Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Times Three No. 13

Every day has been a struggle for dear Jacquie. But she is braver than the bravest and will not fail.

Every day has been a fight to trust that we can get through this. To trust that our love for our families and each other is more important and has more of a call on our hearts than anything else that can try to take us down. Every day I lose that trust many times over.

I made plans and said God willing. Jacquie made plans and said God willing. And then he willed otherwise.

Sheldon got sick and died and we were all affected. We cannot allow ourselves to be dispassionate about each other’s lives. We are all in this together.

When I was first diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer I would sit on my couch (I called it my coffin) and cry. All I could think of was what a loser I was. I lost and everyone else won. My children lost and their children won. I felt less than. I was a diminished person.

Jacquie and I talk about this many times, because now Jacquie feels that she is the loser and it is my turn (just like she did for me) to tell her that she isn’t. “Did you think I was a loser when I was diagnosed?” ‘No.’ “Well, either are you. We’re not losers, we’re just sick.”

And now I understand, but sometimes it is hard to let those thoughts go.

It is a really long road. Once you step on the road marked ‘Cancer’ it is near impossible to get off of it. And if you are like Jacquie, Flo, Sally, Noreen, Daria and I and many others, well then you just don’t get off that road; period.

Jacquie is not well. These past few months have not been easy. The typical textbook of cancer attacks on both your mental and physical health: pain, sickness, loss of appetite, loss of weight, sadness, loss of energy, and mostly loss of hope are all pounding at her daily.

I know that if Jacquie is given enough time that she too will come out the other end. Wondering what hit her, but able to know that she can go on. I have only seen one other person as brave as Jacquie and that was her son Sheldon.

Almost four years is a long time to be sick. A long time to be told that you will be dead in six months and then when you are able to live past those six months, know that you are on borrowed time and the bomb WILL drop and when it does you better be ready.

Jacquie has been sick for almost four months but with her not being able to move you may as well times each of those months by twelve. It is a long time to be sick. Never mind the loss of her dear boy Sheldon.

It is a really long road, it just is. And I know I really know that it gets old for people. Unfortunately for some of us we don’t have the luxury to step off the road or to take that well-needed break. Trudge on, trudge on, and do not give up.

Jacquie and I are different in many respects to our cancer and what we want from people. I never wanted anyone (because I had my family and Jacquie) and Jacquie (always being the nicer sister) wants people. Not only does she want them, she needs them.

Meeting with Jacquie’s oncologist we heard very good news. That the tumor had shrunk remarkably. It is a victory. I am over the moon. Jacquie, Ben, Gil and I are all there, and what Jacquie really wants to know is if she will regain some motion. The doctor feels she will. Another victory, one that makes Jacquie at least feel ‘Well maybe?’

Jacquie started chemo again last Wednesday and is dependent on people (which she never has been in her life). It is a really long road. It just is, and it is very hard to make people appear out of thin air.

In the beginning everyone calls all the time, they have all kinds of offers, they remind you to ‘just give me a call if you need anything.’ They will come over to visit all the time……but after the weeks drag on (after all, all the time is a very long time) its like people get sick of you being sick.

They see your phone number come up and they are just too tired to answer because they know you may actually ‘need anything.’ So what happens is your phone number never comes up because you just know not to call. They are relieved and now can pretend you are getting everything done (the top hat and the rabbit must be in the house), as you are not calling them. After all, they did offer.

Last week I was so tired and coughing my guts up at Jacquie’s and she called me from the bedroom because she needed something, I was like ‘Oh God, I’m so tired; I just want to go home.’ But then I knew that it isn’t Jacquie’s fault and I knew that I would have to get my shit together and go and help her. Jacquie did everything and anything for me. For shit sake she gave me enemas. I tell her and through our tears we laugh our heads off.

It is a really long road, it just is. It is not a road for the faint of heart.

I get sick of not doing anything fun, not seeing anyone, sick of even answering the question ‘How are you feeling?’ Because the truth is no one wants to really know. When you find that person who really does want to know (few and far between); the funny thing is you don’t feel sick of answering the question.

