Tag Archives: BRCA2

On Love


Today I want to talk about grief, and love.

I’ve felt “off” for a couple of days now.   But there is a lot going on around me, which has resurfaced old memories, feelings, and emotions… Are they one in the same?   My father hasn’t been doing well.   He is having “spells”, falls, and as a hard working man, he cannot find acceptance with the fact that he cannot do the things he used to do.   And since our moms passing, he has been talking often about his youngest daughters ashes.   They reside with her life partner, with instructions for nieces to scatter the ashes upon . her partners passing.    I’m not going to get into it any deeper than that, but my dad never liked the fact that we didn’t “know’ where her ashes were.    My sister and I never doubted the significance that would be placed on these from her partner, she’s a trustworthy person and was broken into pieces when Dar died.    My sister (only sister I have left of 3), took it upon herself to get in touch with her, and my dad will soon be receiving some of our kid sisters ashes to put in his creel, as was originally planned when she died.   I am on overload, sensory overload.   Flashes and images coming back from that time in my life, painful, painful memories on so many levels including many people, including my sisters partner.    So I have been, not purposely, revisiting all that, and then having just buried my moms ashes, it’s become very clear that I will never again see my mom.   There are no words.    Sporadic crying jags, the heavy feeling in my chest, and sorrow, grief.    I’ve now lost my mom and two sisters to cancer, my father had cancer and so far so good, the three of us children remaining are all cancer survivors and carry gene mutations which has also been resurfacing.  It has never gone “away”.  It will never go “away”.  It’s a fact of life for us.   Ohh, and add to this a canceled oncology appt for me this week because I hadn’t slept and wasn’t up for the drive to Bean town!

Nothing I can do or say will take away this turmoil I’m feeling.   I just know that it will pass, relief will come, and I am really looking forward to that happening.  So, being kind and nurturing myself, i spent the day listening to music.   I am so very grateful for music, art.   If I attribute my depressive disorders to that of an artist (hardly famous), it makes it a little easier to walk through.  Creativity is vital for me.  It might as well be a vital organ because without it, I will fall flat and refuse to get back up again.   And yes, i am stubborn.

Tomorrow I am picking up my bff who is flying in for a 10 day vacation with me from Omaha.    She was supposed to come a couple months ago but because of work it was delayed.  I AM SO GRATEFUL, now, that it was delayed because I pick her up in a few hours.     My home has been filled with family and friends for the past few weeks… MORE GRATITUDE.

My pcp told me I need to find a therapist.    So I bought a BOSE revolve wireless speaker.   I also sent my dad home, two weekends ago, with my Bose Wave radio and cd player.   A thank you to him for introducing us to music.   My family has an above average love and need for music and in our last childhood home there were five stereos at one time, all different music.    I was grateful to hear that my dad spent a day last week listening to music, and ON THE BOSE.   I know it will help him, I have wanted to do this for a while, but my WAVE is seriously one of my most prized possessions.    I didn’t know if i could do without it, but when I saw the shape my dad was in, there was no question what I was going to do.   So my sister and i packed it all up for him.    His sister had burned him a lot of cd’s so he’s enjoying them now.  It’s funny how little effort it takes, when we love someone, to give that which we love, but know will help them.  It was the right thing to do.

I haven’t finished writing what i wanted to tonight, but it’s going to have to be enough.  Thanks for reading my blog, and for all who do, I wish you a pleasant, peaceful day and sleep!


Time is the answer to all of this crime….


As I type this I feel a cool breeze flowing through my hair [what am I eating?]… and see the white crap piling up outside.   If this keeps up I’m going to have to quit claim my house over to the guy who plows me out.    Should probably feed him, he’s been here so frequently lately.

It took me an hour and a half to get home.  Normally this would take 15 minutes.   I must say, however, that I didn’t come across any twirps who go 90 mph because they have 4wd and think they’re untouchable.  Reminds me of a sad day for me when I left my sisters.   There was a hell of a snowstorm.  I was crying, not knowing if I would see her again, her life was coming to close.    Around the corner passing me, which was surely a double solid line but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt… the roads were totally covered with snow…a guy in this BMW SUV with the license plate “STYLIN” .     I just shook my head, continued creeping slowly for safety.  Around the next corner there was Mr. “Stylin”, upside down in the opposite lane.    He be styling alright!   I think the only thing that got hurt was his pride, his ego.  I have seen this scenario many times.  I have 4 wheel drive, and I am not exempt from ice.  The trick is I KNOW that!

