Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not As Easy As It Looks

I haven't been able to write. I still don't know if I am able to write, but I'm going to give it a try. I'm not certain why it's been so difficult. I think it's a combination of not wanting to dole out difficult news to those that read this and of the memories that flood in every time I open this blog page. But this is my outlet and this is my honesty. I haven't been feeling "inspirational" or "heroic" or "positive." For really the first time, everything has caught up with me.

I have been living with focused blinders on and now am suddenly feeling all the punches from nearly three years all at once. I've gone at this with sheer determination and I know that what I am writing here will come as a surprise to many, but I am asking for your understanding and support. I know that this is not what always appears on the outside. But I believe that it is important for everyone dealing with their own medical issues and for those watching a loved one go through it to understand that we can't be smiling all the time and that it gets very tiring to hold it all together. I think that that's okay. But I don't think that it's easy to admit.

Life has been very difficult over the past month. Things have been more difficult for me to handle than they have ever been. I've been dealing with a lot of anger, frustration, and feelings of defeat and helplessness. I'm uncertain and uncomfortable. I'm unfocused and unstable. I get very sad and very mad and very frustrated. I'm finding it much harder to pull out of the low places. I'm finding many less places of elation. I resent other people and get wildly jealous of their happiness and wish desperately to find my own again. I feel like I cry all the time, but at the wrong times.

I hate being on treatment again. I hate that I have no idea if it's working. I hate the feelings that the Hodgkin's disease is flaring up. I hate the fear of GvHD. The Revlimid has been primarily well tolerated except for tremendous fatigue; I am so tired all of the time but so anxiety ridden that I can't sleep in the way I need to be sleeping. My eyelashes have thinned again, nearly all of them that I worked so hard to re-grow after transplant have been showing up on cotton balls and on my pillow. I again have the eyes of a cancer patient and it's incredibly unnerving.

My husband's mother, Linda, passed away on November 29. Craig and his brother, Eric, were with her by her side. Letting go and watching her slip away over the course of a couple of weeks was heartbreaking, as was deeply feeling how it affected Craig, Eric, Rachel, me, and the rest of her close family. I hate that I am not at my own full capacity to be able to pick all the rest of us up. I hated that I felt I was not the wife I would have been three years ago. I spoke at her service and spoke much with her in her final days and am inspired with how at peace she seemed to have been with her life and the choices that she made in it.

It is also the first Christmas without my grandmother. There is certainly a void there and because I was so sick myself when she died, I have had no closure and no comprehension that she is gone except in the eyes of my mother and uncles. I'm almost emotionally numb to it.

My dear friend also just lost her mother to another cancer battle and I feel like more and more people are getting diagnosed. I'm also deeply affected by the loss of a fellow warrior, a woman who came to visit me when I was in transplant quarantine and who helped to decorate my room with photographs and art. She never made it through transplant and is now gone and the sadness of that is immense. It's terrible and awful and I wish that there was something that I could do to make it all go away.

I had been working out and getting back into yoga, but I've been so tired and so achey that I haven't been able to over the past two weeks. Eating is a continued struggle. I'm afraid that everything I eat will give me more cancer. I'm rarely hungry and my meals have been scattered and unbalanced. My mouth is always dry and my tongue aches and tingles all the time making it difficult to eat and sometimes even to drink.

The MFA in writing graduate program has again had to be deferred, if not completely unattainable now. My life is just too variable. It's too much money and it's too much of a commitment at this point and I don't know that it makes sense to make that investment. I also never did get out to Nevada to see my sister, the mountains, desert, and Vegas strip. The trip had to be canceled so that I could say goodbye to my mother-in-law at her memorial service.

I did move forward with my return to work full time, though primarily from home and with different job responsibilities. It's taking adjustment and a reassessment of myself and my capabilities. It's been difficult to have the faith in myself that all of my team members have in me. I'm doing my best to push through this transition period as I get past the uncomfortableness and into the realization that I'll never be the same as I was before all of this. Everything has been compromised.