To the many other people who ask the question the usual response is ‘fine’ because to be honest it is easier. You may as well let them off the hook in the first few minutes. Many people don’t know how to react or don’t want to hear it.

I see that Jacquie has learnt this already. I see her get the phone and say ‘good, fine, alright’ even though she is feeling far from all of those things. On the other hand what do you say ("I mean I’m not dead, so I guess I’m fine").

I know that we are all entrenched in our own personalities and lives and loves and tendencies. I know that we sell and buy our own excuses. I know that none of us like change and we all like our comfortable life if we are fortunate enough to have one.

I am thankful that I had Jacquie and my family who took exceptional care of me even when they needed a break, even when it got old, even when they got sick of hearing me say “I feel like shit.”

Jacquie and my family did that for me because they knew I needed them. I needed other people too….

Jacquie was throwing-up and having to go to the bathroom, poor girl. I was helping her and then went home. I too was throwing-up and Nathan called and said ‘Auntie Jacquie needs you, can you go back?’ I was just about to and phoned Gil and all I can say is thank God homecare came, because I was sick and Jacquie was sick and the last thing I wanted to do was go anywhere.

Jacquie just like you did for me, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, you won’t have to ask me and you won’t have to thank me. And I will always be sick of being sick, but never ever will I be sick of being there for you.

The light shined bright the other night though. There was a Beast, Belle (dressed as Cinderella), a Witch and her Mama, and a Grandma/A.J. all on a crisp Halloween evening laughing and going door to door. I drove up and lunged towards them like Quasimodo because I can barely move my leg and pounced on Grandma/A.J. in the wheelchair and asked if she had fun and she did. I could see it.

Beast (Ben) pushed Grandma/A.J. (Jacquie) while Mama (Angelique) went up to the houses with Belle (Kayla) and a Witch (Josephine). Amongst all of this magic there were many creatures running from door to door, there were even boxes walking around.

But best of all it was a good night where a mother and her other brave son were able to go for a lovely evening stroll.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco


Ces said...

By your definition, I know a lot of losers: ME! because of my Mother, whose Mother died when she was 10; my younger sister, widowed at 38; my cousin James, murdered by the Muslims in southern Philippines at 28; my cousin Magdalene, widowed at 30; my best friend Cynthia, died at 20; my classmate Josephine, died in second grade; my friend Marlon, drowned in front of me; all my patients who died while we were reviving them. We cannot think in terms of loses and winnings because I would much rather live with a friend or a relative for a short period of time with love and fulffillment than live with someone until old age and be miserable. I don't think we have much choice when it comes to our destiny, that is why we cannot be complacent. That is why I do not care that my closet is a mess or I saw a wad of dust on the floor this morning. On my way to work this morning, my son called to thank me for being there for him and to tell me he loves me and I blew a kiss to my husband and touched my daughter's face while she was waking up and told her I love her. I think I am a winner. I am a winner because of the people I love who are in my life or have been in my life, you including and when I ask you how you feel, I really want to know and see if I can be of help, maybe to cheer you up. You always do for me, so why can't I?

Ces said...

I hate cancer! I hate it very much! I will draw and paint until I am old and blind. I will not stop drawing and painting for your sake, for those I love.

Anonymous said...

I've heard/read the name Jackie (many derivations on the spelling) in the past couple of weeks, and now that I see this post, I know why.

There's a Jacquie out there that needs my positive energy focused on her. I will do that for her, and YOU!

Sometimes random thoughts/obervations happen to me, and while I recognize the recurrance of these things, I often don't know why these things are thrown at me from the Universe until after the fact.

I will open myself up to the Universe today and send all my good thoughts to Jacquie!

Anonymous said...

Also, as an aside, my hubby's father just got diagnosed with cancer, and his sister survived cancer a year ago, and I just heard yesterday that a friend's mother was diagnosed with cancer. Is there a portal open up somewhere? It's a fickle world we live in, and try my best to not take any one day for granted...because you just never know...

Doris Sturm said...

I don't know how to respnd to this post - yet I want to say something because even though I just started following your blog, I think I like you very much, only I get confused by your writings since I don't know these people - or if they are stories - but whatever it is, I'm so sorry you have Cancer.