The weatherman got the 100% chance of snow right today, though the accumulation of only an inch was hogwash.  ENOUGH SNOW ALREADY!   It is below freezing too.     Just not a good mix.   Because the snow plow took out my mailbox I have to pick it up at the post office.  I didn’t stop today, too dangerous to try to get out of there.  Visibility stinks and its at a 4 way intersection.

When the hell is groundhog day, anyway?

Conquering my past.   This was discussed today in therapy.   I never looked at what I was doing this way.  When my therapist said that I smiled.. Yeah… Yeah!   I’m conquering my past.  It is no longer holding me hostage.  Well, the majority of the time.    I have good days and bad, like everyone else.  Everyday I think of my sisters, Jim.  Everyday I miss them.  Sometimes the reality of their passing can drop me to my knees.   I “forget” so to speak.   It’s sort of like that as a breast cancer survivor, too.    I sometimes am “shocked” to the reality that I had breast cancer.  I do not dwell on this, but one day I was calling Mass General Hospital Cancer Center and when they answered the phone stating such, it smacked me, too, across the face.  How many women have I known and lost to breast cancer?  How many woman have I loved and lost to breast cancer?   Another time I was heading to radiology at the hospital from my primary care providers.  It’s all in the same area, just different buildings.  As I was walking over I glanced at the form my pcp had given me for admissions.   On the form was a “suspected diagnosis” or whatever it is for insurance purposes.   It read “breast cancer metastasis.  Talk about a reality check.

I learned last week that another childhood friend passed of breast cancer.  She was 5 years younger than me.   All too green are the memories of family members and their own bouts with cancer.   In my family we have two gene mutations.  BRCA2+ and HNPC (Lynch Syndrome).  Every member of my immediate family has had cancer. most 2 different cancers.  Two of my three sisters have died of Ovarian Cancer, my youngest and my oldest.  Prevalent.   I made it to 47 before diagnosis.    Always green are the difficult memories of treatment, mostly for my sisters.  My own diagnosis wasn’t nearly as threatening as theirs.  I guess it’s because I felt like I had some semblance, some control over my own.

As I was driving home today I talked to my sister.  I do this a lot.   Her passing at 38, 10 months from the date of her diagnosis, was one of the most difficult times of my life.  At times it still can be.   We were a year and a half apart, close.   Some days I’m confident that I will see her, feel her again, other days not so much.  Those are the days that are the hardest.

Loss, so frigan hard.  The toughest terrain I have ever walked in my life.  It seems every day one of my facebook friends has lost someone important..parent, child, sibling, spouse.  Every time I read one of these posts I try to leave validating words.   I know too well there is nothing I can do or say that will take away their pain.  There are some things that I could say callously that will cause further pain for them.  Knowing the difference is key.  Even after so much loss, I still have the potential to say something stupid, but that is about me.  I want to walk away knowing I’ve in some way helped them, and know too well, cannot do so.  Yes, we can be kind, validating, help them by sitting quietly with them, letting them sit silently or talk.   The first few months are such a shock.    I know I wasn’t “right” when grieving.   It’s another whole mind onset.   There is little clarity, a heavy broken heart, and static that keeps my soul restless, in pain.   But I digress.

I guess I started talking about this because of the topic of “conquering my past”.  Loss is a painful part of my past.  One would think it would get easier with each passing.   It doesn’t.   I think time teaches us how to coexist with the pain, the reality, the loss.   There will not be a day in my life where I don’t think of those I’ve loved, those that I lost.  I still talk to them like the crazy old woman who others see as talking to themselves.   I’ve been around enough to know that this isn’t it.  But in the meantime it just doesn’t seem to be “enough”, walking through life without them.

