Threading the needle

So. For me, this, right now, is the most difficult part of dealing with my own cancer. The mind fuckery of waiting. 

My friend Tom Monks replied to a previous blog with a comment that could be a little Haiku poem:

Waiting for results
Waiting anxiously
Waiting patiently
Waiting ……..

Yes. As I remarked to Tom, waiting is such a part of this journey they even have designated spaces for it: waiting rooms.

Unfortunately there is no such space in your head. Bills come due, plans are made, the Holidays happen with or without you. 

It is such an exquisite balancing act. Talking down the fear, the angst, the worry. Staying positive in the face of a level of uncertainty that is, at times, almost incomprehensible. Making myself walk and go to the gym regardless of the fact that I already feel a physical diminishment. Rather, going explicitly because I do. 

Getting my warrior on even as I look around me with ever greater tenderness; I love this freaking world. Readying myself to battle an enemy who I am familiar with in a way that borders on contempt, and yet still at a loss as to how to go about it.

Trying to be at peace while simultaneously preparing to wage war. 

Threading the needle.


19 responses to “Threading the needle

  1. Although I am many miles away I am right beside you in this wait and fight.

  2. Your post perfectly captures the feeling. I am only beginning the journey, learning I had metastatic cancer 10 weeks ago. This was followed by a bone scan which should have been a PET scan, more waiting, finally a PET scan, the lung cancer diagnosis, the biopsy, then more waiting to see if I was eligible for targeted therapy. Now I wait for the first post therapy scan to see if it’s working. But like you, I wake up every day ready to fight. Not only the cancer, but to live every day. No, not like it’s my last, but like it’s another step forward on a great journey. Implausibly, I feel the best days of my life are still ahead. Of course, it’s easier for me, I have not been through what you have. You are the grizzled vet, I am the greenhorn soldier just arriving to take my turn at the front, someone who has not felt the bullets whizzing over or the shells exploding nearby. You’ve been through it all and are still taking it to the enemy. Lead on, us fresh troops are following.

  3. So eloquently said. Blessings on you.

  4. Linnea,
    It is okay to not put on a brave face everyday, The fear, the angst and the worry are all apart of life with or without cancer for you, and all who care about you. Plans are made, bills come due, shit happens regardless of your circumstances, and it is okay to some days, well, to just not want to be the warrior but rather to accept being the afflicted one. That doesn’t mean that you are weak, or that you quit, it simply means that you are human and it is okay to embrace those feeling when you have them. I think they call that being normal. Just a guess, but my guess is that you are as normal as normal can be, just in an abnormal kind of way. Which, by the way, is a beautiful thing.

    Human nature is that we all want what we don’t have, but I believe the beauty in life is figuring out how to be happy with who we are and what we’ve got. So just embrace the you, warrior or worrier, that you are on any given day, its okay.

    All the best,
    Ray Shefska

    • Thank you Ray. It is difficult to convince myself that that I can let that guard down. In truth, it is so long since I have felt safe. I think that is part of why those of us facing a terminal illness have a sense of increased awareness—it is a side effect of being on guard.

      xo Linnea

  5. Beautifully expressed. Sending warm bear hugs of comfort and peace.

  6. Thank you for calling me your friend Linnea – That means a lot to me – I’m really your follower – On the blog and also thru’ the journey – We have a few things in common but I am following you – You express it all so well –

    (third-person singular simple present threads the needle, present participle threading the needle, simple past and past participle threaded the needle)

    (idiomatic) To find harmony or strike a balance between conflicting forces, interests, etc.

    It is a very apt manner of expression – ‘finding the balance’ between ‘conflicting forces’ – You speak of ‘mind fuckery’ – Being forced to wait even when it is just that and nobody’s fault is ‘mind fuckery’

    Thread that needle – Go to the gym in spite and not only because of what’s going on. Live your life – Enjoy the holidays and your kids – Fill in the waiting … Live Live live – You said before you love this life. Live it Live it now Find the harmony – Strike the balance xxxx

    • Thank you friend (and yes, although we’ve never met, I feel that we are). You understand perfectly what I am trying to say. It is finding that balance. Living while dying—so thrilling, so terrifying. Not so special, actually, as this is life.

      xo Linnea

  7. Linnea, Never forget you have others with weapons, around you ❤️✊🏼

  8. I read all of your posts. You are an inspiration because you share the thoughts going through your head and that helps me. My neighor has stage 4 prostate cancer. I tell him that you had a few months to live but you are still alive and living life with gusto. Is it 12 years post diagnosis yet? I tell him he has options and new ones are being researched so when the current regime stops being effective, he will have other options. You are brave and thoughtful and full of life, Linnea. i hope I get to meet you one day. I live in metro Atlanta, Merry Christmas and may all of your wishes come true!!!

    • Nancy, it will be fourteen years in April. Never ever thought I’d get this far along. Tell you neighbor to keep hanging in and I hope I get to meet you one day as well!

      xo Linnea

  9. And cancer dealt you an ironic and cruel blow by appearing around your heart, the metaphorical home of your feelings.
    But with most of your adult like with a sword over your head, you’ve got warrior blood in your veins. Throw it all that you’ve got.
    Find your inner Marine: “Improvise Adapt Overcome.

  10. Pingback: 18 | December | 2018 – Demo

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