I don't know what I would do uf the Doc ever told me I had cancer - probably run and get more than one opinion and after that - cry till I'm out of tears and then- I honestly don't know!


magikalseasons said...

It's people like you that really show the rest of us how to live. My grandmother was taken by cancer and my mother is a survior. Sending love and healing your way! Becca

Angela Recada said...

Good morning, dearest Renee,

"‘How are you feeling?’ Because the truth is no one wants to really know."

First, I just want you to know that I do want to know. I'm not just asking. I care, and I'm not squeamish. Never doubt this, my dear friend.

I'm so sorry you have been feeling so sick, and you know my heart goes out to your dear Jacquie, too. You are not losers. You are two of the bravest, strongest women I have ever encountered. Unlucky, yes, but never, ever losers.

I hope being honest like this helps you. It's also important for those who read your words to see the truth about this fucker we call "cancer." It's not pretty. It's ugly and dirty and disgusting. It's a hell on earth. And despite your fight with this bastard, and your many sorrows, you are still the most generous, wise, positive and caring person I have met in a long, long time.

If anyone has a right to have rant once in a while, it's you. Do it as often as you need to. It's good for you to get it out.

I know you have made many dear friends by blogging, and I hope you know that I am here, too, if you need me. Anytime.

I'm wrapping my arms around you and Jacquie, sending you my love, and praying you find some peace from the pain and discomfort.

Love and hugs,

momcat said...

Thank you for your strength and your words. You touch lives of people you will never know and you will never know how you touch those lives but just know that you do!

Deborah said...

Breaking News: We have just received word that Renee and Jacquie are WINNERS. They looked at cancer and spit in its face. What was meant to bring destruction and devastation has been refined to pure love. Renee and Jacquie have brilliantly started a wild fire of love reaching beyond the confines of time and space to unite the human spirit in a love that will remain long after this little blue planet turns to dust. Their family is the epitome of The Holy Family...At every moment, they do what love requires. THAT is what being a WINNER is all about. In the end, only love remains.

Renee, you and Jacquie have enlarged my heart by leaps and bounds. I pray that in the face of great adversity that I could respond with half the faith and love that you both have. You are my beloveds. Sending you all my love, Deb

Anonymous me said...

You are right of course Renee, people get caught up in their own lives and concerns, then give only lip service to those around them who are in very real need. Perhaps we are all quite selfish at heart and would rather not face that truth ... especially if it means DOING SOMETHING. I remember it being very similar when my mum was first diagnosed ... loads of calls and offers of help that quite quickly petered out, and now we hardly ever hear from these friends. That's OK but it makes it hard for her to beleive that I do want to be there, she has learnt to dis-trust even me.

Just so you know though, when I do ask how you're doing, I really do want to know the answer. Distance is no barrier to friendship after all.

xx Jos

Miss Becky said...

this is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, joyful, sad, uplifting, courageous, and honest post. it is the post of a winner. no losers here. thank you

Deanna said...

Loser? Never. You and your family have become some of the bravest people I know.

yoborobo said...

Renee - The road that you and Jacquie are on is so damn long, and hard, and full of potholes and vipers and every imaginable heartache. I am here for you. I do not mind hearing the hard things. Of course, they break my heart to hear them, but so? Hearts are broken if you care about people. I want to be here for you and Jacquie because you have made my life richer, caused me to look at my life differently, and reminded me to love each day that I get to spend with my family. I am sending you and Jacquie my love and my strength. I'm not walking the long road with you, I couldn't pretend to know what you are going through - but I am there, on the side, with a glass of wine, a kleenex, or an ear, if you ever need one. xoxoxo Pam

glorv1 said...

Hi amiga. My thoughts are always with you and your family. You know that. I always include you in my prayers. ::hug::

Marion said...

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this today. (You and Jacquie are so strong, such survivors....I pray for y'all every single day...) I think it was meant just for me. Been feeling sorry for myself and not wanting to get off the couch. My daughter has to have an upper G.I. today and I have to go with her and my 13 year old grandson (her son)to see a pediatric orthopedic specialist for his 'pigeon chest' symptoms tomorrow out of town. I'm the only family around so I'm going with them, too. I don't feel up to the drive or the sit due to my worsening back pain, but I'm doing it anyway because they need me. But I really want to hide under the covers and not come out for a few months....