I no longer have the capacity nor the energy to keep up a front or to brush things off. I am irritable and irrational most all of the time. No one can say the right thing to me and I'm building my own walls and breaking them down over and over again. This has manifested itself in my relationships with those closest to me: my husband and my parents and most troublingly, myself. No one beyond that would probably even know how much I am struggling – or maybe they do and I just don't know it. I'm only just starting to share these feelings.

My donor transplant was wildly traumatic. I've written about this before, but again, I am only seeing now how painful and scary it was because I didn't let myself get taken down by it at that time. I was in survival mode and it was exactly what I needed at that time and how I got out to the other side. Now that I am here, I have no idea what to do with myself.

I'm sorry to be so brutally honest for those who have yet to go through what I have, but transplant was an inhuman experience. I was literally vomiting on myself, shitting and pissing my pants multiple times a day. I'd get up, throw out my underwear, change it, and have no more energy left to do anything else. I spent my 29th birthday with a mouth full of blood from the severe sores in my cheeks and on my lips. But somehow what I remember fondly is smiling through it, with red stained teeth, at my dear friends who came to celebrate with me. I spent nights so weak that I had to use a commode next to my bed and sometimes I couldn't even make it to that. I woke myself up talking to clusters of balloons and would be so tired that I couldn't hold onto a cup of soup without falling asleep, losing my grip, and spilling it all over myself, too tired to even clean it up.

I came so close to death and to have risen from that – after constant treatment for two years before that – only to come back to find out that the f*&C^ing lymphoma is still growing is enough to knock me to the floor in sheer defeat. Being back in doctor's offices so much recently and having to recount with some semblance of cheeriness to my oncology teams of past that: "Yes, I had the transplant, but the journey continues ... ." or some bs line, is awful. I hate it. I wanted this to be over. I wanted to tie it in a bow and put it all away.

I'm not giving up. I just don't know what I am supposed to be doing. I don't know if I'm going to get better. I don't know how much time I have. These are tremendous unanswerable questions that I suppose we all try to answer. I just want to stop thinking about them all. the. time. I have lost a lot of my self confidence and my emotional stability has taken a big hit. I wish that it was more acceptable to be sad and scared and that there wasn't this tremendous pressure to keep myself so positive for everyone else. What I ask is for people to be real with me. Tell me it's difficult for you too. Tell me that this is normal, that it doesn't mean that I'm weak. Maybe then, I can be realistic with myself.

I have one cycle (21 days) of the Revlimid 5mg under my belt. As I mentioned, the fatigue is intense. However, my blood counts do not seem to have been affected at all. They are actually still soaring since my sister's donor cells gave me such an incredibly active new immune system. All of my counts are in normal range. My platelets are 280,000 – at stark contrast from this time last year when I had to do jumping jacks to get them up to 75,000 in order to receive treatment or the numbers as low as 16,000 this summer.

My liver function numbers are up: this could mean that maybe some Graft vs. Host/Graft vs. Lymphoma effect has been stimulated by the Revlimid. This is what we have been hoping for, sort of. My odd tongue feelings could be a part of that also. And, I've been having strange rashes, hives and welts that wax and wane out of nowhere. None of my doctors know exactly what all of this means but they are watching me very closely. There is so little data and so little precedent that it's all kind of a guess. I continue to see my transplant and lymphoma docs at Sloan every other week. I head back to NYC on Tuesday and we'll talk about starting up the second cycle of Revlimid. After that, a PET Scan to check progress.

I also am on the tail end of a rough cold virus which had me in hacking coughing fits for several days and blocked up my left ear completely. I just finished a course of antibiotics and feel improved but not fully recovered. I am so deeply hoping that it's not another "upper respiratory infection" that turns out to be the lymphoma on the rise – again.

