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Archive for October, 2011

Appreciate.

One year out of chemo.

Glad to be here. 🙂

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The sound of silence

I’m the most ill I’ve been since treatment… no voice, completely hoarse and dry, congestion…

it’s crazy that I survived treatment without a fever or major illness, but after my 9-month clean bill of health, I got a terrible cold, completely lost my voice, and didn’t want to do anything.

I had more energy when chemo had obliterated my immune system and my hemoglobin. Maybe it was the ‘roids.

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To my audience:

If you have been reading my blog, whether I know you or not, please comment! I’d love to know who has been interested in reading and what has been most enlightening. Above all, I’d love to hear your story.

In solidarity,
Liz

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Maureen.

It’s astounding that someone you meet fleetingly, or for a short period in life, might end up having such a profound role in your life.

I’m aware it’s cliche, but I only say it because it’s true.

I met Maureen as an awkward and forlorn eleven-year-old, in an overcrowded children’s bereavement group in the wake of September 11. Through arts and crafts and child-friendly dialogue, I worked through the death of my father. After some time (months? a few years?) I felt satisfied with my progress in the program, and left the bereavement group as a distant memory. I never thought I’d meet Maureen again nine years later in a children’s oncology clinic.

It was the first time I had blood drawn under the orders of my oncologist from Columbia Presbyterian. The room, filled with mobiles, bright colors, screaming children, and sallow children, coupled with my medical unknowns to begin an intense panic. The tourniquet was like a vice, and I fought back tears, saddened that I was 20 years old and the only one new enough to cry. As I tried to distract myself, I swear I recognized one of the nurse practitioners. I told my mom, and in her desperation upon seeing me cry, she asked the nurse drawing blood who the woman was that I saw. Her name was Maureen, and we knew we had to say hi.

We caught up quickly, and she humanized the frightening new world of oncology. She said I was in good hands, and I knew I could believe her. She was never explicitly in charge of my care (it was for the best, because she handled bone marrow transplants) but she kept a watchful eye, and filled my months of treatment with encouragement and a sense of calm.

Because of her, I survived a terrorist attack on my family and a cancerous attack on my life. Because of her, I have the composure and confidence to write and speak about these tragedies. It’s really only because of her that I emerged sane.

Take time to appreciate the Maureens in life.

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Successful nine-month scan.
Time to breathe again.

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