Then I read one of your posts and you give me courage, hope and strength. Thank you, dear, precious friend, for sharing your soul so openly here. It means so much to so many of us. I love you and appreciate you. xoxo Blessings!

Arija said...

Hallo dearest Renee, yes, sometimes life really sucks bt for the little treats that pad it out, it is till worth the effort to stay here and enjoy the nice crumbs we are thrown. It is therapeutic to cry together and even more so to share laughter.
Four years ago when I was at death's door I felt like giving up but my guardian angel threw me back into the fray, and now I am grateful, else I would never have had the chance to blog or meet you or Ces or Bella and so many other wonderful people around the globe.
Hang in there and for every time you answer 'fine' your body will slowly respond and make you a little better.
Love and hugs...Arija

Marie S said...

I will give a definition of *fine* so you can laugh every time you say it.
F-uped, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.
I am so sorry, the fact is even when you are done, the people avoid you. After the all clear, it is not enough that we are afraid of the other shoe dropping, everyone else is too.
I want to know how you are and if I lived near I would come and make you both laugh, we could have tea and crumpets and pretend it is halloween everyday.
Child of the corn would sit in your lap and say, I love you Auntie Renee.
I would give you a break!

Forgive them Renee, it seems people think cancer is contagious and it scares the hell out of them.
...it is the leprosy of our times.
Love and hugs my tired and strong friend.
Word verification *flogs* oh how perfect is that?

Jackie said...

I read that with tears in my eyes. I am sure that there is some truth to what you are saying . I think for some people it is hard for them to deal with cancer.
How can I help Jacquie? Could I write a letter ? Could we talk on the phone ? I really want her to have people if thats what she needs . Does she have a computer ,can she email ?
I also Love that you wrote that post because we can all be selfish sometimes. Please tell me if their is anything I can do.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Thank you for telling it like it is, Renee. I will think of this post and try to act on it the next time someone needs my help while they're going through a hard time. Best wishes to all of you.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Renee: You engage us, encourage us to be better people, enthrall us with your fortitude and humour in the midst of it all, entrance us with your love of family . . .

I'm so glad you have your blog as a place where you can describe exactly how you feel. Don't pull punches - let the overflow spill out here. We are many and we can take it - perhaps it will lighten your load.

Love and light to you and Jaquie.

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

What an eye-opening post Renee. I'm so glad you shared all these feelings and thoughts.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and Jacquie and your whole family!
I will continue to think positive thoughts for you and I predict you will both make a trip to Grand Forks someday and we'll meet for lunch and a little shopping. ok? :)
Hang in there and know that many, MANY hearts are touched by you each day and prayers continue...forever!
Love, Darla

~Babs said...

There is no sign, no indication of losers coming out of the words of this blog. And no quitters either.
You and Jacquie are winners both,,,because you've not given up on love, or each other.
Love is what there is,,,and all that counts when sorted out. All else is just window dressing.
God IS love. He's at work in the two of you, and your families,and He never tires.

America Alcala said...

Renee, thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my blog...I read this post and I wanted to tell you that you have my friendship from now until forever.

Love and Hugs,


Sarah said...

I don't know how you do it Renee. Your words are always so honest and you say things which are so difficult to say but without casting blame on anyone-just on the horrible illness that you have. Like your much more eloquent commenters, I do want to know how you are feeling and I do wish I could do something more than just reading your blog and leaving comments! I am pleased to read that there is an improvement in Jacqui's condition and hope this continues. I am sorry to read that you are both feeling so bad. I can just imagine you laughing together despite everything. Lots of love to you. xx

Manon Doyle said...

Hi Renee,
Your road is a very hard one. You and your family have endured so much pain and suffering..... but you are strong and resilient people. You prove that every single day. You are brave and you are not losers ....you are the biggest winners of life I've ever encountered. Through the bad times you never give up.
You encourage us all, no matter what our circumstances, to live well and live strong girlfriend. ..... and for this I am so thankful!

i love you Renee!!


