Even Rock Stars Trash Their Hotel Rooms

I’ve been strong. I’ve been positive. I’ve been a “rock star” patient (according to the nurses in the hospital). But today, finally, reality is starting to set in.

I have cancer.

It isn’t something that is just going to go away. I may battle this for the rest of my life. I will heal from surgery and jump right into chemo. I will essentially poison all the cells in my body to get rid of the cancer cells and hopefully trick them into submission.

But one day they may decide to come back. Then, the battle begins all over.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Today I take a hard look at what I’m up against. It’s all part of the show.

Rock group

They’re not trashing their hotel room, but they look like they might be thinking about it.

Photo courtesy of: Ted Van Pelt [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Last night I ordered some scarves and hats from the American Cancer Society so I will be prepared when my hair falls out. For the past two weeks, since the doctor told me my hair will most definitely fall out, I’ve thought it’s no big deal that my hair will fall out. Today I know that’s BS. It’s going to be a HUGE deal for me. My hair is below my shoulders. What is it going to be like when my hair starts coming out in clumps? When I wake up and see clumps of it on my pillowcase, or see clumps of it slide down the drain in the shower? What will I look like without eyebrows? Without eyelashes?

And something I thought I’d never do: I’ve even found myself getting angry and thinking WHY ME? I did everything right: I had children, I breastfed them both for a year each, and I took birth control pills when I wasn’t pregnant–all protective factors against ovarian cancer. I’ve run ridiculous distances for the past seven years, I don’t drink, I’ve never smoked, never done drugs, and I eat organic as often as I can afford to. All that wasn’t enough to protect me from cancer.

Why am I having to go through this?

I don’t always believe that things happen for a reason. Sometimes bad things just happen. No rhyme or reason, they just do. It sucks. I understand that. I accept that in the Russian roulette of life and disease, I got cancer.

But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The outpouring of support since I started sharing my story has been incredible. Overwhelming, to a point. It’s hard to hear over and over how “strong” I am. I don’t feel strong, I feel realistic. I am a fighter by nature. I won’t roll over and play dead. I’ve always said: I’m going to live forever. Cancer certainly isn’t going to change that.

But today, after weeks of smiling and staying positive, I’m allowing myself to feel this exhaustion, this numbness as I accept that I have cancer and that the battle has just begun. I think that I’ve been very positive up to this point, but this is my reality today. And as I’ve stated over and over, I’m not one to sugarcoat anything. There will be days like this. I knew there would be, and that’s why it’s not a big deal. It will pass.

So having a bad cancer day can be like trashing your own hotel room. You put on a good show, do everything that’s expected of you, then you go back to your digs and get a little crazy.

Despite this one bad day, in the end I will win, and I will win big. And I’m going to bring as many women and their families over the finish line with me as I possibly can. I don’t know how yet, but I’m going to make it happen.

Advertisements

53 comments

  1. Mark J

    Angela,
    Love your spirit! It is OK to say WTF, ever so often. I know you have a lot of family and friends around, but if you ever need a hug, let me know. Terri and I will find a way to get there. Also, there is a possibility that I may start a job in Denton in the near future! We love and miss you guys/gals!

  2. Gunta

    As my (quadriplegic) husband so often reminded me…. ‘this, too, shall pass’……. 😉
    Hang in there and know that you have a whole mob of folks rooting for you.

  3. therunningtherapist

    I have no doubt that you will bring us all with you when you cross over that victory line! I can see it now with our hands raised in the air and huge smiles on our faces (maybe even some tears in our eyes)! 🙂

  4. When in New Places

    There is nothing wrong with expressing your emotions. They are yours to let loose, and trash the hotel room with, as you please. I like that by the way.
    I believe letting off steam is essential. Your walking a brand new path and it will take some time to figure all of this out.
    Your words are raw, honest and above all else, inspirational.
    Sending you lots of love and energy to kick this things ASS!
    <3~ Andrea

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, Andrea. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by showing that I do have days where I’m not so brave and strong, but I’m just too darn honest to hide it! I appreciate your kind words.

  5. Beverly

    Let it out. Vent loudly. You are entitled. Just maintain that positive attitude. You are not alone in this.

