Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Meaningful E-Mail

Before the possible lung cancer scare came up, Venita received an e-mail from a professional colleague that profoundly touched her. V asked the writer for permission to publish her comments here (anonomously) and the writer generously agreed.

V,

We don't know each other very well, but still I wanted to write to you.

I have been monitoring your blog ever since I found the link in your return address on your [business]emails.

I had heard that you had breast cancer from colleagues, but I naively thought that breast cancer was an easily treatable condition. I've never been close with anyone with the disease, so I thought, based on popular media, that breast cancer was usually found early and easily treated. What an eye opener your experience has been! Breast cancer may or may not be identified early. And the treatments are torturous.

I've read blogs of cancer patients before and been fascinated by the issues that arise in those situations and feel great sympathy for those afflicted, but because I haven't met them, so I have always felt a little detached. I don't feel detached with you. We haven't spoken many times, but I feel we are similar in many way--[our profession], a love of cats, a focus on the work goals that others don't always understand, a need for order in life, and enjoyment of a glass of wine at the end of a day.

I thank you for being so open in your blog about your experiences with this disease. I'm sure that everyone who has read it has made a more serious commitment to monthly breast self exams. I was generally very lax about self exams, thinking that annual mammograms were enough. I've been dissuaded of that opinion and, of course, conveyed that to my family and friends.

If I were in your shoes (and able to emotionally detach from my situation, which of course, you are not), I would try to focus on the things in life that I enjoy most. Yes, you have surgery and radiation treatment (and who knows what else) ahead of you, but there still must be things on a daily basis that give you pleasure. I for one enjoy seeing my cats greet me when I come home from the work day, for example. And I enjoy seeing the birds cavort in the yard, especially the hummingbird feed at the feeder. There are always enjoyable things in your life. Hold on to them.

V, you still have a long row to hoe, but you will get there. Hang in there. I see you have lots of friends who how care about you based on comments in your blog, but don't forget there are others who are less familiar with you that too care very much about your success against this disease.

I don't have anything profound to say. I just want urge you to keep a positive attitude.

You haven't mentioned how the cats react to your various medical procedures. Are they comforting and snuggly when you feel weak? Or are they put off by the hospital smell? My experience is that cats are aloof for a day or two after hospital visits. But then they have only a short term perspective on the world.

Best of luck to you in your next series of treatments.

2 comments:

Alice said...

V,
This is so true. BC is so different when it's someone you care about.What a great email. Sending hugs from across the miles.

alice

DebandGiz said...

What a lovely email, dearest Venita,

Thank you for sharing it with us all and thank you for being so open about what you're going through... She's right, you know, about holding on to the joyful moments that can be found each day...

I'll be calling my gyn doc tomorrow to set up an appointment for my overdue checkup...

Much love and you will beat this! kind of hugs,
Deb & Giz, too...

PS: I meant to mention this before, but do you like yams/sweet potatoes? Can never remember which one (or if both) that provides a natural source of estrogen... With two BC aunts on my mom's side, I can't take HRT either... As for menopause -- and truly have never understood why it isn't called womenopause -- started at 35 and was done at 40... A bit young to be asking people if it was hot in here or just me... Came up with just saying, guess I must be having my own private summer...

PPS: Happy Belated Birthday!!!!!! Now we're officially the same age! Well, technically, I'm only 13-1/2 (again), being a leap-year/day baby... Try going through puberty (again) after menopause! Sheesh...