Ann’s Diary: Hope Highway

There are days when I just can’t find the nerve.

They are encased in laundry loads and grocery trips, in drop-offs at school, in the surprise meetings I have at Target with the mother-of-my-son’s-friend, in the casual “hey” wave I give friends from the side of the street as I drive past the school crosswalk. The honest-to-goodness smile I find to show that reminds me I am okay, that I’ll be okay. But inside, if they only knew how I was feeling–

they’d freak.

Because this is the tape playing in my head: “What if I’m not here to do this shopping next year? What if another woman takes my place? What if my belief that I’m beating this beast is bullsh-t? What if this pain in my chest isn’t just being 46, but progressing cancer? What if?”

But damned if I show them.

Sure I’m saying it in a blog, but trust me, people can’t remember. They have too much going on, too much goodness in their lives (which they must celebrate!), too much pain, too much confusion–to remember mine. And I’m glad. Who needs more sadness? Friggin’-A, I sure wouldn’t want it.

And here’s another perspective: if they knew, if they only knew– it might give my awful fear life. It might make it grow in me, let it take over–and I’ll be DAMNED if I give it that satisfaction–ever.

Like anybody else going through a life-altering trauma, the feelings I have as a cancer fighter can’t be known all the time. If they were they’d blow every latte, every dinner, every cocktail and every walk I take with a pal. They’d suck the life out of every laugh.

It would turn every hey-good-to-see-you into a fearful, fragile, you-are-victim oh-sh-t-what-do-I-say moment that this Cancer Honey can’t do. I refuse to be roadkill on a tragedy highway–ain’t gonna happen. Place your orange hazard cone somewhere else.

Which leaves me thumbing a ride on the Hope Highway– on a remote, random, who-knows-why-it-was-today day–like today.

So I’m watching the clock and looking for midnight. That’s usually the dark time of night but for this Cancer Maven it’s the bright side–as in, this day is over. A new day has begun. And I, for one, don’t plan to be waving my sorry thumb off the side of Sad Road tomorrow.

I am going to beat this thing–and I don’t just mean cancer. I mean sadness, fear.

And all of you on this damn horrible road with me, cancer or not–please know this–I will do it,

and you will, too.



Posted August 29th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Hope Highway
Posted in: Ann's Diary
  • Debbie

    Amen sister!!!!!!! Preach it, and I mean that sincerely. You have the gift of articulating what goes on inside the head of all of us who are cancer thrivers. (I don’t like the term cancer survivor, I’ll be a survivor when I’m old and gray and die from natural causes).

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  • http://ProjectPink Project Pink

    thanks, Ted. big hugs.

  • http://ProjectPink Project Pink

    I’m with you, GF. I’d like to die of exhaustion after my 90th birthday party. You?

  • Mary Donovan

    Oh my darling Ann,
    This is so beautifully written and I can hear my sweet sister Ellen’s voice in everything you have written. This was what she was thinking and feeling every time she brushed Catherine’s hair, or kissed Tommy’s boo boos, or planned the birthday parties, Easter baskets and fixed school lunches. While fighting the cancer for almost 7 years, along with it came the evil demons of fearful thoughts throughout every moment of the day and the tossing and turning of the night. You are so right! If only people really knew.
    But my love, you have found the nerve….the strength….and the faith to come out fighting every day. AND YOU ARE “WINNING”!
    All my love and prayers, Mary D

  • http://ProjectPink Project Pink

    I am so honored that you have written to me, Mary. I think of Ellen so often. I do not understand why she is not here and I never will. I have learned not to look for answers that are not mine to have because I’d go crazy and I’m already vegan, non-dairy and no-sugar: I refuse to go crazy. I just feel lucky to have what I have–and who I have–out there in the universe rooting for me–yourself included. Please know I think of you and your family all the time–and I send you as much love and prayers as you send me. We are all in this cancer crap together–for better AND for worse. Love you Mary, very very much.

  • Rebecca

    I hear ya…and I feel ya…I am struck with the fear you talk about several times a day…It overwhelms me…and no one knows. Ick. But then, at midnight…like you say, another day has gone by…and it’s usually ok. I feel the LUUUUUVVVVVV! WOO HOO!

  • http://ProjectPink Project Pink

    right on sistah!