Recently, I was moved by these words shared by a woman I know on an online support group for women with metastatic breast cancer. Hers is such a universal language, I asked her if she would be a guest on my blog. With her permission, I share her thoughts here. Thank you, Annelie, for letting everyone have a peek at your beautiful soul as you share a snapshot of the reality of dealing with metastatic breast cancer.
Meditations from My Infusion Room
by Annelie Imbrailo, Johannesburg, South Africa
As I sat at my infusion room today for Zometa, I glanced around me. Knitting needles clicking away, the humm of the urn keeping the water hot, the microwave softly humming as it warms another bean bag. There’s some laughter in one corner and a soft sniff of the woman crying next to me – newly diagnosed. Still others are chatting, catching up and sharing “what’s new”.
There are some heads covered with scarves, some with wigs, some with light wisps of new hair peeking from the scalp and others with the beautiful short curls of hope. Then there are those heads that have nothing on them, a harsh reminder of the place I find myself in. This place where hope and fear and sadness and joy sit side by side.
As I look at the faces, some so beautiful, loving and familiar, while others are new, filled with the horror and fear and then the reality of my own situation sinks in to the core of my being. How long? Do I really want to know? No, yes, maybe…..I’m not sure. The ever rhetorical question: how did I get here, flits through my thoughts. Pointless wondering. Stop asking stupid questions.
What I do know for sure is that the future is a scary place. Scary, because I don’t know for certain what it holds. I shouldn’t go there. It hardly ever turns out the way I think it will in any case. Besides, the more I dwell on the future, the less I can live in the here and now. Worrying about the future will rob me of the joy I can have today. The facts are what they are but at this very moment I am ok and so I shall bask in that knowledge.
I look around me once more and the microwave pings loudly. The bag is warm. It’s carried over to a young woman whose face is filled with hope and fight. Stage 2b breast cancer. I wonder if she knows that stage 2b can become metastatic. I don’t want to be the one to dim that bright light of hope in her eyes, so I keep my thoughts to myself.
Hope, that beautiful thing that makes me sit here. Hope my quiet, sweet companion. The thing that makes me endure. Hope of seeing my 17 year old grow into adulthood. Hope of maybe, just maybe seeing him stand at the altar, waiting for his bride. Hope of holding a babe from him in my arms. Hope of maybe living to see a treatment that makes this chronic instead of terminal. Hope.
And in that moment I know that I will hold fast and endure to the bitter end. I am loved and I have a purpose even if it is just to hope and hold the hand, wet with snot and tears of the newbie next to me.