Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Defining me...

de•fine -transitive verb
 a : to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of b : to discover and set forth the meaning of
 c : to create on a computer
 a : to fix or mark the limits of
b : to make distinct, clear, or detailed especially in outline
Characterize, Distinguish <you define yourself by the decisions you make Denison University bulletin>

  I remember thinking, or possibly even saying at one time, Melanoma won’t define who I am. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I wonder, how can it not? It is my sleeping partner. It sits with me over coffee in the morning. It goes to work with me each day. It hangs around in the evenings, and it comes along on vacations. 

 Last week was a rough one for me. My dad had been home on Hospice care, and last week Thursday he was admitted to a wonderful hospice care facility. It took some time before I completely got my arms around that transition, but I’ve gotten used to the idea. I’m even okay with it. I have been on vacation this week just trying to recharge my batteries. It wasn't until this evening that I was able to call my parents. I’ve been in healing mode, and I did not want to be thrust back into my reality by talking to them. I told my mom about my lack of communication, but in typical mom fashion, she understands.

We talked about being “burnt out”. I think it has happened to me. I’ve heard the phrase, but I dismissed it, not really understanding what being “burnt out” really means.

 But I can almost guarantee that those that have melanoma, or are caregivers of loved ones with this horrific disease know exactly what I’m talking about. There comes a time when you have to recharge. For a long time, I was able to function on my anger towards this disease. The constant drive to share awareness, get that word out to others…go go go…..Not to mention the true caring and loving that comes from supporting those with the disease. The pain you feel as those you’ve become friends with are struggling with this evil cancer. I know that I’m not doing anyone any good by being “ burnt out”, and staying that way.

 So this week is healing week for me. I’m embracing the wide open spaces that I have always needed to feel complete. I’m praying a lot. I’m shedding some tears. I’m loving my family, and my special sidekick, Annie. And I am trying to close the gap between my fingers as the sand tries to find its way through.

I’m paying close attention.



  1. You express yourself beautifully. It is a gift. I wish there were easy answers. Be the great person you are and share.

  2. I have to agree with Rene's comment above that you express yourself beautifully. I've felt that many times both in reading your blog and sharing conversation with you.

    I ponder today on the comment "the pain you feel as those you've become friends with struggle" and I have to say that here lies the gift. You've expanded your world tenfold as you've taken the steps to make new friends and not just learn about this evil disease, but to learn about them. You are gifted in caring for others. Yes with this gift the downside is burnout, but the gift of knowing someone at their most delicate time in their life gives you the chance to know them more fully. Everyday clutter fills up the vast majority of the thoughts of people we encounter on a daily basis, but you've moved past that straight to the heart. Those that have received a wakeup call telling them life is not forever understand that you have to make the most of everyday. Idle chit-chat isn't as meaningful, but purpose and passion are.

    I hope you take time to recharge and feed your own needs (although it is probably hard to recognize them right now). You are a valued friend and Melanoma warrier. You have much more caring to do, but for just a moment enjoy a cup of tea, soak your weary feet, and listen to some music that heals your soul.