I've also had some pretty incredible back, hip, and sacrum pain and aches. These aches are deep in my bones. I couldn't move without being brought to tears. It was so bad last night that I had to take pain medication, something that I have not done since I was an inpatient during transplant. Dr. Moskowitz ordered me an MRI of my entire spine last week and it didn't show that any tumor was pressing on nerves, which was assuring. It didn't reveal any vertebrae involvement that we didn't already know about. I am aware that much of these back issues may be related to tension. I hope?

I don't mean it to seem that things are awful all of the time. Christmas is my favorite time of year. We have a beautiful tree and have had many enjoyable moments, and I am doing my best to focus on those. I am so appreciative of my beautiful family and friends. My sister comes home for the holidays next week and Craig and I host our annual holiday bash on Saturday, which will bring so many of our favorite people into our home. I feel so much love, especially at this time of year. Maybe that's why this year, at this time, it's been so very hard for me because I want there to be many more to come. I miss my health terribly and it is the only gift I want this year.


  1. I have this feeling, Karin, that your friends and family would want you to spill out your darkest feelings so they could share the burden. From what I read, you've got some wonderful people wanting to help you. Let them in. This cancer crap is a beast. I know. Wish I didn't. But please give yourself the gift of leaning on those who love you. I'll be in New York on Wednesday, and will be thinking of you while I'm there, wishing you good health. It feels like my healthy vibes will be strong because we'll be in close proximity.

  2. Dear Karin,
    I don't know you. But I check your blog everyday. And I write my own. And I take really long breaks where I just can't write. It's completely normal to be angry and irritable and it is not irrational. It is well earned and justified after everything you've been through and done. My experience has been that often we are most emotional after the trauma. During it (transplant, chemo, etc.) you just have to survive. There really isn't room for much more. Perhaps, though you have not been feeling great, it is actually a sign your body is tolerating things well enough, leaving you some energy to grieve and feel whatever comes? We can only handle so much at once. I felt tons of pressure to be happy, especially for my doctors because I knew they were trying. But happy or positive isn't always helpful. Be true to yourself. From what you've written about your family and friends. They will understand. I often asked my friends if I was scaring them or upsetting them when I felt as you are feeling. They often said they wondered how I had gone so long without being enraged and felt relieved. It let them be angry for me too. Anger is as necessary as positivity. It helps with the fight. I wish you much healing and pain-free days. - Arianne (

  3. So tired in the face of the enemy, so tired of the fear of it all, so tired of the weak and achy body ..............yet so very, very understandable, so give yourself permission to grieve your losses - your health, your mother-in-law, your grandmother, and other losses - Can you grieve with the help of meditation, find a mantra to calm your raw, exposed nerves. Grieve, heal, recover ----------it is a hope, it is a prayer - Cradle yourself gently with immense kindness to one's self - The strength of your spirit has been so contagious to so many - far and wide - and now draw deep into yourself to seek the help you need from those who offer. It is nothing less than empowering to read your words of honesty in the face of your present not-so-good life circumstances.

  4. "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!!" Praying for you and expecting a miracle.

  5. Being strong doesn't mean feeling strong every minute of the day. You ARE strong--You are strong enough to pursue treatment, to keep pushing and to have gone through everything you have. You've been dealt a shitty hand and have had an excruciating 3 years. Your gift to your readers is your honesty and your sharing of your experiences--good and bad. I don't know you but I think this post is as beautiful in its honesty as your other posts have been in their uplifting tone. You are entitled to feel, to express and to emote. I don't think what is painful for your loved ones is knowing how you feel about it but that you are going through it . Sending lots of good vibes your way

  6. Girl, I am so glad you wrote this. I cringed while reading it but at the same time was thinking, yea Karin! Get it out. It's completely normal to feel what you feel, and you are allowed to be scared and unstable and mad, all at the same time. The idea that cancer patients must always be positive -- for other people's sake -- is crazy, yet we all seem to fall into that trap. I appreciate your honesty, and admire you all the more for you putting it out there. You've endured so much, and to have to grieve and decide on the MFA is just too much. It's the accumulation that's so difficult. I suggest you snuggle with your sweet dog and be gentle with yourself. But whatever you do, keep writing! Even if it's more spewing than writing, keep doing it. As Shrek says, better out than in!