With each past painful thing I release I am freer.   It loosens up my life or death grip of the memories and sets me free to remember the better times.   Death is such an abstract event.   Such is life, such is life.  I remind myself how fortunate I am to still have my parents, to still have my remaining two siblings, and so many other family members and friends.    It really is all about the present moment.  If I’m clinging to my past I am not in my present moment.  Sometimes it’s just too painful.

I fool myself sometimes.   I think “I have plenty of time to finish my book”.  Reality is, I don’t know that.  None of us do.   In a warped sort of way I think by procrastinating I will live longer, as if to escape the deuce.  Not true.

Now I shall go enjoy my afternoon.  I will stop moaning about the weather, release the thoughts and feelings that make my chest feel like a tightened up, clenched hand, and try to bask in the positive.   There is much in my life to be positive about.

I remember when my youngest sister died, I thought “How do I stop loving this person?”  Hindsight is always 20/20.  You don’t.  It’s amazing that even through their absence, the love continues to grow.  It’s actually quite beautiful.     Have a blessed day, thanks for taking your precious time to read this blog…time is our most precious commodity.  When I am sick I am frustrated, thinking “I wasted another day”.   I have to remind myself that I am a human being, not a human doing.



The past is only a chapter, it doesn’t define me


Last night, well the wee hours of the morning, I started working on my book.    I have steered clear of writing about things that I really feel need to be shared, if only to help another because  some of the things I would like to share would reflect badly on others.   Some things are better left unsaid sort of thing, but last night that changed.    I will not post names, I will not defame another, but I will share my experiences and some…some???   Clearly are by the harsh hand of others.    Perhaps it’s maturity, perhaps it’s part of my healing, perhaps I’m just a frigan bitch who wants to expose them!   🙂  Nah, I decided last night, however, that my loyalty should be to myself.  And if I keep the things that harmed me quiet, untold, that empowers them.  I am totally wanting to extinguish all!   But that cannot be done.   I can, and am, however, finding a proper place for it all.

Anyways, words flowed last night like a trout swimming downstream.   It was great.   I shared some in a blog, but in the contents of my draft I am really digging deep and wrote about some of the trenches I’ve been in.   Not for sympathy, not even for empathy, not for any other reason than to celebrate surviving, celebrate learning, knowledge, celebrate where I am today.   

I recall a moment in an Alanon Chatroom where someone was venting about their  “spouse the souse”, as he called her.   I sat back, listening, many were there listening, just validating his feelings, his thoughts, his frustrations.   I met some incredible people in the confines of that room.  I am still in touch with probably a dozen, and I consider them true friends.    Anyway, I was having a fairly good day, surprisingly but pleasantly.   But I digress….   When he was through venting, he thanked us all, and he felt better, we always feel better to blow off steam.     You know how God gives us what we need?  And when we feel bad, or sorry for ourselves someone is put in our path to help us understand that there are a lot worse off than you?   This is how it works for me anyway.  So a friend asked me how I was feeling, I shared.  The gentlemen who vented asked what I was sick with.  I explained to him that I was going through treatment, radical surgeries, for breast cancer(s).  And that my brother simultaneously was going through treatment for colon and rectal cancers.     I laugh at this now, I actually laughed at it at the time, the gentlemen venter was really quiet for a few minutes and then he writes “I have absolutely nothing to complain about, Thank you for sharing.     Hey, I didn’t want to invalidate his feelings or anyone else’s.  We all have struggles, we all have days where we would like to kill someone but where and how would we hide the body?   I realized that, after hearing what I was going through, it helped him compartmentalize his difficulties….   Oh my god!  I was the one that was worse off and that helped people move forward.  I say this because I found it comical then, and I still do.   Yah, things were pretty difficult then, but I was going through the motions, doing what needed to be done, not having the time nor energy to take it all in.   When in survival mode, it takes everything you have, every ounce of energy to get through the day.    There was no time for self pity, no room for bullshit, and no interest in sharing it with another, things were happening way too fast to conceivably share all that was happening.  I suppose some of it was also denial.  I am one woman who is very grateful for the gift of denial, if it is short term, that is.   When something traumatic happens, that numb period, tears, pain, but numbness I think is a gift.  We aren’t equipped nor can we consume excruciating pain for long periods of time.  Our bodies, our minds protect us from this.   A life of denial, well, that’s another topic entirely, and one that I’m not particularly keen on.   

