Monday, 26 November 2012
Guest post from Nancy Kane a fellow PMP sufferer....
From time to time I like to invite fellow PMP sufferers or people touched by this disease to write a guest post for me. Nancy is a regular follower of my blog and we keep in regular contact.Nancy was diagnosed with PMP at around the same time as myself and we have shared the journey.Nancy lives in Maine in the USA with her family and shares her thoughts at Thanksgiving in the post below.......
November 22, 2012: American Thanksgiving Day
Most days, I do not consider myself a cancer survivor -- a teacher, mother, wife, grammy, daughter, all-around crazily busy person -- but not a survivor. Most of the time, I do not even think of those months when cancer hovered like an ever-present ripple in my consciousness. I don’t run, walk, or canvas for cancer. I don’t “raise awareness.” I have not joined any of those social cancer support groups (virtual or otherwise); I seem loth to enter my name as an official “survivor.” Do I consider it a jinx, perhaps? Am I like an alcoholic, unable to bring herself to say, “Hello. My name is Nancy. I survived cancer”? I don’t know.
Perhaps my reticence is because I have stumbled upon so many “survivor” blogs that have ended abruptly. They all begin so similarly: the explanation that the blog has been created to keep family and friends informed; a recitation of the botched and/or elusive misdiagnoses; a tone of innocent, fearful optimism when the disease is finally named; the stark reality of the MOAS, with talk of NG tubes and various and sundry complications; and, finally, the staggering steps to recovery. At first, the blog posts are frequent, and then, as health and strength return, they morph into normal chatter of trips and children. The topic of cancer returns only every six months, a pesky fly that buzzes just out of hearing until the notice of the requisite CT scan arrives, only to be batted away when the doctor announces the “all clear.” However, some blogs do not follow this trajectory. Sometimes a blog drifts off with no resolution. On others, posts return, chronicling a suspicious scan, repeat operations, increased pain meds and more desperate measures, often ending with a short death announcement written by a family member. I personally call them ghost blogs, and they haunt me. Still, every day, rather religiously, I click on a few internet links, just to make sure that those particular blog writers are still amongst the living. For those few minutes, I remember.
I did not research my cancer until after the surgery, after enough days had passed to convince me that life would return to some semblance of normal. The fact that my doctors did not mention the word cancer to me during the months of fumbling about for a diagnosis helped my ignorance, and then, when the magic disease was finally named, its ridiculous spelling kept my googling at bay. When I eventually stumbled upon the Wikipedia entry, I read only enough to get thoroughly chilled and then shut off the computer. Much later, when I gained the confidence to surf for answers, I became voracious, lurking on sites but never announcing myself. I invisibly followed the final months of several “survivors.” I almost, but not quite, joined the various PMP support forums. I only “outed” myself on a few blogs -- a fellow teacher, a fellow Mainer, and this one -- whose writer had surgery just about the same time as I.