Silke said...

Dearest Renee, I feel entirely inadequate to respond to your heartfelt post and truly unworthy to even ask how you are doing because I cannot even begin to imagine going through what you have, are and will be going through! And still I ask how you are because that's the only thing I can really do. No, that's not true, I can continue to send you and your family all my love all the time! My heart is heavy for you all and, at the same time, rejoices in your loving presence in this circle of blog friends! Much love, Silke

Jasmine said...

I'm so sorry to hear just how ill you have been, and that your sister is too.

Its so difficult as I think people are so wrapped up in their own little bubbles that they do not connect meaning to labels. They don't really understand, and a large part of me wishes to keep it that way as to understand is to witness, feel pain.

People feel helpless to help so create distance. This is in all areas of life. I don't have cancer but had a stillbirth after a long period of illness and then a silent miscarraige. Both of these happened this year. Grief although not life threatening is difficult to cope with. People react in the ways you describe above. Again, a large part of me wonders if they really do mind, if they really are sick, or if this is a feeling I imagine because I am proud and don't want to ask for help, I don't want to show emotions... I'm sure your friends and family feel disempowered by not being able to help or magic things better... Its a double edged sword.

Although it is such a shame that you and your sister are so ill, isn't it a blessing that you have each other.

Ianthe is a water nympth and a descendant of the gods. Grandaughter to Oceanus and Ge. In botanical terms she is a violet coloured flower.

Thank you for asking, I wish you peace and a good change in fortunes xxx

Elizabeth said...

Renee, all I can say is that while I'm not on the same road with you, I am standing not far away. Bless you and your beautiful family, and thank you for sharing your struggles and your joys. I'm not paying any attention to talk of being a "loser." Surely, if someone like myself were to use it in any context, you would refute it -- the same is true of you and your sister. There is no winning or losing -- there's just the path and you're walking it in the best way that you can.

Nevine said...

Renee, I don't really know what to say. Words fail me. I will send out good thoughts for you and Jacquie, and for anyone else who needs those good thoughts. I don't know if they will help, but in my heart I always believe that they do.


YayaOrchid said...

Renee, I'm glad you were able to have some good moments with your family this past weekend. I'm glad Jackie was able to enjoy herself.

One thing we can ALL be thankful for is that our Lord never tires of our prayers and supplications. Sometimes it's difficult to understand the whys of our situations, but he is all knowing. Throw all your cares on him Renee. Trust in him as though you were a child once again trusting on your Papa.

karen gerstenberger said...

Renee, as usual, your honesty and clarity cut through the bullsh*t of life. Everything that you observe about "helpers" rings so true. People do the best they can to be helpful, but most don't want to be uncomfortable, and that includes being exposed to the suffering of others; I suppose it's human nature.

I particularly loved this passage: "I know that none of us like change and we all like our comfortable life if we are fortunate enough to have one."

I hope you don't mind if I share with you what Fr. Rohr posted today; it reminds me so much of what you are doing with your pain:
"Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as 'whenever you are not in control.'

"All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

"If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter.

"If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering, to find that God is somehow in it, and can even use it for good, we will normally close up and close down."
Adapted from "Things Hidden," p. 25
I love the way he refers to "destabilizing" our ego. It is exactly what I feel happened to me in the hospital with Katie, and afterward. I still feel off-balance, and am trying to discern if that is the way to continue...it takes a lot of energy to accept that "off-balance" way of being in the world, especially in a culture that prizes "success" and "control." But we know that those are really only illusions. It's all temporary!
I'm glad that there is good news and that Halloween was joyful.
Love to you, Jacquie and your entire family.XOXO

Julie said...

Oh Renee, this had me bawling!!! I feel like I'm the kind of person you described...the kind who calls a lot then fades away. :( I will be better!

Bella Sinclair said...

Renee Dearest,

Your words are so raw, so truthful. I admire you for sharing your thoughts with such brutal honesty. I have heard that when tragedy befalls a friend, you should not say, "Call me if you need me." Just do. Don't wait. Do not put the onus on them to do the asking, because in a way, that is just adding insult to injury.

