Ongoing Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I have it. There is no way in hell I could not.

Fourteen years of dealing with my own impending mortality. That one, I sort of have a handle on now. Not easy, but understood.

But the others. All the other people I have become so extraordinarily close to and then lost. Dozens. A hundred. More. Goddamn it hurts. And hurts with the knowledge that it is not going to stop–this ongoing loss.

There are reasons why I insist on embracing the battle metaphor. Cancer really is a war and I have been in active duty for far too long now. On the front lines against an enemy that gives no fucks. A relentless, nihilistic, take no prisoners foe.

Alive but with the knowledge that the only option open to me is to keep fighting. Even on days like today when I want nothing more than to have someone hold me close while I simply weep.

I am bent. Bent with grief. Wracked with sobs. Tired. Oh so very tired. But always battling; for me, for them, for all of us.

Rest in peace my friends. Now rest.

12 responses to “OTSD

  1. Linnea,
    You are right. We are in a battle and our friends are dropping. Just waiting for our turn can mess with your mind. I have had 6 friends/ aquatintences pass since January. A couple more are currently on palliative care. One has just days left. I’ve only been doing this for 16 months. I can’t imagine what 14 years of this would be like.
    Thank you for soldiering on and encouraging all of us. You make it a little bit easier for many of us.

  2. God bless you.

    Sent from my Bell Samsung device over Canada’s largest network.

  3. You are an amazing person! I know it’s difficult, but stay strong – as you have been doing all along!

  4. Hi Linnea,
    I am so sorry for all your years of loss. Currently, I have 11 years in, but I had to take a break a few years ago because of the depression it caused me. It is hard. It is very hard to keep loosing people we love. I too am loosing several as I write this. I fully believe, unless a person is living with cancer, there is no way they can understand the mental toll it takes on each of us. I believe living with lung cancer is 60% mental torture, regardless of what physical treatments are being done. This may sound ignorant, but I am only saying the mental part never leaves you. My heart is with you Linnea and all of you.
    I am giving you a big big hug.

  5. I cannot imagine how you get the strength but then what else is there to do? It reminds me of my years in NYC in the ‘80s and ‘90s when so many I knew got AIDS.
    Many people you don’t know personally are pulling for you!

  6. Patricia Stewart

    You are an inspiration to the rest of us (I am at one year post diagnosis). Intend to keep reading your words for many years.

  7. Oh Linnea, I am sorry. You have always been such an inspiration ever since I first came across your blog, shortly after Peter was diagnosed and had his first appointment with Dr. Lynch. For the longest time, I thought that if you could stay ahead of the curve, then Peter could too! When I met you at 7B, I thought I had met a rock star and I HAD! I would brag about you to our friends, many of whom read your blog. You’ve been carrying the torch and bombarding the enemy for so many years. You are an amazing woman, but the loss is hard. Peter died 8 months ago today and every day still feels like it just can’t be real. I think of you every day and your upcoming biopsy. I’m not a religious person, but I pray for you each day and for Dr. Shaw and her colleagues, because I often worry about how they keep keepin’ on, without collapsing under the weight of it all. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Stay ahead of the curve!
    You are loved in Rochester, NY!

  8. Never heard of OTSD. The moment I read it, i felt it in my body. 100% this is what all of us go though, and it. Is. Brutal. Especially days like today. Especially losses like this. Sometimes I really don’t know how we do this.

  9. Linnea, you are so right! We met at the Hope Summit, I believe, in 2017, and again in 2018, introduced by my daughter, Tracy Miller Murphy, a 9+ year survivor. My wife, Barb Myer Miller was a 14 year survivor until her passing in Sept, 2016. From 2012, Barb & Tracy would constantly talk about their LUNGevity sisters & brothers until I felt like I actually knew those people. And each time that one of them died, they cried bitter tears, while I merely felt bad…mostly because I didn’t really know them. The only LUNGevity people I knew personally, were the local people from the Breathe Deep North Shore Walk/Run. Then, in 2017, I attended my first Hope Summit, and met some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known! Became friends with many on a personal level, and on FB. Was invited to, and attended the wedding of a survivor’s daughter in Ohio this past August. I met more people, survivors and caregivers, at this year’s Summit who I now count among my friends. Well – now these individuals who were just names to me previously, are people I know, and so, when one of them passes away, it hurts a lot – the same way it hurt Barb & Tracy back then. Now, I too feel the pain. Today was especially difficult for the entire LUNGevity community, with the news that Matt Ellefson had died. An important, and powerful advocate’s voice has been stilled, but his memory, and work will live on in those he left behind.

  10. I so get this – Over six years post diagnosis – Doing well but you’re right – cancer fucks – with your body and especially with your mind – Keep putting it up Linnea – I made some friends thru cancer and have lost some – most of them to be honest – Cancer fucks with your friends too – Am sixty years old tomorrow – Never thought I would get that far – What will be first thing to mind when I wake up – birthday or cancer? – We’ll see – Sorry for language xx

  11. I also get that feeling…7 years into diagnosis and working full time being the only bread winner in the house….a lot of additional stress…one sentence of your post really resonated with me ‘I want nothing more than to have someone hold me close while I simply weep’ yes and yes and yes….tired to be the brave one, and you Linnea are one of the bravest I have seen for the longest while.
    Like for many people you are the first link/blog I have discovered that gave me hope with not only words of comfort but actual information I could use.
    Thanks Linnea,

  12. It has taken me a few days to respond to your post because it is so powerful. Reading and rereading it makes me cry, for you, for me, for all of us fighting, struggling, trying to stay brave. I wish I could hug you tight and take your weariness away for a moment. God, I have been in this fight only 2 years and I am weary.

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