  7. Karin - I pray for you and your family every night. You have taught me to truly appreciate everything in my life and not to stress over the typical headaches life throws my way... instead I now view those "issues" as a blessing as I am so lucky that is all I have to handle. You have changed my perspective on life. I honestly think about you all the time and am in awe of your spirit and determination. But you know what... sometimes we all just need a good cry and a time to feel sad. Do what you need to do! Not many of us understand what you are going through, but we will always respect your feelings, whatever those may be. Continuing to pray for you...

  8. Reading your words resonates with me, and are incredibly eerie to how I felt after my ONLY transplant. The realization that this disease is chronic is not an easy pill to swallow.

    It takes a huge, enormous amounts of energy to swallow that pill to accept that there are some of us out there who are going to be part of the managed care treatment plan, and not the 'cure' plan. The realization that even if we worked our asses off and did EVERYTHING right, it still may not be good enough.

    It doesn't help that this is occuring after you're grieving over your lost years of treatment and transplants, your grandmother, craig's mother, and so many others that we watch pass away when we are in the trenches of this disease.

    I can tell you now, that although it never gets less painful or easier, that you find a way to cope a little better with each passing year. Those that we lose are still ridiculously painful, but you learn how to handle it with a bit more ease and grace as time moves.

    Although this post I'm sure my love was heartbreaking for you to write, you need to write more of them. You are angry -- as you should be. All the work, devotion, time, advocacy, everything you put in did not cure you and that is something to be LIVID about. However, you are still here, so you're doing something right.

    You need to write these posts more often, you need to get more angry, pissed, and sad. For if we repress all of these feelings we'll never get through to the other side of it. A place where there is acceptance of this situation, and a quality of life somewhere in there.

    I always believe the emotional piece of transplant and treatment is much more horrendous then the physical, looking back on our blogs, talking to people who visted us, realizing how close to death you were. It's traumatic.

    You are greiving Karin, give yourself time, space, and the emotions to do that. Do not apologize for what you're feeling because it is YOU. And you are doing the best you possibly can in this horrible situation.

    I wish I had more positive words to give you, just know this too shall pass, and once you've accepted that this disease may be more of a chronic illness then curable, it becomes a lot easier to approach our days..

    It took me almost a year, to come to the realization that I was going to live long-term with this disease after two and half years of straight treatment. I was stubborn, I did not want to give up on the cure, I did not want to seem as though I was 'giving up' on this dream of a life without disease. But sometimes, after you fight against the stream so much, when you keep swimming up stream and it doesn't get you anywhere... and you're seeing all those other fish swimming downstream and how much easier it looks and is! You begin to let go, you begin to accept, you start letting the current take you where you need to go, and although that may not be where you initially wanted your life to go, it is a new life waiting for you, a new life that STILL has a quality of life, our friends and family, but also our disease.

    I wish for you the acceptance, and the patience to let yourself be carried down stream and to find things that you never thought would be waiting for you... or a life you never thought could be possible.

    But for now, you take the time whether it be days, weeks, months or years to be angry -- because you have every right in the world to be. And I know one of these days I'll see you down stream...

    Sending love and light Karin,


  9. Geez! You are real! You are human! For all of these months I thought to myself that if I had to endure 1/2 of the crap you had to I'd be a self-pitying, total bitch of a mess. Thank goodness you feel like hell sometimes. It means you are a real person. Why should you always be up? I know being down all the time sucks but a small pity party now and then is completely acceptable (to me) considering all you have been through. And not knowing--if the new meds are working, if the lymphoma is causing the aches, etc--is the worst! I personally have a love/hate relationship with this time of the year. It is so pretty and the decorations are gorgeous, but when it is all over and the new year begins it is such a letdown.