When sickness strikes, feelings of helplessness are so strong. It's funny how people react to a loved one with a great illness. While my husband's father had alzheimers, my husband gave his mother a lot of financial support for home nursing, etc. And if there was an emergency, he'd drop everything in a second and rush over. But day to day, he didn't want to be reminded of the sadness of losing his father. It disturbed him greatly and caused him to be self destructive in some ways. He didn't call his mother very often, only when I reminded him. We didn't go to visit very often either. It was selfish behavior in that he was preserving his own emotions and sanity, but it was the only way he could deal with it.

As for feeling like a loser, I cannot comprehend that. Victim, maybe. But not loser. You did not bring this upon yourself. Calling yourself a loser is self-blame. Crap happens. Babies and young children get cancer, and they cannot possibly be losers. You and Jacquie cannot possibly be losers. A loser because you need extra help? Because you can no longer be self sufficient? Absolutely not. You are warrior women. Warriors fight and persevere even when they are dog tired and sick. The image of you, sick with the flu and wanting so badly to lie down and rest, trudging onward to help your sister makes me both sad and proud. You and Jacquie are much stronger than you give yourselves credit for.

I love you, dearest Renee. I love all your sisters. I don't want to hear a crap answer like, "I'm fine." Tell it like it is, because that is the Renee I know and respect.

ps. I am tremendously relieved to hear the tumor is shrinking. Thank you, Lord, for throwing us a bone.

lakeviewer said...

Wow! Wow! You opened the curtain, came out, spoke, left us thinking, no, dumb, fired up, lost, electrified, scared, happy, shitted, holied. You opened wounds and closed dark cellars. When we speak we say a few things from the heart; when you speak, your heart thumps and bursts and sings at once, a symphony of sounds surrounds us.

My dear friend, this is life, you say, this is how I am. We bow in recognition that we're are in front of a naked soul. Holy Shit, Batgirl, we're all in the same fire!

Isabel said...

You are not losers. You are strong, courageous women. women who keep it real as they deal with their illness. Women who are able to keep their sense of humor even in the face of adversity.
Inspiring women! That is what you ARE!

Barbara said...

Dear Renee,

It's in the dark quiet that those awful little voices tell us lies about who we are. By sharing the stories of your lives here, for so many people who need to hear it, you stepped out of that shadow. So believe us when we are the voice of reason and say you are spectacular. You ares so far from a loser, I can't even quantify it. And when I ask how you are, please know that I really do care how you are. And though there's little, except this, that I can do, I want you to know that I think of you often and send you white light, too. And I'm grateful I met you. Know that, dear Renee.

Ruth said...

You're teaching us how to do it. I need that. The unknown is frightening, but not as frightening as what you know. And then, we have to move on together.

Ces said...

Ahem! Ahem! I do not think that was a slip. Now the freakin' truth comes out. You are so full of crap Renee. CRAP here CRAP there CRAP everywhere! CRAPOLLA! ♥ ♥ ♥ CRAP!

I don't think you can get yourself out of trouble with this one Renee! How dare you! Oh look Renee! ther's a shoe stuck in you your mouth!

...and if Bella thinks it's funny, why I am not talking to either of you starting now!

Ces said...

I am not talking to you. I am just leaving a comment here because perhaps Deborah may come back (first I have to tell her) and she can read my comment and know that ♥ her or Sister Marie may stop by and read this.

EEEEEE! Your explanation did not do it. EEEEEE!

HAHAHAHHAHAHA! If this is becoming irreverent, it is your fault. I was solemn at first and then you pushed me over the edge I almost fell. Ooops, I am not supposed to talk to you!

Ces said...

WTH! WTH! You called my beloved sisterfriends demons? Huh!? What has this world come to? You were my no. One. Now I don't know. I really don't know.

Deborah said...

I must do more research before voicing an opinion...off to visit the involved parties.

Ginger*:) said...

Renee, Thank you for the visit to my blog. I hope it brings you a happy point in your day. You and Jacquie are in my prayers.

Ces said...

I just had a spa pedicure so I do need my toe sucked right now. besides unless you are a muscular hunk with a handsome chest or if you are wearing knee high boots, a bustier and have a whip in your hand, no sucking of my toe allowed!

