Monday, February 6, 2017

Tiptoeing Through Some Feelings

Hello everyone. I appreciate your taking the time to check back in here to take a look at the blog once again. Even though my postings have become quite sparse, I still think of the blog quite often. Just most times there is not really enough to say to really get a decent post together, so I let it slide and suddenly its six months or a year later… I apologize for that. However, there is a reason for it. Allow me to explain. If you have been following along with the blog, you’ll note that I stopped pretty much after the blood clot incident was taken care of and physical therapy had re-started. The reason for that stoppage was simple, at least to me. After that point it was just physical therapy at home until they deemed it no longer needed and starting back to work. In my mind, that is getting back to “normal life.” It is true that I was out of work for only three months (a rather short time from what I have been finding out). It’s also true that this type of surgery requires at least a year to allow a person to “start feeling like themselves again.” My post-op gastro doctor mentioned that in regard to major surgery and it held very true, at least for me. I was concerned that writing about getting back to normal was, or would be, a little boring for everyone, so I refrained from putting those things out here on the blog… at least a large majority of them. Another reason was a bit of survivor’s guilt.  I’ll expand on that a little further on in this post.

As a lot of you may know, I am a member of several support groups for esophageal and thyroid cancer over on Facebook, as well as following several on Twitter. The posts on the Facebook groups from me are mainly comments to other posts, or a simple like to this or that post. The frequency or number of posts kind of ebbs and flows. Lately my posts have been pretty light as my new job plus three hours commute round-trip daily drains me quite a bit. That causes me to not get online nearly as much. As I get more used the new situation and hours, and the training ramp up evens out, that power drain will lessen I expect. In any event, reading through those posts from day to day is really a rollercoaster ride. People at all points of their own personal journey with the beast. People with new diagnoses, those who are the caretakers and friends of the patients, people in the midst of chemo and radiation, or just before or after surgery… and those that are reporting post-op scan findings along with how much time had passed. I’ve seen up to about 20 years post-op that are still free and clear. Those are the heartening posts. The ones that take you to the top of that rollercoaster. Then there are the posts that report a loved one’s last days, their passing, or the person’s leaving the community because they feel there is no need for them to be there anymore or it is too painful for them to still be there or whatever. Those are the low points of that same rollercoaster ride. They are also the posts that make me worry about posting more about surviving. I worry about making those that have not been as fortunate feel badly or add to their feelings of despair. Is it right for me to post about my still being alive while so many others are fighting and dying of the same beast’s damaging blows? I fight with that thought a lot, especially when I hit the milestones post-op. I am not one that wants to hurt people or remind them that their loved ones have been lost, or may be losing their fight. However (isn’t there always one of those?), I also feel a need to let people know that this is not a fight that people will always lose. The beast CAN be beaten. I am proof of that, at least as pertains to Stage III Esophageal Cancer, and more recently Stage I Papillary Thyroid Cancer. So I hope you can see the tug-of-war that is constantly going on in my mind. Is that the definition of Survivor’s Guilt? Am I over-analyzing? Is it something I really need to worry about? I don’t believe that it means I am too feeling or too sensitive to other’s feelings. It’s simpler than that. To me, I would sometimes rather keep quiet and just feel good about reaching milestones than to remind others that maybe their loved ones were not so lucky. Thoughts like these sometimes keep me from posting or posting more or longer entries, whether it be here or on those support groups. I hope that make sense to you. I also hope that explains why sometimes there are large gaps between my posts in all of these places.

To help bring this entry to a close, I wanted to make one final point... Well actually it is more like a request. If there is a specific area you would like to see me expand on further, or a specific time or feeling or procedure you would like to see more on, please let me know. Whether it be here in the comments or via a private email or message over on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. I’m really not too hard to find. I’d be happy to pass on any information or memories or even knowledge that might be of help or of interest to you. One of the favorite things I heard (and used) when I was a technical trainer back in the day was this,

“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.”

Those are very true words. So ask. Not just me, but anyone. The doctors, the nurses, the hospital staff, the American Cancer Society, support groups, whoever and where ever. If the question is to me and I don’t know the answer, I won't hesitate to say so. I’m not too proud to admit when I don’t know something. What that will do is spur me to go looking for answers, or at least find a path that the person that asked the question might be able to follow. I am sure that the person asking will have already done, or is in the midst of, their own research, but any way I can help is what I strive for. In fact, that is the whole idea behind this blog. Does that mean there will be answers coming to every question pointed at me? Likely not. No one has all the answers, but I will do my best to find at least something... Bottom line is it's the thought, or in this case the effort, that counts. Another good saying, and another I believe in.

Keep on keeping on, everyone. We will meet here again, I am sure. Lastly, I truly mean it when I say…

Live long and prosper.

No comments: