Meeting of the Cancer Club

Image is from a walk we took in the fall.
“Mum, take a picture of me in this tree!
Now take a picture of me in this tree!
Oh wait, this one too.”

Yesterday there was an impromptu meeting of the Cancer Club – which isn’t really a club and only has two members in it: myself and my friend with multiple myeloma. Our daughters dubbed it “the cancer club” because we try to get together for our bone juice (bisphosphonate infusion) appointments every three months. But this month she couldn’t come because her cancer took an aggressive turn for the worse – thankfully it has turned back but her story isn’t really mine to tell.

What I do want to talk about is the discussion we had which seemed so normal to us but upon reflection might seem weird to others.

Here is the thing about Stage IV cancer – you can be ticking along stable for months and then gone two weeks later. That is always in the fore front of our minds. It has happened time and again to women I know with metastatic breast cancer. It isn’t always like this of course, sometimes it is a long drawn out process. Sometimes it isn’t. None of us ever know how long we are going to get top-side but some of us know we aren’t going to get as long as we would like.

Anyway, this friend had a book to recommend about raising teenage girls. She and her husband are reading it and as there is the very real possibility that he will be left alone some day raising teenage girls (their girls are already teenagers) she thought, especially after the recent health scare, that it was a good idea they read it together. And she thinks it is a good idea that Mister and I read it together because there is a very real possibility he will be left alone raising teenage girls. These are the things you talk about in the cancer club. You don’t always cry about them either – often you laugh (at least we do) because what else can you do? Do we want to leave our husbands – who are also our partners and our very best friends – to raise our children alone. Not at all. But this is our reality and the longer you live with it the more you come to accept it. Cancer club discussions also include showing off your recent war wounds, discussing what you want for your funeral and what you definitely don’t want, and telling your friend that it is okay she hasn’t organized 10 years of family photos because it will give her family something to do when she is gone. (I’m the friend in that scenario and I appreciated this advice SO MUCH but I will probably still stress about those photos.)

We also talked about making plans. Because you can never stop making plans – and I didn’t realize how hopeful this action was until I was giving my dad the break down of our summer plans the other day. Because I am a PLANNER our summer holiday is booked, the AirBnB is booked, the summer camps are booked and all that is left to do is live our lives until it is time to leave and hope that cancer doesn’t throw any road blocks in our way. But back to my dad. We were on the phone and he needed the itinerary (I am his daughter through-and-through) and he said, “you’re making plans – that is so great” and he sounded so happy for me and it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how important making plans was – not just for myself but for every one around me. It gives us all hope and, as a mom with cancer, I feel like that is a big part of my job. (A job made much easier when one is feeling well I should add – when you are constantly battling sickness things tend to get a lot darker.)

Our plan for the summer is to take the girls out of school a little early and go on a road trip to the coast – and then come home and enjoy our city. My friend’s plan is to take the family to visit family in Europe. Let’s hope we both make it.

My little treehugger turns 6 in a week. That’s a whole other post but I couldn’t resist sharing these photos.

  6 Replies to “Meeting of the Cancer Club”

  1. Johanna
    January 25, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Plans are good things all round. Which coast are you traveling to?

    (There is so much more that I want to say but every time I try the words sound wrong. It’s true though that none of us know when death awaits us. I have lost a few friends over the past few years and that has made me appreciate my life and the people in it more than ever….)

    • January 26, 2019 at 11:17 am

      The west coast. BC is an easy drive for us.

  2. Steph
    January 26, 2019 at 4:22 am

    I think making plans is a great way to stay sane throughout anything life can throw at you!
    Having things to look forward to and be excited about is surely what keeps everyone going, healthy or sick? And what a great way to keep the mind occupied with positivity at a time when things are bleak or uncertain.
    Wishing you all the best and that your holiday plans work out splendidly.

    X

  3. John
    January 28, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Your words touched me in a profound way. Thank you for the support and strength that you give to the members of the cancer club.

    • January 29, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      Oh John. I’m so glad. Your wife is amazing and I am so grateful that I have been given the chance to get to know her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.