Oh Deborah, research, Puleez! Just watch my back. This is Renee we are talking about!

Deborah said...

Ahhhh, I discovered the root of the problem at Bella's...I told Ces that all good mothers tell each child that they love them more than the others. I adore you Renee. ♥ happy to be your little Demon Deb

Ces said...



Oh Renee, I love you.


I have to go. See you later - BRAT!

Anonymous said...

Oh Renee, you feel like shit, but you are still beautiful.
Your Jacquie is so very wonderful also. All you're family who are around you.
I haven't visited my email yet, but will surely go over and check them.

I will be able to start sketching, yeah!
May take me over a week, if I am quiet here, usually I am painting, which is good news!

Sending you all a huge hug, but gently not to hurt!
Bless you all for being so fantastic!

Sophia said...

"We cannot allow ourselves to be dispassionate about each other’s lives. We are all in this together." <----THAT is totally it. What a powerful statement.

My heart continues to go out to you and your family. I even feel guilty at times when I "complain" or blog about my own health/life issues. But you are right....we are ALL in this together....so why not make the best of it and help lift each other up to get through each and every day.

Hugs from afar!!

Michelle said...

Oh wow. I think I needed to read this. You just hit lots of nails on the head for me. If I am sick of it, mum is sicker of it. And yes, the whole years after the initial 6 month diagnosis thing is hard and even though I am so grateful there are days when I just want it to be over, whatever that may mean. Then I feel guilty. If it is this hard for me then how much harder for her?
How the hell are you managing to play both ends Renee?
You must be an angel. And so must I and all these others.
God please don't let that mean this is heaven!
Oh dear...now I am laughing.


Love to you as always


Cindy said...

~I just want to say I love you Renee~

Tom Bailey said...

The way you write has a very nice flow to it. This is my first visit to your blog and I have enjoyed reading some of your other works as well. I connected to you through another blog.

Ces said...

Oh Yes! When I first came to America people always ask "How are you?" and before I can answer they are gone. I think they use that phrase in lieu of "Hello". Sometimes when someone asks me that question and I know they don't really care, I reply with the same question, that really throws them off!

I think people say a lot of things they don't mean. People are so phony, they call you darling, sweetheart, sister, friend and not mean anything by it. I find it very difficult to call someone a term of endearment that means a lot to me. I especially hate and detest those people who will only be nice if you return their comments all the time. I am not going to pander to people's insecurities. Once someone actually engaged me in an argument on my blog and when I did not reply, the blogger threatened to stop following me. Hah! Good riddance. I understand we have personal lives. I would not be so upset if I notice that some people who used to visit, no longer visit everyday, some of them may have had a death or illness in the family but they are not very vocal. I welcome them when they come, I won't hound them if they don't visit everyday. I am not saying that you hound them but some people really do go on with their lives, that is why we value our families very much, when everyone else is gone, they are the only ones who stay. I only visit less than 10 bloggers every week.

Momo Luna said...

Dear, sweet Renee,
again such an intense, honest, heartfelt post. Thank you for that. You are a winner, don't you know that? You're a winner because you are brave, honest, never giving up, empathic to other people. You are a winner because you bring love into the world thru your posts and you touch, inspire and comfort people all over the planet because of your writings. I am so sure about that. :-)

I bring you and your family my love, strength and lots of virtual hugs. Thank you for sharing your road.

xxx <3 Monica

Ingrid Mida said...

Your courage and honesty always leaves me speechless Renee. If I knew your phone number, I would call and ask you how you are and want to know the answer. I am sending my love.

Great-Granny Grandma said...

You are definitely not losers. I see you as two incredible, strong, beautiful women.

studio lolo said...

So beautifully and perfectly said.

You are so lucky to have one another and to hold one another.
I can't believe there are sisters who don't even talk to each other.

My prayers and blessings are there every day for you both.
What a journey. Holy shit.

And thanks for sharing that 'not so secret' secret with me.
I love you too!


Annie said...

