The Nine R’s of November: Reconcile


It’s been an emotional week.

You see, a year ago today I got the phone call from the internal medicine specialist who told me he found something in my bones. (This was the day after a very painful bone biopsy.) I could tell he didn’t want to say what that something was, but he was insistent that I needed to go to the hospital right away and stay for the weekend to get a myriad of tests done.

I was insistent that he say the word.


It was there in my bones, but we didn’t yet know how it got there or what type it was. It was a long, scary weekend.

It has been a long, scary year in so many ways.

I’m not sure I can put into words exactly how this past year has been. To be honest I was so sick (and drugged) during the winter I barely remember it at all. Things started to clear up in the spring and it was like an awakening.

I’ve had to reconcile with myself this new reality that we are living. The terminal diagnosis, the almost-dying, the coming around again to the point where I could walk and exercise and still be me, only different.

No one can come out on the other side of a diagnosis like that and not be changed. I’m pretty sure going through chemo has changed my brain chemistry the way taking any major drugs does. I feel like the same person, except not the exact same person.

I’ve had to accept the unpleasantness of our situation but it has also made me really grateful for the time I have left. The only trick is to not panic about what I am doing with that time because that kind of panic leaves me paralyzed.

This past summer I decided that I wanted – no, needed – to go back to singing in a choir. I’m not trying to make huge changes in our lives just because I am ill (I think continuity is important for children). However, some things fall onto the ‘now-or-never’ timeline – going back to choir was one of them. I’ve never been a church person but I knew a church choir would be the best fit for me at this point (no pressure, no costs, no auditions) and I’ve discovered that I really enjoying going to this particular church. That’s a pretty big change for me.

There are so many things I have had to reconcile within myself this year and I know that work isn’t done yet. Probably never will be.

Reconcile. Here is a little one: I have reconciled with myself that I really don’t enjoy writing book reviews. They are too much pressure and I never know what to say. So no more book review blog for me.

Reconcile. Here is a big one: I have reconciled the fact that there is no one to be angry with. I can’t be angry with myself because I did nothing wrong. I can’t be angry with the medical establishment because it did nothing wrong. I can’t be angry with the universe because it, too, did nothing wrong.

I got cancer. It sucks. I don’t have the time or energy to be angry all the time. No one knows how long I have but I have reconciled myself to the fact that it is probably less than most and I have to make the most of it in my own quiet way.

I have also reconciled the fact that there are some mornings when I feel good – but by mid-afternoon that quiche I really wanted to make is too big of a mountain for me to climb. On those days (today) all I can do is put my pyjamas back on and crawl back into bed and hope to finish this blog post before I get too tired to do so.

Thanks for reading.

  8 Replies to “The Nine R’s of November: Reconcile”

  1. Moira Potter
    November 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Your journey is not one I can relate to on any level. I cannot pretend to know what you must feel but your words and pictures are a story I want to know. Thank you for sharing. It is changing my world view. And I love your book recommendations. So do my children.

  2. November 27, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve thought of you every day since that day, Melanie. Your story is one that impacts all of us. I have the week, apart from Tuesday (when the winter tires get put on) and so, I’d love to come for a short visit. Let me know on the Book Face. Thank you for your powerful writing. I’m glad that you’re singing! Kath

  3. Monica
    November 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer a little over a year ago and he sadly did not have a lot of time. He lived eight months from diagnosis and then like that was gone. I often wonder how he came to terms with his illness when he was still well and then the disease mapped out the road for us after. I think back to the hope we had, to the anger I had, to the calmness he had when I did not. I still can’t make sense of it, I know what happened, I know he is gone, I know my life stretches in front of me unblinking, forever changed.

  4. November 27, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Melanie, you are an inspiration to me and I am sure to everyone else. I have nothing but sheer admiration for your attitude and the way you are dealing with this horrible curve ball which has been dealt you. As I said to your Mum today, our fingers are crossed and crescented (that’s Mehmet’s Mozzy expression) for you and your family. Much love, Christine ❤️

  5. November 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I savour every word you write. Thank you for your courage and generosity, and for being sometime I’ve looked up to and learned from ever since I became a parent. I am very grateful. You are great. xo

  6. Julie Devaney
    December 1, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you so much for writing. Reconciling is exactly what I’m struggling with today and you are one of the few people I could really hear this from. So much appreciation to you.

  7. Ann Speer
    December 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Your strength and beauty, your three little beautiful girls, your husband, brother and sister, have all suffered with you. You’re parents have taken on your pain and all your friends around you, still pray for a miracle!
    I believe in one day at a time, I can’t know the pain or suffering that you are going through
    but you have been so brave this year and all we can do is hope and pray that three little angels will grow up to see their mommy, old and happy!
    I love you Melanie and your wonderful family❤️️❤️️❤️❤️

  8. December 11, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Looking for you today, wondering about you.

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