    Five months to the day, when I found out I had ovarian cancer, I was told I had breast cancer. Two big whammies in one year. I had the surgery for the OC. Recovered. Went through chemo. Lost my hair. Recovered. Resumed my life. Had a mammogram. Breast cancer. I had a double mastectomy. Recovered. Back on chemo. Lost my hair. Recovered. Resumed my life. I cried A LOT. Sometimes all you can do is cry. We will never be considered 100% cured–so they tell me. I live my life in 3 month increments between CA125 tests. But, I have decided I will cross that bridge if I need to because like you, I did everything right and I still had cancer. Hooray for us when we cross the finish line to victory! By the way, after losing my hair twice in one year, I’ve come to the conclusion, in the big picture it’s just hair. And hey, you don’t have to shave your legs.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Beverly, that is unreal. Ovarian cancer and breast cancer in one year! Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a testament to being a strong woman. I bet all that crying helped you get through it all. I haven’t cried much yet, but I know I will. It always makes me feel better. And YES! I won’t have to shave my legs! Thanks for commenting.

  6. kruzmeister

    Hi Angela. Although I cannot identify with having cancer, I can identify with what it is like to have a cronic illness (I have bipolar disorder) that you will have for the rest of your life and some of what you wrote today really resonated with me, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you. First of all I want to say give yourself permission to feel angry, hurt, scared and do not be embarrassed or ashamed about feeling self-pity. In society we are often taught that these emotions are bad, but I do not believe any emotions are bad, and from my experience I think you have to allow yourself to feel them, so that you can make peace with them and move on. Life isn’t fair, shitty things happen to really good people. You have been dealt a powerful blow, and feeling that blow in the depth of your core is not a bad thing, it just is what it is, something you are learning to deal with and as you’ve said, some days will be good and some will be downright tragic. When I learned that I had a mental illness it gutted me. I stayed strong for as long as I could and then I just fell apart. Like you, at times I disliked hearing people tell me that I was strong and their ‘hero’, cause deep down inside I felt anything but. I actually felt like a coward and that I wasn’t coping at all. In the end you will beat these ‘darker’ emotions and it wont be so much of an effort to put on that brave face. Be who you are, hotel room trasher or not, from what I’ve read of your blog I can see that is how you live your life anyway and there is no reason why this experience should change that. You will pass through these darker days and come out all the more brighter because of them. But on the days the fight really gets you down, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, sometimes the inner warrior gets a bit tarnished, but once the armour is polished up again that inner warrior can re-emerge and slay the dragon once and for all. Take care, we are all in your corner!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am familiar with bipolar disorder (a close family member suffers from it) and know how difficult it can be to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to have tough days and to feel “bad” emotions. I know this, deep down inside, but it’s still tough to admit that I’m not always strong and positive. Actually, I am still strong and positive, it’s just that the emotions are buried deep down. At least they resurface quickly. So far, the down days don’t last long, and I’m kind to myself. It’s nice to hear someone else tell me that it’s okay. I really appreciate that!

      • Ricky Richardson

        Angie, I too did all the right things and the cancer came anyway. I always wondered, Why Me? I guess God has to have a way to show us life isn’t always kind. We have to have Bad with the Good. I have days that I sit and cry also and wonder when something else is going to pop in and mess something else up, but for now I thank God for another day to enjoy. Hang in there. We love you all very much and hope it doesn’t overwhelm your sweet spirit. Your cuz, Ricky

      • Mind Margins/Run Nature

        I have those same fears, Ricky, that it will metastasize or I’ll get some other type of cancer or illness. But we can’t worry about all that, can we? We really do have to enjoy life one day at a time and not worry about the future. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but so important. Hope you’re feeling well, Ricky.

  7. oopsjohn

    Your courage and strength and determination is a given, so I won’t mention it. 🙂 What I want to compliment is your writing. It is not just flawless, but breathtaking. The tone you adopt, the images you employ, the titles you create, the pacing of your narratives – they consistently engage my emotions to the point that my eyes water. Might be time to consider a new career; these blogs are publishable.

