Sunday, September 19, 2010

Well, would you looky thar...

Nothin' like a cancer diagnosis for getting a whole bunch of new followers, is there?

Were it not for the fact that you, you know, actually have to have cancer, I would recommend the technique to any young, struggling blogger.

Enough with the forced humor.

I have gotten more emails in the last week, especially since Friday afternoon, than I can count. Some of them came from people I know (Hi, Judy!); most of them came from complete strangers. They range from angry, to thoughtful, to much funnier than ought to be allowed in this situation, and every one of them is indescribably precious to me.

There are no other words to say except the ones that we say out of habit, so I'll say them:

Thank You.

There's no way I can answer even one email right now. I'm still too shocky, still too shaken by what's happened, but please know that I read everything that comes to me with immense gratitude. I haven't always been thoughful enough to be conscious of the advantages and blessings that I have, but this time? It's so obvious even I can figure it out.

I'm still terrified. There are moments when everything's fine, and then suddenly it all goes to hell and I'm left sobbing and shaking. The edges will get smoothed out as time goes on and I get used to Having Cancer, but right now I am just so *thankful* for all you guys' prayers and thoughts and emails and...just everything.

Things will get better. Just because (as Zenna Henderson pointed out) you've shut your eyes doesn't mean the sun's gone out. It's important to recognize the difference between the two. In the meantime, there are hundreds of people hoodwinked enough by gross stories and cheap humor to actually care about somebody they've never met. They--you--keep reminding me that I can indeed open my eyes, dammit! and that, at some point, all manner of things will be well.

It humbles me to read yet another email from somebody who read this blog through nursing school and the first few years of practice.

All I can say is "thank you, thank you" over and over.



Anonymous said...

As a new graduate nurse, I've found your blog to be helpful, as well as a distraction. I'm guilty of spreading the word to friends following your diagnosis...not just to offer more support, but also because I feel your situation can be one of learning, strength &, dare I say it...entertainment. You're gonna kick cancer's ass & you have a lot of friends out there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo,

Well, shoot.

Haven't kept up w/your blog for awhile b/c I'm suffering through 3 grad school classes and working full time. Hang in there. Use your onc nurses as resources -- I'll bet you can find a few really good ones who know right where you are.

I hate to say it but I see a lot of PLGA where I work (Mayo-Rochester.) I know I'm a newbie nurse but if I can help in any way, please let me know.

Third Degree Nurse, RN, BSN, MPA, OCN® and soon-to-be-MSN

Anonymous said...

BTW, chemo is usually not recommended. TX is usually just surgery and radiation. Don't let 'em do the chemo without showing you the research first.

The Ethical Miss said...


I've been reading you since I was in vet school. In my family, the women are all nurses - my mom, my aunts, my grandma, and most of my female cousins. I love reading what you write because I sometimes feel like I'm "missing out" on the family profession. But I also love hearing that the clients/patients I deal with have the same problems and nearly the same treatments as the ones you get - mine just have 4 legs instead of 2.

This has been the week for cancer - I just found out a mentor has it, and my internmate has it as well. I hope all goes well with your treatment, and I'll be eagerly reading your updates. You have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration for me.

messymimi said...

Lots of prayers, scattered throughout the day.

Cartoon Characters said...

As an RN - in the nursing biz for 30 plus years and counting....I have to say - a few months ago I read your blog from beginning to end. It was and is a very good read....for anyone - not just nurses....although I would say it is recommended reading for new nurses as you give a lot of sound advice laced with a dollop of common sense. I have to say I really enjoyed it.
I have every confidence that we will all be reading your blog - each current post - many years hence.
Positive thots coming your way...I am sure ...from all over the world.

bobbie said...


C in Canada said...

Yeppers - recommended reading for new nurses without a doubt (I'm a student nurse right now). I have read nearly all your blog too (great procrastination tool when trying to escape writing a paper) so I feel like I "know" you. That makes this whole thing feel like a friend has cancer... and it sucks.

