be the best human they can be.

I came to the conclusion today after having someone I've known for 16 years turn from a friend to a fiend, attacking one of my friends and wishing them death, that we need to accept that we cannot always predict what a person truly thinks of you.  You may think of them as good, but they may only be using you when you are useful to their endeavours.  Leaving me to come up with this epiphany:
"If someone blocks you because of their pretentiousness, did you lose a friend or weed out an antagonist? Either way, you discover they were not who you thought they were and you are better off without them."

The only one that lost the friendship was I, it was my mistake in seeing only the good and not acknowledging the enmity.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Who am I?

I ask "who am I?"

Am I the cancer that invaded my tissues or organs?  Am I the lost amongst the statistics?  Am I the forgotten in the sea of sponsoring corporations?  Am I the one that forfeited their claim to a healthy life?  Am I the astray because I have fallen?  Am I the dismembered or disfigured?  Am I the broken dreams?  Am I the shortened sight?  Am I the pain?  The torture?  The sorrow?  The loneliness?

I am the one that cries because of my strength.  I am the one that faced death and did not give in.  I am the confident because I must be.  I am the defier, I am the stubborn.  I am the unstoppable, even if death wins.  I am the courageous because I will not yield.  I am the caring because I have lost.  I am the victor because I am powerful.

I will be weak, I will be strong.  I will bend, but I will not break.  I will risk, for that is how reward is found.  I will be vulnerable, I will be benevolent.  I will stumble, but I will rise.

Who am I?  I am what and who I let myself be.  I am me.  And, I am unstoppable.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bright Lights

It is in the darkest of hours that the smallest light shines its brightest. - Me (Julie Michaud)

It is something that many have heard said differently, but it remains true.  It is when the world seems the most bleak that we can acknowledge the tiniest form of good.  When you know someone is having a bad day, week, month, or more, you don't need to do a grandiose gesture to cheer them up.  Something as simple as buying them a coffee or tea, showing up to invite them out for a drive or walk, sending a handwritten letter to them, or sending them a movie night out coupon can be just the spark they need to remember that people do care about them.

Obviously this all depends on the person and your own financial situation.  A parent cannot always drop everything and go for a drive.  A patient cannot always have a coffee or go for a night out.  There are so many little things that can brighten a person's outlook on life for you to choose from.  Simply evaluate what you know would mean something to the person.  Would a surprise bouquet of flowers, maybe their favorite species, help give them a reason to smile?  Perhaps a half dozen cupcakes could perk their spirits.

What I do not recommend is what a lot of people tend to do.  Do not belittle their strife.  You may have had a similar experience, draw on that as a way to know how to help them, do not mock how they are reacting to it.  Offer valid advice, not criticism.  It may have taken a lot of courage to express how the person is feeling.  Critiquing has it's place but not when trying to help someone out of the darkness.  If you honestly cannot relate, don't.  Just be there for them in any way you can.  Do not use the phrase "I could never handle what you're going through", you mean well but that phrase is so infuriating to most (I bet they have heard it non-stop already), so try to keep that one under wraps.

Best phrase "how can I help you?" and mean it.  If they say they need help piecing their life together, help them find the professional help they need.  If they need one hour to themselves, help them figure a way to get that time.  If they just need you to sit there and hear them bleed their heart out, get comfy and let them do it.

Be the light in the darkness.  Be the hope in despair.  Be the strength in their weakness.  Be their friend in the void.  Angels don't all have wings, most just have an open heart and kindness flowing from them.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Adventures in Reconstruction: Deconstruction

I've had the pleasure of being stuck in the QEII hospital for 5 days.  My incision on the cancer side gave way...  For the second time (see previous blog Scalpel, Suture,.. Glue).  Unfortunately this happened on Saturday so I had to endure the long weekend in the hospital until my doctor came back on Tuesday.  I was sitting in my hospital bed with an open wound (roughly 2cm x 5cm) from Saturday to Tuesday afternoon.  Sufficed to say, the Uniboob has returned.  The reconstruction has failed.

I did get to keep the implant, more of a momento/show-and-tell than anything else.  Now for me to decide on if I want the latis dorsi or the DIEP for my next move.  The decision is not one I take lightly and as they removed the implant due to exposure, I have three months before anything can be done anyways.

Thanks for reading!