  8. MikeW

    Angela, you’ve been through a lot. I cannot imagine how you must feel being so free, then suddenly having all of this happen in roller coaster fashion, outside of your control. Yet there is one thing that is in the control (and in some ways not) of everyone who is close to you, and I believe this begins with God. None of them will ever stop loving you; nor you them. And while love cannot give us all the control we would prefer to have, even the safety, it is regenerative and creative and has the power to give us the life we need and want the most. May it always be!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      You’re right, Mike. I don’t necessarily have a traditional view of God, but I know He is there. I’m not sure what form He takes, or if it even matters knowing what that “form” is, but I do believe the scripture “God is love” is very powerful. I can rest and feel safe in that. I hope that makes sense.

      • MikeW

        It sure does make sense, on many levels. I do not think this is an anthropomorphic view, either. Instead, it is recognition of Love and being-ness greater than commonly found here yet possible for each and all of us in harmony with the Divine, and among us as an encouragement to bonding, healing, love, and forgiveness among us. Although this is mysterious to me for being from “infinity and beyond,” I believe we can still find and be surprised by this phenomenon working in us. The recent book by Dr. Eben Alexander explores this. He is the Harvard U. Neurosurgeon who wrote “Proof of Heaven.”

      • MikeW

        Glad to hear it. I’ve handed that book out once or twice. I’m still happy about your improved news, and hoping that a more thorough treatment with little or no side-effects comes online in the mainstream soon. Peace!

  9. getgoing-getrunning

    Being ‘strong’ and being ‘realistic’ are not mutually exclusive. One is about mental toughness, one is about being able to face the truth and reconcile yourself with it. Being both strong *and* realistic sounds like the best place to be.
    Oh, and if you are going to throw a TV out the window, make sure it’s not yours first 😉

  10. Grace @ Cultural Life

    I can’t say that I know exactly how you feel because I’m not you and I’m not experiencing the things you are at the moment. But having been a caregiver for someone with a chronic illness, day-to-day living is like an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you’re up and feeling relatively good, the next minute you’re feeling like you want to scream.

    And I second oopsjohn’s comment: I’m sure that if you turned these blog posts into a book, it would be a bestseller. You have a real talent for writing.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thank you, Grace. I think being a caregiver is actually harder than being the person with the illness. All I have to do is focus on myself and get well. My family has to see me deal with it all, and wait on me hand and foot. I can’t imagine if the tables were turned and one of my children or my husband was going through something like this. Caregivers are the true angels in this world, and that includes nurses, doctors, and friends.

  11. gtarallo

    You are very, very entitled to have one bad day, or 2 or 3 or many, many more. I’m not sure I could have handled things with as much grace, dignity and courage as you have done. I look forward to reading your book some day!

  12. Irish Katie

    It has taken me a day to mull over what I want to say here. What you write mirrors my emotions of last week (when I put up my blog post on cancer). It had really hit me then what was happening.

    Like you, I have basically led a healthy life. I too don’t smoke, I do no drink, I eat mostly vegetarian, have a child, and stay physically active with biking and swimming. For me, the one risk factor I could not control was the history. Both my parents were lost to cancer. I worry for my daughter. And yes, I worry for myself…as greedy as that sounds.

    And like you, last week Wednesday I railed at the sky. But then it passed. And so will your anger. It will come again in spurts I think. That is what I am told anyway. But we WILL move on. And we WILL fight this damn disease. And we WILL win. (I was almost going to write the f-word to cancer here … but tis your blog and I am being good *smiles*)

    Angela? You have become one of my inspirations. Not to pressure you about it … but to let you know how seeing you battle this makes me want to fight just as hard.

    And shaving our legs? *HIGH-5* to that perk lol. I have given some thought as to what I want to do when my hair starts to fall out. I was told not everyone loses their hair, but given that mine is on the finer side, the chances are pretty good it will happen. So … wig? Scarf? Sans? I am thinking all those will happen. I do not relish the idea of a wig on hot days for sure. And whilst people tell me I should not care what others think…it is part of me to not want others around me feeling uncomfortable…I think. I am not sure yet.