    Anyway, I think I mentioned in one of my first emails to you that I live in Manhattan and if you ever need a place to crash for a nap after going to Sloan but before getting on the train home, mi casa et su casa (I took French so I have no idea if I got that right!). My kids are in school during the day and my wonderful, incredible nanny will make you tea and then leave you alone. I am serious. Take me up on my offer and you will see!

    the "other" Karin Diamond

  10. Karin,
    This may be the most honest, heartfelt and impressive blog post I have ever read. I hope you know the support you are offering to those who are living with cancer are not able to articulate these feelings and put them to paper.

    You don't know me, but I follow your blog and feel every bit of what you write - very close to home.

    All good thoughts for brighter moments.

    Eric's Mom

  11. Karin - I'm so sorry to hear that you're feeling low this month. I hope to see you back at Livestrong. We miss you and want the best for our girl. Keep strong, I know you have it in you.

  12. Gee, thanks for being so brutally honest. We all need to know how tough fighting to stay alive can be so we don't take life for granted. My prayers are with you.........

  13. God bless you Karin. You are in my prayers. Feel your feelings and get it out. You are permitted that, you know.

    The brave front is just a mask we use to protect ourselves from the real and palpable fear. I know, I did it myself...and I am (thus far) one of the lucky ones who seems to have beaten Hodgkin's. I never take it for granted or don't live with the fear that it's lurking in a few cells and just waiting to return.

    I think that you are amazing and even more so now because of your honesty. This SUCKS and there are no answers as to "why". All I want for Christmas is for you to get your health back too. I will keep praying for that every single day.

    You remain in my prayers...

    Nina in NY

  14. Thank you for pulling together the strength to write this blog. I found out today that RAD001 definitely stopped working for me and my PET scan is just a mess. No one knows what to do with me. My lungs are so compromised, I can't just get up and fly to NYC or Houston... local doctors want to try CHEMO again. Like the 7 failed chemo regimens aren't enough to prove my cancer doesn't give a F*** about chemo?! Like you, I've gotten to the point where I am just too sick and too sick and too achey and too sleep deprived to put on a happy face anymore. I don't want to give up, but I'm just tired of it all. And to think I'm going to have to go back to chemo, lose my hair again, look like a cancer patient again and it will likely just leave me worse off.

    All in all, I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. I don't feel quite so alone. And that jealousy thing? Hell yah. I just want to celebrate little things (and big things) again and not feel a twinge of anger when other people have real lives and are so f*ing happy and carefree.

  15. Reading this I was in the grandstand rooting a fellow cheerleader! Get up! Put on your game face! You can do this! You've gone too far to let it all go to waste!!! Although here I am dealing with a typical cold and wanting to crawl under the covers and drink hot tea while flicking through the TV channels,I realized those of us who aren't fighting cancer but something that typically lasts a week at the most treated with antibiotics are complaining, whining, and crying because we don't 'feel good'. Quickly I had to reassess the scenario and I honestly do not know how you have fought the battle you have when I would have laid down to find eternal peace without any thought of my families feelings. I am the selfish one and how dare I yell, scream "Keep on Truckin! You will preservere!" when I have never ever walked a 1/10th of a mile in your shoes. I apologize for my thinking. On the other spectrum I am so incredibly proud you are human. What you have been through and how far you have come in the mindset you've displayed is insane. You have the right to scream at people like myself and say "Hey IM FRICKEN TIRED AND YOU need to put your damn POM POMS away because I AM MY OWN BOSS and I will do as I see fit and if you ask me one more time HOW AM I DOING I will be beligerantly truthful and it may hurt your feelings and so be it!!" We all LOVE you Karin and wish we could grant you your Christmas wish today! I would gladly take your cancer away if possible. I will keep praying for you and will continue to raise money for research for a cure. If you have it in you keep on truckin- fight the fight- and this cheerleader has switched from pom-poms to support role backing you up in all decisions you make! You are truley my hero! xoxo