So I wrote and wrote, the words flew off the tips of my fingers.  I wrote about things that I have rarely if ever revealed.   I wrote about a husband who physically abused me, and the next who verbally abused me.  I wrote about how little I thought of myself, and the feelings of self loathing then.    had and some still have to, forgive myself for.     When my head hit the pillow this morning around 6;30am I slept like a log, solid, uninterrupted for 6 hours.  Apparently it was cathartic!    Today I shared with my therapist some very violent parts of my past.  I have been seeing her for almost 2 years now, and I trust her, I like her, she is helping me.   I shared about what I had written about, the thoughts the memories that came flooding through me while writing, and I was sharing all of this pragmatically, without emotion, without feelings, I was sharing my truth.    How POWERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Then she said “I have time open tomorrow, I think we should meet tomorrow because with the holiday we are missing our next session.   I laughed, okay okay….  “We don’t want to lose momentum, Donna”…. so true, so true.   I found this funny.   “LoOk at me, LoOk at all my progress”….. “Yes, now come back tomorrow!”

Following therapy I reluctantly had to go to the Walmart.    I was dreading it, but I knew it would be much worse tomorrow if I put it off.   So in I went.   When I grabbed a cart one of the wheels was really messed up, it was sideways and not working.   A woman and her daughter came in behind me and said “Are there any dry carts?”  I replied “No, and don’t use that one, it’s retarded…”    The minute that word came out of my mouth I knew it was improper and inappropriate.  Seldom do I use this word.   My oldest sister was mentally retarded, I meant no harm, nor disrespect to anyone.  She said to me “What did you say?”  I said “I’m sorry, I was wrong in choosing and speaking those words”.   She said “Well, don’t think I’m lecturing you or upset with you.  Ironically I had just corrected my daughter for using that phrase when we were in the car, and then we walk in and you are using it.”   Between the three of us we decided the best way to describe the cart was a pain in the butt, broken, and unusable!

$180 later, and 10 bags lugged in and put away, I poured some eggnog and decided to read my mail.   The eggnog, settling like a gut bomb has me upset with myself that I chose this when I had healthy juice I could have opted for!   Live and learn, live and learn.

There were a few screaming kids in Walmart.   I always call this “birth control awareness day”.   But for the most part, I roamed around, got what I needed without interruption.   I did run into a neighbor whose husband was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Leukemia.   Ouch.   Cancer really does suck, ya know?

So, what is my message today?  Good question!  I think it is to embrace who we once were, the difficulties, the joyfulness that we have experienced, appreciate who we are today, at this very moment.    Forgiveness is the key to freedom.   I forgive others quickly, I learned years ago that doing so set ME free.  It was forgiving myself that I have had and still do have problems with.   Hey, I made some bad choices, I took some wrong roads, I have sat in shit and swam with stingrays…. I am who I am…  I am more than those experiences.  I am more than my name.  I am a result of 52 years of life, learning, lessons, good times, bad….

The older I get the less I feel the need to impress anyone, and the less I care about what others think of me.    The old adage “Walk a mile in my shoes” rings true, still, today.    Sometimes I forget that I don’t know what another person is going through.   I lose patience with them, if they cut me off in traffic or snap at me on the phone.   I need gentle reminders that we all have our crosses to bear.  We are all trying to find and make our way here, and it surely isn’t all roses.  By the way, I’m allergic to them, so let’s say “sunflowers!”

Today I am forgiving myself for putting myself in harms way.  I am forgiving myself for being in bad relationships, for allowing others to beat me down.   Today I am one with myself, the person I was then is unrecognizable to me now.   That is not a bad thing.  Of course that/those experiences are a chapter in my life, but no longer do they define me, rule me, or are part of my present.   They are compartmentalized, acknowledged but not dwelled upon.   Doing this work is rewarding.  When I can come home from grocery shopping, and still be humming?   Rewarding!  I am participating in making my life better, fuller, richer.   I am participating not only in my own life now, but in the world!