Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Difficult Day

Today was a more difficult day than I have experienced in awhile. While perusing the National Lung Cancer Partnership website I was confronted with raw statistics, which I have seen before, yet have studiously avoided. But, in fact, these statistics are not pretty. Unfortunately, sometimes a good attitude can falter in the face of certain realities. Also as a result of the NLCP website, I had a poignant reconnection with an old friend. He had followed his heart to California about 10 years ago. Not long after, his girlfriend was diagnosed with lung cancer, virtually the same diagnosis as mine. An athletic, vegetarian non-smoker, she did not win her battle. Her struggle touched him deeply and he became an advocate for all things that kill lung cancer. That is how he came to be on the board of the NLCP.

This roller coaster ride is at a low point. I will go back to basics. Regroup. Put one foot in front of the other. Tomorrow is chemo #5 of 7, and radiation #20 of 34. Maybe I will add some prayer to those bags of medicine.


Bridgette said...

I have seen the statistics too--however there are some that do make it despite the odds. You must look at the glass half full and not become discouraged. It's hard to believe you are so far along in treatments. It seemed like a few blogs ago you were wanting to get started. I know God loves you, has a plan for each one of us and does His best to comfort in times of trial and fear. My prayer for you is recovery,peace and no pain.I will keep praying for you! You are such an amazing woman and again I'm sorry you had such a rotten day! (I hate bad news.) BIG HUG!!! Love Bridgette

bob said...

Dear Elyse ..I just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers and all the good karma I can muster ...which will never be as much as you deserve...are riding along with you
each every step. Love admiration and affection from the "Coastal Empire" ..Bobby

Rachel said...

The bad stats include people who do not have your baseline of combined physical, emotional and intellectual strength. Your case will contribute to the good stats. You WILL beat this, I know it in my soul. xxoo

Team Dream 2009 said...

Sometimes it seems that, of all the shitty things about this cancer--the treatments, the nausea, the helplessness, everything--the worst part is the overwhelming fear that unexpectedly takes over your entire being. It comes out of nowhere. And when it does, there's nothing the rest of us can do about that except acknowledge that it sucks, be there for you through it, and keep reminding you of reality: you are here today.

So I'll remind you of some things that I've already said to you in different contexts, but they need to be here, in writing:

1. That diagnosis was 8 years ago. A lot has happened since then to improve treatment and survivability options.

2. In addition to the physical, emotional, and intellectual strength that Rachel mentioned, you also have great doctors and great support. Most people don't have this winning combination, and with it you're set up to succeed.

3. The stats suck, it's true. But the stats also say that fat chicks can't ride a bike across the USA either. Screw the stats. I'm going to prove them wrong, and so are you.

4. Only today matters today. The things you're afraid of are not happening today. You already know that you can handle what will happen today: radiation, chemo, visits with friends, phone calls, emails, Internet surfing, being covered in dachsund. This is your reality for today, and you can be present, in the moment, for it.

5. Yesterday's news was pretty devastating for me, too. But in retrospect, that awful fear doesn't change reality. Your possibility of survival is the same now as it was before you got that news; you just have a different emotional reaction than you did before. It doesn't change my certainty that you are going to make it through this. YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS. I'm as certain of that as I am of my own name. I can't tell you why; the knowledge is just there in the core of my being.

So if you can't take anything else from all of your friends and fans right now, take this: the fear is not reality. Reality is what's happening today, right now. And that reality is love. Just love, just today.


Steve Beagle said...

Morning Elyse,

What you said yesterday concerning stats is true but you can not forget that you are still flosting like a butterfly and stinging your treatment like a bee..and the dr's are very encouraged to how you are responding and your health and your strength and your mental fortitude and you atch my drift..

If I kindly can remind you of a July 4th blog I wrote -- revisit it - you will think some more..

When I met the abyss these words below carried me..

I don’t project. I don’t predict or expect any specific outcome. I don’t think anything in life is black of white. I am thankful for everyday.

So I leave you with some thoughts transcribed from a mural I passed every day during some specific times of asking myself why me.. Now I know why me….…

God please allow me: To accept the things I can not change and grant me the courage to change the things I can. As well as the wisdom to know the difference.

The past is history. The future is a mystery. Now is a gift and that is called the present.

To dream of what I wish I were, is to waste what I am.

Rising up from the muck and mire, hope reaches all as a burning desire.

Find self-love and hope will appear.

Look deep within your soul and you will also find it there. Be true to thyself and let the lord lead the way and a new ray of light will strengthen your day.

If only I was happy. I could accept. I could feel. I could concentrate. I could simply be. I could appreciate. I could love. I could make a difference.

One foot in the past. One foot in future. You are pissing on the present.

I am alive… Here & Now… Hope is trying….

Just for today, I choose to believe that I can live this one day.