  16. karin, to address your point about families/friends being honest: here you go. It IS hard. It is terribly hard to see someone you love in pain, suffering, fighting and struggling...all the while being brave, and strong and positive when inside you are SCREAMING at how unfair it is to have someone they love have cancer, that you wish you could carry some of the burden, that you are not sure if you are saying or doing anything comforting and supportive and then realize how selfish you are being for even thinking about yourself when your loved one is going through hell. When my dad was going through treatment I just kept telling him that it was okay to let it out--whatever he was feeling--because I wanted him to know that he was my hero no matter what he was feeling and i wanted him to know that I would listen to anything with an open heart bc he always did that for me.

  17. Karin, you are my hero, seriously. I think and pray for you often. I am STRUGGLING emotionally after only completing ABVD!!!!! You are human and an amazing person, cut yourself some slack on the emotional front. You have every right to be outraged. Feel cheated. And very very jealous of others. While my emotional struggles can't even begin to touch what you are going through, the jealous is partially understood. I remember being bald and HATED going to the grocery store. Or even Target. Everyone running around with their long hair, chatting on their phones in their happy, oblivious lives. I still struggle when trying to relate to others' "bad days". For cancer patients, the bar has definitely been raised for bad days. We will never be the same again. I am still struggling to accept this fact. You are SUCH an inspiration. I know you want a MFA, but start writing your book already ;) You have a lot to give to the world. A lot to share and a lot to teach!

  18. Karin,

    i have no magic words- just know everything you are feeling is normal- i still feel rage at what this disease has taken from so many-be angry when you need to- grab joy when you can- and trust that your caregivers can handle whatever you need to throw at them- remember- we too are warriors- darlene bekah's mom

  19. You likely still have the cough because antibiotics don't kill the virus, they only kill bacteria. Coughs typically linger in even the healthiest of individuals.

    I think this is one of your best posts. It's honest, real and one I assume was refreshing for cancer patients and survivors. You're not super human, and you don't have to be. Your energies should not be invested in putting up a front, your emotions shouldn't be bottled up, and you should be focusing on what you need to do for you.

    Years ago I was a molecular geneticist performing NSCLC, breast cancer and infectious disease research. I now help companies like Seattle Genetics receive the funds necessary to perform clinical trials. People like you are the reason I go to work everyday and the reason I am so passionate about my career; you have done so much good for others, and you now need (and deserve) to focus on yourself. I work in NYC and always hope I'll run into you to thank you for inspiring us and reminding us why we fight the good fight.

  20. Dear Karin,

    For me the worst part of fighting cancer was not knowing whether I would survive it. Suffering the treatment is brutal, and to do it without knowing whether there will be a pay-off is really just too much. Sometimes reminding myself that all our lives are finite was the best comfort.

    I wonder if the the worst part for you is the way cancer forces us to face our mortality. I hear that in your line about wanting many more holiday seasons to come. It's hard to find people who will talk about facing death with us instead of trying to turn away from it. I was lucky to find a rabbi who was able to go there with me.

    I don't mean to imply by this that I think you're dying - any more than all of us are dying. I'm sure everyone who read your last post feels like I do, wanting to find comfort for you. When I searched my experience, I think having someone I could talk to about the terrifying subject of death was what eased the horrible edge of anxiety from my cancer journey.

    Here's a little piece of irony - I'm jealous of the the party you've got coming up! For various reasons I haven't given a party in years. I'm jealous of your blog, too - what a meaningful endeavor. What have I ever done in my 50+ years as significant as this?

    I have this idea that time is a shape-shifter; that certain moments we live don't just put us in touch with eternity, but actually are eternal. I hope time will open up for you like this during the Christmas season.

