It Takes Courage – and Maybe Some Tulips

I cancelled my appointment with Dr. Singh on Wednesday.  I just didn’t have the guts to find out how I was doing.  You’d think that I’d be used to it by now – once a month appointments.  Nope.  Every visit is tough.  No – that’s not right.  It’s not the visit that is tough – it is having courage to go to an appointment that is tough.  Afterall, I’m given the verdict of “you are doing well” or “your cancer is back”.  Either way, I trust my doctor.  I have faith in her.  That’s not really the issue.  I think it’s just finding out that the tiny plans that you may / may not have made for the upcoming week/ month/ summer may change.

Dr. Singh’s office called that very afternoon I didn’t show.  So, what did I think?  “This can’t be good.  Why is she so desperate to see me?  Is there something she needs to talk to me about?”  Millions of questions – none of them good.  The office wanted to see if I was okay and if I wanted to come in on Friday instead.  sigh.  Such a build up for nothing.

Friday – today – came.  Thank goodness the appointment was in the morning, otherwise, I would have had all day to stress about it.  That’s what happens.  Too much idle time breeds too many wrong scenarios.  And I was afraid of the results of this month’s blood work.  After all, it was a year ago when I was “re-diagnosed” with cancer and begin my third round of chemo.  It was two years after I ended my first round of chemo.  I know these dates (helped by facebook), even though I’d like to think I don’t define myself by cancer.  I buy tulips (not daffodils).  I won’t attend ovarian cancer events (but will contribute).  I don’t wear teal (the colour which represents ovarian cancer).  You get the picture.  Yet – when it comes right down to it – there is still not a day that goes by when I don’t think about cancer.  In spite of my best efforts – I still live my life with cancer.

I don’t talk about it.  At least – not in casual conversation.  I keep it pretty private (even though here I am posting to my blog about it like a blabber mouth) because I don’t want to be defined by or known as, “the girl/ woman” with cancer.  I didn’t think I minded talking about it – but I do.  I have more interesting things in my life to talk about.  Even though cancer threatens me every day.  It’s like trying to ignore someone holding a knife to your throat while cooking dinner, doing laundry, dancing and singing, or grocery shopping.  You know the knife is there – but you also don’t want it to change who you are or what you do.  That takes energy.

Anyone dealing with a disease or life-threatening illness must be the same.

In any case, the knife moved away from my neck today to give me some breathing space.  “Your bloodwork is outstanding,” reported my nurse to which I replied  –

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?”

Oops.  Couldn’t help it.  She laughed.  I asked her if I could give her a hug – she was good – we hugged and laughed and left to get my oncologist.

“I love it when you come to see me, Stacey,” she said.  “You are always so positive.  You inspire me.”


“I inspire you?” I queried.

“Yes.  I love your attitude.  You lift my spirits and give me hope.”

Well, who knew.  She is real.  My Dr. Singh is a person too.  I needed my students to tell me when they thought I was doing a good job – and so did she.  Not a problem for me to sing her praises.  Without her – I’d be dead by now.  How does one not appreciate that!?

“Well – I am so very grateful for everything.  I am living my life, watching my children grow, travelling.  I went to Myrtle Beach this March Break with my family . I saw a ballet with my daughter.  I look forward to my son’s return from school.  I have made “tiny plans” for the future and have hope again that I will be able to see the Grand Canyon one day.   All this – because of you!”

She argued with me that it was because of my positive attitude that I was doing well.  But, we all know that it takes more than that – it takes good medicine and stellar care.  So – I would suppose my Dr. Singh and I have a symbiotic relationship.  And that’s good for me.

While I should look forward to next month’s visit – I know come time I will be trying to muster up courage once more.  It is not easy.  Nothing is easy about cancer – other than to recognize how challenging it can be.  Still – I am in good hands.  I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends who are here for me and with me.  How lucky am I?  I count my blessings every day.  And it seems the more I count them, the more joy I feel.  So, I’ll continue on this path for as long as I can – to summon a positive attitude and to face life with courage – and a nice bouquet of tulips doesn’t hurt!

I do wish I could have shared a glass of wine with my Mom and Dad, though, to celebrate as was always our tradition.  I am thankful to have those memories and to making new memories as we celebrate life.


About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
This entry was posted in acceptance, advice, appreciation, attitude, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to It Takes Courage – and Maybe Some Tulips

  1. Stacey, you do life right.

  2. Gwen says:

    Cheers to you, my friend. You inspire many, not just your doctor. 😘 So grateful for the symbolic relationship you have with your doctor.

  3. Judy says:

    Stacey, what a wonderful post! I’m so happy for you.
    I love your honesty and how you share your vulnerability. It’s very touching and even though I don’t have cancer, I really feel for you having that knife at your throat. That’s a very sharp metaphor!
    I only wish to have you be gentler with yourself. Blabbering on your blog? Instead, you are expressing deep feelings that represent very real dread of what you might face each time you go to the doctor. That harsh self-criticism just isn’t helpful. I see you as a shining light and inspiring others with your open writing. Keep it up, girl!

    • inmycorner says:

      Thanks, Judy. I didn’t write this week at all because of the angst… (nice pun – sharp metaphor). Well, I try to be gentle. Thanks for the reminder. You are right – I need to be kind to myself. I mostly am – I hope others find my words helpful. That would give me much meaning and hope. You are wonderful to support me always.

      • Judy says:

        Of course, Stacey! And being human is what makes your words even more helpful. Everyone can relate to “beating themselves up.” I’m just going to catch you on those things because I do it, too! It is never helpful and every thought can be reframed into a kinder one – when we start getting tough on ourselves. Sorry for your angst. When I get it (in even a small proportion compared to your situation), it is so hard to deal with!

      • inmycorner says:

        “Every thought can be reframed into a kinder one” – indeed. Words to live by, my friend. Angst is angst – no matter what the context. I think everyone’s is their own – as the colour orange. (If you know what I mean?)

  4. Gallivanta says:

    This is great news Stacey. I love the colour teal. I had no idea it was the ovarian cancer colour.

    • inmycorner says:

      Thanks, Gallivanta. Pretty significant news yesterday – lots of anniversaries of chemo ending and beginning. In all honesty, I like teal as well – they chose a good colour.

  5. karen markovic says:

    Beautifully written….Happy Easter!

  6. Pingback: Six Drops of Sinister Sauce | Christine's Collection

    • inmycorner says:

      thanks for taking an interest in this story, Hussein. I am curious why you found this one worthy of a reblog?

      • Thanks to ask me this question, and for your question, that it has provided me a kind of encouragement, it shows that how the person should be strong to overcome difficulties. In addition, I found useful because this blog could be counted as inspiration !

      • inmycorner says:

        Oh, you give me too much credit, Hussein. Thank you for that. I think it is those who support us that need more courage. I am honoured, though, by your comments. I am so very pleased that my posts could be of service to you.

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