Your neighbour - that Man of God - well, how cool is that that you have someone you can talk to living so close. I just want to remind you that you also have your own direct line Him and He's always waiting to hear from you. He's awfully fond of you. :)

The bit of work I'm doing while in school in LTC is really forcing me to realize that our days here are numbered and "no one gets out alive". It's kind of a gift, to have to face our own mortality. Makes each day less "taken for granted".

Having said that, I'm praying you get many many more days here, and that they are filled with gratitude and joy.

'Drea said...

Don't know who Zenna Henderson is (Google search pending) but I like that expression...

woolywoman said...

This is the one I repeat when I have hard times, apologies of you are offended by my mentioning prayer.
"I believe in the sun,
even when it is not shining.
I believe in love,
even when I don't feel it.
I believe in God,
even when there is silence."
-Words scratched on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany by a Jew hiding from Nazi persecution.

Jo said...

'Drea, Zenna Henderson was one of the few female SF writers during the Golden Age. Her writing isn't hard SF, like Asimov--it's more telling tales of some folks who had a hard landing here on earth. "Ingathering" is a collection of all her stories; they're surprisingly modern. I've been reading her all day. She's one of my favorites.

bdaiss said...

Well heavens to Murgatroid girl! I take a break from reading the blogiverse and you go and lay a doozy on us.

I'm late to the game, so I'll just say you are much braver than I. I'm impressed with your composure over the last few weeks. I think I'd be a gooshy mess on the floor 24-7. Hugs, warm fuzzies, ear skritches (for Max and the kitties, not you!), and I'd make you some of my grandma's awesome chicken soup if it wouldn't be something nasty by the time you finally ate it.

Humincat said...

Delurking to say "I'm with ya" *big hugs*

Anonymous said...

Been peeping here :* for sometime & just wanna say its all right to be terrified, cry, scream & pissed off coz bigC sucks.. I've been there, done that, my pillow is my teary buddy during those lonely nites. No matter how tough the journey is, remember there are many out there who have it worse than you without access to good quality prompt medical treatment, count your blessings & take baby steps along the way. I told myself I had cancer, so what ?

Take care.

Cartoon Characters said...

Jo- a personal note to you: a friend of mine wrote me a letter 30 some odd years ago...I thought his words might be of some help at this time-I have written about it in my entry from yesterday:

Pamela said...

Well, that's enough to make me delurk.

I started reading your blog, ironically enough, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and wandering around on the internet was my version of sticking fingers in my ears and singing "la la la I can't hear you".

He's in remission now, just had his six month scans, but a few blogs stuck, including yours.

Thank you for writing it, and for continuing to write it. And remember: cancer = instant license to eat chocolate and drink scotch. It's medicinal.

I'll probably go back to lurking, but I do read, and I'm sending you positive thoughts from Chicago. Just... lurky ones.

Kirstin said...

I've been diagnosed with melanoma twice. First stage II, then two years later, metastatic. I'll find out on Wednesday if I'm any closer to remission. I think I just sprouted a new tumor, but it's small, and I feel no worse than I felt in June.

The shock, the fear, the gratitude for loving community... I have been exactly where you are.

I wish you healing (distinct from curing, but hell, that too). Strength. Courage; you're about to find out that you have much more than you knew. Peace.

Love to you.

Fat Grump said...

Hello from the UK. I like your style and the ability you have to laugh. (Went back to read older offerings too.)

Bloody awful diagnosis. I am so sorry but wishing you all the best and a good outcome. Vibrations of strength sent from me to you through the ether.

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry Jo. I was really hoping it would just be a really bad zit or something. Here's wishing you the best news from here on in.

Anonymous who used to post on a BB with you eons ago (and who is a new lurker here).

Mel said...

I was out of town for a few days so I missed the announcement about the (Tim Curry) Can-saaaaaah. I am so sorry, Jo. You are absolutely one of my favorite bloggers for your mix of candor and warmth and humor and...I had a bad feeling about this whole thing but saying so would have been supremely unhelpful :(

I wish you the very best. I hope everything works out. I hope this does solidify some Great Big Jo Plan for the universe that is meant to happen.

Thank you for sharing so much with us, people you've never met. I've done depression (including another recent bout) but never cancer.

Be angry, be sad, be scared. Cancer is a bitch that deserves a swirly or five!