  21. I can so relate to this last post. I only really found peace in my cancer journey when I had a "come to Jesus" meeting of sorts...without going into details I felt that I had realized that I would be supported no matter where the journey led me (good or bad) and once I received that message - heard it - I relaxed. I knew that no matter what happened the grace of God would watch over me. I know we are not all of one religion - and many do not believe in any religion - but this is what gave me everything I needed - more so than any mere mortal could although God knows they tried, this was something they could not do for me. What I wish for you this season is a peace and comfort to know the same.

  22. Dear Karin, thank you for your honesty. You are not weak. You are human. I hope that you have someone to talk to outside of family/friends where you can explore all of your emotions without censoring. It does help. I have had a difficult fall, and know that getting through the other side of the holidays, filled with so many memories and expectations, can be a blessing. Maybe once they are over, you will find peace and clarity waiting for you in January. west hartford reader

  23. Sweet Karin, you are a brave young lady. Your sincerity is breathtaking. The struggles and pain that you have to go throu everyday makes me feel so sad. You are so right to say that no one else may know what is like, and you have all the right to be angry at the world. Yet, it is your journey and you have to find your inner strenght, again and again, for how ever long life exists.
    My sincere condolences to Craig and you for the loss of his mother.
    I hope the holidays find you in better spirits. I am sending you some of my strenght and courage ! My thoughts will find their way to you, and together with all your family and friends will give your power and will to beat the beast and be healthy!

  24. Hi Karin,
    Your husband taught my son a couple years ago and I remain very appreciative of both of you for being such giving people. Your writing is honest and brave and thoroughly understandable. Why wouldn’t you be feeling all those things?! As I write I’m doing well about 5 weeks post surgery for breast cancer and so I have an inkling now of what greater struggles you have faced. Thanks for doing so with such frankness and grace. I hope things get easier asap. In the meantime, I’m reminded of a therapist friend who faced cancer and who was used to being the very sweet supporter for so many in her community. She was granted official permission to no longer have to be nice. I’m sure all the people who love you are giving you this same wiggle room but I know how hard that is to give it to yourself. Wishing you the gift of health and good family time this holiday season and thanking you for the gift of your words to us.

  25. you feel it? Do you feel the strength of my arms holding you from afar? Do you feel the support of each and every person whose life you've touched, here for you, giving you permission to be, unconditionally? You should....we're all sending it to you.

  26. Karin,

    Like so many, I too believe this was one of your best posts. So real. So raw. So human.

    Since even before your diagnosis you have been a source of inspiration in my life and even more so the past three years. When you were first diagnosed and in the months to follow I was always so amazed by your strength and courage, and I still am. But I always wondered how you were never mad or angry because I was so F@^#ing pissed and angry for you. I was amazed that you could hold it together and still be so positive. I actually wanted you to be angry. I know, that sounds so strange.

    I have no way of knowing what it feels like to be you or anyone else diagnosed with cancer, but I kept thinking about how I would react if I were to be diagnosed and I think I would be the same way you are. I would stay positive, put on a happy face, smile and be strong for everyone else. Then I kept thinking, how could I expect her to be angry when I myself wouldn't be able to show it? Same as how could I expect her to want help when it would be so incredibly hard for me to take it. How could I expect...

    No one wants to show "weakness" but being angry that this "thing" has taken over your body and taken away so many opportunities for you is not weak. After reading this post I felt so normal, so real that I could feel angry for you...with you. Once again, so inspiring to me and so many others. This post, in and of itself took courage and strength. Thank you for continuing to be that source of inspiration in your good times and bad.

  27. You mentioned that you are not giving up. That is actually the characteristic of a strong person. Despite of the adversities, you are still being positive and fighting. I feel so blessed that I get to live normally without visiting a physician every month, but I also thought that people who are suffering from cancer are more blessed. Although what they are going through is painful for them and their family, they become more strong and has more faith in themselves. We will be praying for you.

  28. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers- have a wonderful holiday with your family and get ready to ring in "all good news" in 2012!!!!!!!

  29. This hits home so hard.