With your face to the wind, I see you smiling again. Spirits’ movin’ within, I know that your gonna win.

So onto some comedic thoughts..let's start with one of my favorite topics - mental health.. ( because I am certifiably nuts as anyone who knows me well will attest.. )

Sometimes I feel like I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe..

I tried to get in touch with my inner child - but he's not allowed to talk to strangers...

Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.

Madness takes it's toll. Please have exact change ready.

Sometimes I feel like a reggae group without a bass player.

Ok Here's your late night update...

Barack Obama is now over in the Middle East. And did you see him playing basketball with our troops in Iraq? Did you see that one shot he made from 40 feet? Let me tell you something: If shooting baskets is now a requirement to be president, a white guy may never have that job again.

Barack Obama is very popular in the Middle East. I guess a lot of people over there saw the cover of The New Yorker.

This is Barack’s third day in the Middle East. And President Bush said that he has no timetable for bringing him back home.

John McCain called a press conference today. Unfortunately, all the press was out of the country covering Obama.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is calling the Bush White House a total failure. I don’t know. I think he’s doing OK, if you don’t count Iraq . . . the economy . . . Afghanistan . . . the mortgage crisis . . .

In a speech, John McCain mistakenly said Iraq and Afghanistan have a common border. And I’m thinking, “No wonder we can’t find Osama bin Laden — we’ve been searching an imaginary border.”

Osama bin Laden’s driver is on trial. The charges are terrorism, conspiracy, making an illegal left turn . . .

New pictures of Britney Spears have emerged . . . holding a pack of cigarettes while her son, Sean Preston, has a lighter in his hand. At least they’re spending quality time together. A lot of moms don’t make time to smoke with their kids.
cya Ali - keep up the great attitude and is a roller coaster but try to keep the car on the exit ramp where it is always level.. we are rooting for ya from the cheap seats..

Lenore & Scott said...

It's funny, Scott and I were just talking about the "statistics" of your situation, and I said, yea, but Elyse is a non-conformist and she statistically shouldn't even be where she is. Statistics are numbers and generalizations. There is always someone who doesn't fit into the stats, and you are the one. I too (like Amy) just know it in my gut that you will be the 'miracle story.'
Hugging you so hard!

Patti said...

Wow, that Amy person is so wise. ;)

You told me yesterday you HAVE to look at the statistics, Elyse, so fine, go ahead and look. But there are so many variables to statistics. I don't care what they are; I, too, know in my soul that you can and will beat this thing. You are that strong. You are that persistent. You have what it takes to be in that group -- no matter how small it is -- that makes it, that banishes the bad cells out of your body, with the help of modern medicine AND sheer will.

Hello Statistics? This is my dear friend Elyse. She's going to beat your ass. Game on.


Michael said...

I'm responding to Patti's comments...DITTO!!@!
Elyse, you're more than a stat to me!

Couzin Michael

Anonymous said...



anonymous said...

Statistics - hated that class in college!

To echo many other's comments: you are not the average bear, Elyse! You will be one of the survivors -that nasty old cancer has absolutely NO IDEA who and what it is up against. With your determination and spirit, your amazing doctors, your loving family and friends, you will be the statistic that all else want to be. You will beat this!

By the way everyone - to see her in person you would never know she is sick - Elyse you looked as beautiful as I've ever seen you look yesterday. Thanks for sharing Brent with us so soon after his return.

Big hugs,

Steve Beagle said...

Amy and friends - yes ALI aka Elyse has more than shown the game is very much on and there is no doubt who wins.. as far as stats go here's a few thoughts:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Three statisticians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first statistician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second statistician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third statistician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "On the average we got it!"

Statistics is a systematic method for getting the wrong conclusion with 95% confidence.

Three professors (a physicist, a chemist, and a statistician) are called in to see their dean. Just as they arrive the dean is called out of his office, leaving the three professors there. The professors see with alarm that there is a fire in the wastebasket.

The physicist says, "I know what to do! We must cool down the materials until their temperature is lower than the ignition temperature and then the fire will go out."

The chemist says, "No! No! I know what to do! We must cut off the supply of oxygen so that the fire will go out due to lack of one of the reactants."

While the physicist and chemist debate what course to take, they both are alarmed to see the statistician running around the room starting other fires. They both scream, "What are you doing?"

To which the statistician replies, "Trying to get an adequate sample size."
In God we trust. All others must bring data. Which of course is statistically irrelevant...

Meg said...

Just heard the news about your illness. All my thoughts and prayers are with you. I know you will beat this ugly disease! You are a lovely lady. Enjoy each day.

Meg Gibson

davedoc said...

Dear Elyse,

We haven't met but your brother has made me feel I know you. Don't review the statistics. They have no bearing on you. You are either going to be 100%, a cancer survivor, or not. With what I know and with what I read on your pages and those of your family and friends, I believe you are going to be that 100%.