Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Big "C"

So, back to the original title of this blog and where it came from.  As I said earlier, I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 5 years ago. Even though I have a very strong family history (I am the 4th generation to wear the pink ribbon) I was still shocked to hear the words, "you have cancer."
I am grateful to the radiologist who thought it would be a good idea for me to go for a biopsy even though he doubted what he was seeing was cancer, I thank the team that surrounded me during the steriotactic biopsy.  I trusted my surgeon and relied on the nurses ( 3 survivors) in the OR.  I'm thrilled that my oncologist agreed with my decision to NOT have radiation.
I was thrilled with the news the pathologist had for me, "no residual cancer cells."  Those are sweet words.
Then something weird happened.  I had a strange melancholy feeling that I couldn't shake.
"Why me?"  Not why did I get cancer but why am I alive, walking around smiling and singing, and my friends Marilyn, Liz and Patty aren't?  Was I the lucky one?  I don't believe in luck.  Did I fight harder than they did?  No such thing. 
It's called Survivor's guilt and I had a bad case of it.  After a while I came to terms with it.  Life just is.
It's taken a while but I learned something from this whole cancer experience.  First of all, you will rarely hear me use the word "survivor."  It creeps me out.  Feels like tempting fate.  The other words you won't hear me say are "cancer free."  That one really gives me the willies.
Here's the most important lesson I learned, though:  appreciate words and gestures because they come from people who care.  I am not a religious person so when people said they'd pray for me, it felt odd and being a smart ass I could feel words like "fat lotta good that'll do" coming to my mouth but, wisely, I didn't utter them because, well, that wouldn't be very nice, would it?  I realized that any good thought or word whether it was in prayer form or a plate full of brownies (hint, hint) came from people who cared.  I accepted them graciously and thankfully.
All for now.


  1. Yay Ellen! So cool that you are blogging!

  2. Thanks, Gerb. I've been making a list of topics - it's a long 'un.

  3. You know E, I have known you a long time.........does 7th grade ring a bell? I think that you are pretty amazing. You go girl!!

  4. I can hardly wait to see what's next. By the way I had no idea a plate of brownies was an alternative to prayer, or banging the drums, screaming at the top of your lungs, etc. But, whatever works lady! I am just glad you are here to harass the hell out of me on a daily basis!!!

  5. Prayers are just the verbalization of good intentions. The Universe has a big ear and hears all things that are good. Congrats on starting a blog. I think you'll have fun!

  6. Thanks for stopping in, Gar. Nice to see your face - even though it's in oil.

  7. Hey El .... I am here .... can't wait to "hear" all about whatever !!!

  8. I think you have the perfect perspective on 'the big C.'