When I first moved to Virginia, my wife, Lissa, used to make fun of how I let her know I was finished with my cup of coffee. She'd often ask if I needed more on her way into the kitchen and I'd simply reply, "I'm done my coffee." I don't know how that phrase became part of my vocabulary. It could be something I've always said from Northern New York, or some hybridization of German and English, or just poor grammar on my part that I never bothered to correct.
I expected to hear interesting phrases from Lissa. She's a true southerner, and I clearly heard a slight southern lilt in her voice when we first met. However, she never really uttered things I expected to hear in the south. She was never "fixin' to do something" nor did I ever hear "might could", but i have heard "bless his heart"* more than my fair share of times.
*For those of you living outside of the southern United States, "bless your heart" is a polite euphemism for "you're an idiot!"
I was chatting with a co-worker, a dear friend really, the other day. I was having a rough day. I've been actively fighting cancer for five months. I haven't been sleeping well. That, coupled with the side effects have made me a bit cranky. I don't have the energy levels I'm used to. I have lost over 20 pounds. I only have the desire to eat about a dozen types of food. Everything else makes me incredibly nauseous.
I'm trying to balance fighting cancer, a job, my family, and Napkin Notes.
I was tired that day. I was beyond worn out.
I found myself slipping back into my old language.
"I'm done my cancer."
I couldn't sum it up any better. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of the naseua and diarrhea. I was tired of the fatigue and getting winded after walking up one short flight of stairs. In that moment, I looked at Katherine and couldn't contain myself. "I'm done my cancer." She understood. Although we haven't known each other very long, she's seen me as a healthy individual and as someone who is fighting for his life. She's seen my good days and my bad days.
I felt badly as I left the office. I didn't want to be negative. Being positive actually requires a lot of effort and my positivity tank was running on fumes.
I went to bed early and finally got some good sleep. I was able to shake it off. I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the world. It was a momentary lapse. I think I'm allowed.
Why am I sharing this? I can't speak for all cancer patients. I know a few. Unfortunalty, the club gains new members each day. You probably know one or two yourself. Help that person. I can't tell you how to best help. It's different for each one of us. Maybe you can listen. Mow the lawn. Cook a dinner. Hold a hand. Give a hug. Ask how they're feeling. Don't ask how they're feeling. Pray. Rent a movie to watch. Give a book. Lend a hand. Support.
Being positive is an important weapon in my cancer battle. Positivity needs refueling, too.
I'm not asking for myself. I'm asking for the other 1.6 million new cancer patients that will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. (I don't know the worldwide figures.)
This cancer has no idea what it's up against. I am resolute. I'm back, ready for battle. I'm ready to keep kicking butt.
I'm done my cancer.
Pack. Write. Connect.