I received a wonderful gift in the mail yesterday — a gift basket of coffee, tea, hot cocoa mix, and chocolates. My son, Energy Boy, immediately picked up the hot cocoa mix and chocolates. 🙂
This gift came from friend Susan of Toddler Planet and Mothers With Cancer, a fellow Inflammatory Breast Cancer patient/survivor. The gift was actually Susan’s as part of an homage to her and her blogging about IBC, from Bloganthropy, but as Susan is liable to do, she thought of someone other than herself when presented with the gift. She thought of me, and her words to me in the card that was sent meant as much, if not more, than the gift:
Thank you for writing your truth online and sharing your life with those of us following behind you. You’ve made Stage IV much less lonely and mysterious.
What beautiful, encouraging words. What a beautiful person Susan is. I smiled and smiled as I sifted through the wonderful package and read her note. I SMILED, an actual, heartfelt smile.
It’s not that I don’t smile these days. I do, but I know they aren’t as frequent as they once were. As I’ve said, cancer changes a person, and I know it’s made me less playful and more serious. I still laugh, I still have good times, I’m still somewhat playful, but I lost any semblance of innocence the first time around, and have had a very hard time wrapping my mind around all of my realities this time. Realities that are and will be constants in my life.
Sooo, to be thanked for my honesty, for sometimes brutal honesty that is hard to write and probably hard to read, is a gift. A true gift. Along with the coffee and other stuff, that is one of the best gifts I could have received. Thank you, Susan.
I also received a gift from another friend when I wished her a happy birthday on Facebook. Her words of thanks included thanking me for being real:
Ahhh Judy thank you for my birthday wish. I have been so crazy lately I haven’t posted much. But, I love you…you are amazing. (and real…which is even more amazing!) Muah!
Another gift, these words. You see, there are a handful — actually less than a handful that I personally know of — who don’t like the realness of my writing, my FB updates, my life. However, I can’t be any less than who I am, whether In Real Life, online, or wherever. These words aren’t all of who I am, and anyone who would mistake them for such is naive about online communication. But I am grateful for the kind words about me being honest and real about who I am and what I’m going through.
It’s not easy to be a Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer patient/survivor. This is not an easy life. I want to live a long time, and I don’t know if I’ll get that chance. As my oncologist has said, this is a terminal disease. Unless something else kills me first, IBC will. She has also said I can probably have “many years,” but I also haven’t asked her to define many years, and I don’t think I will. Because, you see, my definition of many years may be different from her definition of many years and I don’t want to box myself into any set number(s). I want to live. I want to raise Energy Boy. I want to see him graduate from high school. I want to see him enter college. I want to be at his wedding, if he should have one. I want to be there for his children, should he have any. And none of that is guaranteed. I realize it isn’t guaranteed for anyone, but it’s more of a reality for those of us with metastatic cancer that we’re less likely to be there. And that makes me sad.
However, even during all of that sadness, the not knowing what will happen, the wondering how much time I have . . . I receive gifts. Wonderful, generous gifts from wonderful, generous people.
Gifts that help me get out of bed in the morning, that help me get through the hard days, the dark times. Gifts given with love and received with love.
Thank you for the gifts.
Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.