    What I have decided is that since I am likely to lose my hair, I am going in this weekend to get a haircut I would not have likely tried before. EXPERIEMENT time! lol. There is a cute aline bob I think might be fun to try *Smiles* …. or I could do a Mohawk and totally freak my daughter out hahaha (I am sooooo joking on the Mohawk)

    Anyway … *huggggs* … you are still my rock star.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Katie, your comment just made me cry. Seriously. When you say that seeing me battle this makes you want to “fight just as hard.” That is HUGE to me. I remember your first few long emails to me and how scared you were about opening up. Look at you now, writing about it on your blog and talking so openly about it!

      I have had a few moments when I feel afraid. I had to go to the bathroom twice in the night, and when I woke up I had this fear that another tumor has shown up because of the symptoms I had the few months before surgery. I know this ridiculous, that there hasn’t possibly been enough time for anything to get large enough to have that effect, and that it’s summer and I’ve been drinking a lot more water, but the fear was there nevertheless. I think it will always be there.

      I have been told over and over by the doctor that my hair WILL fall out. I thought it would be no big deal, but I think I will cry when it really happens. Hair is such a huge thing for a woman. Mine’s always been on the long side and very thick. I’m just as vain as the next woman. We have to keep telling ourselves it’s only for a few months, and then we’ll get new hair. I’m hoping mine grows back curly, something I’ve always dreamed of!

      And for the record, the f-word is always acceptable when speaking of cancer. It was made for that word, in fact. (And we ARE Irish, right???) 🙂

      • Irish Katie

        Angela … about 2 weeks ago …just after I got the diagnosis, I was talking with a good friend. (She blogs here … my friend Amber.) I was talking with her, fairly upset and in a haze. One thing I mentioned to her, I clearly recall, was that I was not going to tell people about the cancer. I was not going to blog about it. (I still have a hard time mentioning it I admit.) I mentioned to Amber how I see other people being positive. Not letting their cancer stop them from living their lives. And I couldn’t understand how they could do that. I couldn’t understand how people could remain so positive. I felt less than…I don’t know…less than gracious…less than a nice person … less than myself.

        It wasn’t that the people being so positive and uplifting angered me or that I thought bad of them. It was the opposite. I was … stunned by how together they all seemed. I wanted to be like them. I wanted that but I didn’t know how to be like that.

        And in truth, one of the people I was talking about was you. Heck, you were THE person I kept coming back to, reading your blog posts several times. And slowly I am realizing how that can be … how others can be positive. Slowly I am starting to feel like I have more strength than I started with. I read your blogs and can feel it affecting me … for good.

        When you wrote this particular blog post I read it and it was one I fully understood. But even with this piece of writing I see the inner strength you possess … and I want … I WILL let that inner strength fill me too.

        So while I only know you through these blogs and emails … I wish to thank you for helping me find that strength.

        Your friend,
        Katie O.

      • Mind Margins/Run Nature

        Thank you SO MUCH, Katie. That means more to me than anything else anyone has ever said to me. I can’t explain where my strength and positive feelings come from. It isn’t something I think about, it just IS. Maybe all my years of doing yoga have helped. I’m not always positive and strong, and believe me, I can be very whiney and gripey at times, but I’ve always been good with the major, life-changing stuff. Maybe it also helps that my children are grown, so I don’t have to worry about them as much as if they were younger.

        The strangest thing of all is that before all this happened, I was TERRIFIED of death. I would wake up in the middle of the night and think to myself, “One day I’m going to die. I won’t be here anymore.” This has been happening since I was in my twenties. But when I was in the hospital, facing surgery and a cancer diagnosis, I felt completely calm and unafraid of death. All that fear just dissolved once I stood so close to it. I can’t explain that at all, but I still feel the same. When it’s time, I think I’ll be okay. But that day is far, far, far, far away!!!

        And yes, Katie, you are MUCH stronger than you think you are.

  13. Our Life In 3D

    Thanks for showing some sober moments. I know it can’t be easy swimming upstream in the optimism pool all the time. I get some of the overkill on ‘strength’ too but I wanted to add one more word, Inspiration; to me, to us, to your kids. While you are being a rock star remember 3 Doors Down and Its Not My Time…and trash as many rooms as you want when you feel like it. You’ve earned it I think. (I’ll send the maid to clean up)

  14. Jenny Turnage

    Angela, dear
    So relieved to hear you acknowledge your grief, and your anger. This is exactly what you need to do … anytime, anywhere it happens. Feel free to rant and rave, cry and sob anytime, anywhere. Your blog is the perfect place for release of grief. It IS grief you are feeling and it IS normal to feel anger. Acknowledgement is first and very crucial, followed by anger which is equally important. What a classroom for all women!

