The Pendulum Swings


Oh my…just as I thought I was calm about cancer, I realize I might not be, at least not all the time. I’m out here at the ranch in La Salle County, listening to turkeys peck the window right now, and taking a break from hoping something shows up outside to photograph. It’s real dry here but strangely, nothing is coming to the waterfall to drink, except Roadrunners. Yesterday three came at one time! Oh – and I did have two Bobwhite quail, the highlight of the day!


Maybe I’ve had too much time to myself, or maybe I am having the time I need to connect with my real feelings about being a cancer patient. By the way, I’ve decided I’m not going to use the term, “cancer survivor”. I don’t like it. I prefer “cancer patient” or “former cancer patient”.

As I drove around the ranch this morning, it occurred to me that I’m close to the same age as my mother was when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I believe she was 58 when diagnosed, and 60 when she died. I think that’s what set off my glum spirit. 

Anyway, today I have felt nervous for the first time. I guess that makes me a normal human being, with fears of pain and suffering, and a wish to deny my mortality.  


Perhaps also I should stay off the Internet. I went online today to read up on treatments for the type of cancer that was removed from my body, and up came information from research studies, one of which summarily stated that one of the study subjects is dead. No candy coating on that bitter pill! Reading that pretty much flushed what was left of my mood right down the toilet; never mind the rest of the subjects who lived! Going forward, I’ll try to stick to using the web to find stories about folks who are living, smiling, working, and playing, all with cancer somewhere in the mosaic of their lives. However, I need to allow my feelings about this to emerge; to me, that’s the healthy thing to do.


As I was about to leave my house in Beeville yesterday, I walked by a window and noticed that my big, beautiful Hibiscus plants that were bursting with giant red flowers, had been stripped of their foliage. I was shocked and mad! I called my landscaper, who said that Hibiscus are like crack for deer. Apparently, the damn deer have been sneaking in at night to ravage my landscaping. I asked what to do about it (besides kill the deer), and he said we needed to plant deer-resistant shrubs or plants. He’ll be there this week to take care of it for me. I’m not looking forward to seeing the green stubs that surely await me when I get home this evening.


One of the things I’ve done to line up my ducks for treatment is to consult with my hairdresser regarding my impending loss of hair, investigating wigs and styling them. I inherited my mother’s fine hair, and I recall when hers came back after chemotherapy, it was thick and curly. But in the meantime, I need to figure out how I’m going to manage having no hair. It seems some women have their heads covered up in tattoos. Mmmmm, nah. Not for me. Another former cancer patient friend of mine said she wore a wig for half a day and put it up, and wore do-rags much of the time. I’ll  see if there’s some way I can have a little fun with this and not scare the hell out of everyone. Conveniently, I do believe I’ll be having treatment when Halloween rolls around…



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One Response to The Pendulum Swings

  1. julieburke66 says:

    Howdy, Cissy, and thanks so much for starting this blog and for inviting us along with you. I have a feeling you’re about to find out just what a brave and strong woman you are. The thing that stood out the most for me when I got similar news was watching how people I admired had traveled their roads, and I hope I have done a little of the same for some folks with mine. So thank you for letting us celebrate the hero and fighter in you.

    Yes, Google Medicine will scare the spots off your trout and the beaks off your birds! I got a decent handle on the situation and then looked up stuff on an “as needed” basis, preferring to talk to my doc or trusted medical peeps. And kept a chemo symptom log which we reviewed weekly. This kept me from doing a deer in the headlights on the whole thing and gave my mind a rest. “Worrying is like praying for what you *don’t* want.” Man, the internet can give you plenty to fret over. Useful in smaller doses here!

    About the hair thing. I did do a lot of internet reading on that because I was “wigged out” about it. I decided to wait until the day it started coming out in clumps (13 days after the first round) and went to the hair salon and had it cut off. Most people said watching it fall out was worse than just getting it over with. If you get your wig ahead of time, you can walk right out with your new wig. Mine wasn’t ready in time, so I walked out with a fun surgical cap. It was a weird feeling, but I immediately posted it on facebook and got that over with, too, lol. I also had an artist friend do a henna tattoo on my head which was way fun. And temporary! There are pics on my facebook page. The surgical caps were a lot of fun and colorful, and I matched them to my outfits. I found this to be much more my style than my wig and it allowed for many conversations with people and with my patients. However, I’m not in a field where my hair “matters” as much, so wigs and dressier scarves might be more to your taste. I found the conversations to be invaluable as a support and feeling that I was in this as a fellow traveler. People told me of their loved ones with cancer, and sometimes of themselves. People were real with me, and open. A gift, really. I spent hours on this website and I love their caps!

    Feeling mortal…yes, I’d say that was a transient thing, this feeling “ok” with knowing I’m going to die one day, then wanting to live forever. I had spent years giving lip service to the notion of “Oh, well, when it’s my time, it’s my time.” When I got news that my time could be sooner, well, that shit went right out the window, lol. As a friend of mine who’d beaten cancer used to say in her signature line, “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” She died of cancer, but her amazing journey and life lives on with me.

    “Survivor”…hmmm…I’m kinda with you on that one. So far I’m stuck with “past medical history of cancer” but that’s damned wordy, lol.

    I think I was pretty off-kilter for the first few weeks after I found out I was truly mortal. But after I found my sea legs, I found that I was stronger and braver than I knew. I found myself thinking of cancer as my teacher, but not my master. My faith in the Master of our Universe was also deepened. There are things that I don’t understand in our world, but I truly believe that it’s not my job to understand them. “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” ― Julian of Norwich

    And you, too, shall be well. 🙂

    Hugs, prayers and high fives,

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