    When you feel like walking or running, do it AFTER your doctors’ approval. That too, will be a place for release. Enjoy nature in all of her glory at the beach. Come visit us after November 15 for the beach experience or before Nov 1st here in Indiana to view our beautiful woods, 20 yards from our condo. Watch out for coyotes!

    We continue with our daily prayers for you, for Cindy, and your family, and your many, many friends. “Why me?” is the perfect means of acknowledging God and He is always pleased to be acknowledged. Turn everything over to Him and then exhale all your worries and stress.

    Love you more than you can imagine, Angela. Peace!
    Jenny and Daddy

  15. westerner54

    I agree with Oopsjohn: your writing is beautiful. Your anger is beautiful. You clearly don’t need us to tell you that venting that anger is just fine – but I’ll say it anyway: vent, vent, vent! I’ve had some experience with cancer, and I decided that anger was better than fear any day – and I still think that. And when it all seems too much, just breathe…in and out, in and out…

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, I think it’s true that anger is better than fear. The older I get the more I realize that fear is probably the worst emotion we have. It’s responsible for so any bad decisions we as individuals and as a society have made. Fear is very destructive. As for venting, I’m no saint, and I will promise to deal with all the conflicting emotions as they come without letting them take over my life. Thanks for your great advice.

  16. monica

    just before new year’s eve in 2011 my ten year old’s best friend was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in her leg. https://www.facebook.com/SupportMeg she was nine. her mom was/is a good friend of mine. I am – to this day – unsure of all the details of the cancer. what I do know is this was an incomprehensible and incredibly difficult journey for this family of five – of which she is the oldest child. I honestly do not know how they survived this challenge. the good news? meg has been cancer free since her FOURTEEN (? – but pretty sure it was 14) chemo treatments. but, I am sure there were/are times and more times when reality sunk in/sinks in. again, I just cannot even imagine what it feels like. but, I do know that there is “the other side!” her mom said one time that for every horribly depressing moment there was an equally high moment. I wish the best for you and that your moments of rage, anger, questioning, and dark are met with moments of light, positivity, encouragement, hope and strength. p.s. – you are gonna ROCK the scarves – I just know it!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, Monica. I’ve heard some incredible stories of recovery lately. I can’t imagine having one of our children go through something like stage 3 cancer. I’m so happy to hear she is now fourteen and doing so well. And thank you for your kind words. I’ve got my scarves and hats all ready!

  17. iRuniBreathe

    You certainly don’t have to like any of it. It’s NOT fair. But it is here. And you are dealing with it. You don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to be brave, you don’t have to be happy. Let yourself do whatever feels right. You know who you are, what you want, where you’re at. Go with being YOU — all the way. Cancer is scared already.

  18. Michelle

    Well, it’s good to have all the emotions, I say. It’s wonderful that you are being positive and strong and hopeful and all those super important cancer-fighting things. But it would not be smart to hide or push away the concerns and anger and disappointment and fear and annoyance and all those other, less positive emotions. You are a whole person, with a whole range of emotions, and letting those negative emotions out does just that – it gets them out. At least for now.

  19. Jenn Baker

    I love your blog. Our writing style is quite similar and I can totally relate to you even though our cancer is different.
    For me its the 80/20 rule. I do and say and feel the best I can 80% of the time. I know that 20% wI’ll be upset, anger, crying, eating food I shouldn’t and lying on the couch longer than I should. But I’m ok with that. Cuz I know soon that will turn into a 90/10 rule which I’m definitely ok with.
    Keek you sense of humor, it’s refreshing.
    Jenn xo

    • Toasty Strings

      Thanks, Jenn. I just discovered your blog and look forward to going back and reading about your journey. If your experience is anything like mine was, the first few months after chemo are a roller coaster with HUGE ups and downs. I went through everything from depression to anger, guilt to euphoria. The reality of what I had been through really didn’t hit me until I was declared NED. It’s all normal, of course, but just be prepared for that.

Please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s