Oh honey. I wish I lived close by, I would help, and I know it is easy to say, but I would really do it. People mean well, but I know what you say is true for most. I have learned though that to give is always the way to go. I thought of you today as I had a really bad day, but no matter how bad things get I thought, I have my health. It is worth everything. Sending love and hugs to you and Jacquie.
Far from losers you are both heros in my book. xoxox

secret agent woman said...

Beautiful post, Renee, and I am so impreesed by the love in your family. It's palpable in your posts. Losers? Never. Your love makes you winners.

And of course, I've not forgotten. Our engagement menas the world to me. :)

Anonymous said...

Sending you my love Renee to both you and your sister Jacquie. I am glad Halloween gave you both some smiles and light. Praying for you always. xo

Marie S said...

I do!

Ribbon said...

I do love you. I think of you and sometimes chat with you in my head.
I guess if you could read my thoughts we might chat often.

I don't think of you as a person who is dying, though sometimes this does cross my mind.
You are very much alive and that I know for sure.
Apparently we are all dying, but we are all living life a little different from each other.

There's no doubt about it that suffering is shithouse!... and there will always be times when you feel alone in it.
Fortunately nothing is always and everything is sometimes.

I'm hugging you now with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.

thinking of you
xx Ribbon

ps... I'm very grateful that you have the gift of communicating in a very heartfelt way. You are wonderfully generous.

Wendy said...

Dear Renee, my heart goes out to you. Life sucks sometimes, and as you said "the road is long". The journey difficult. I can identify with many things you wrote about. But I don't see you as a loser - ever.
I'm so glad to hear that Jacquie's tumour has shrunk. Love and Light to both of you.
CyberHugs too.

Kelly Lish said...

Renee, I'm so glad you had fun on Halloween-you all needed it and deserved it so much. I wish for you and Jacquie, only good things. I wish for you both, some sort of peace and understanding that only you can know because of how life is right now.
I hope it helps a little bit, that the words you write are teaching us all that life is never to be taken for granted and that we need to appreciate every healthy day, as it's not a given, but a wonderful gift. I know physically you are sick , but I think that spiritually you are so strong and wise and giving and beautiful.
Love to you Renee,

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Renee,

That is such a hard road that you are all going down.
You have a beautiful family and I love the support you give to each other. I wished I lived near so I could come and make you a cup of tea and help you out.
Think of you lots and sending love and strength for each day.

I was so happy to hear that Jacquie's tumor is shrinking, that is such good news.


pRiyA said...

To be able to write with such honesty requires a wisdom which comes only when you are going through the worst but you just have to go on.

My God Renee...!

Strawberry Girl said...

God bless you Renee, and Jacquie as well.

The sincerity of your love and life are an inspiration to me Renee... I don't know of any winners if you and your sister are not listed as such... you win sweetie!! Every time you pull out some reserve, from somewhere, to help, cheer and fight... you win!

I love you Renee, I will keep you and Jacquie in my prayers and thoughts. Sorry I haven't gotten out to your blog in a while...


ToM KiDDo said...

Oh Renee, be brave and fight that dumbass cancer!!!

A Cuban In London said...

'But best of all it was a good night where a mother and her other brave son were able to go for a lovely evening stroll.'

I wanted to smile and feel optimistic, but then I remembered the words that preceded the quote above and I just remained numb. I don't know how your sister manages, but I do think she is a very brave person. And so are you and your family.

What a great, sincere and from-the-gut post this is. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

clairedulalune said...

Oh Renee, if you can feel it, I am holding your hand as tight as i can. glad to hear you had some smiles at Halloween. By the way, did I read the word Loser? Certainly not dear Renee, certainly not. Thinking of you and your family, ((Hug))

ruthie said...

dear renee, as i ssaid by others you are a winner in all our hearts we feel this. Your bravery & your words reaching out to so many folk, that is a wonderful gift that you give to us all each day. thank you sweet one x x x

kj said...

renee, get yourself over to blogland lane and be prepared to cry....


Annie said...

All is well, sweet Renee, but thanks for caring. I hope you are feeling better! Hugs and kisses.

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

LOSER??????????? I think NOT!!!! OMG no No NO! First, I'm happy to hear that the tumor is shrinking! THANK GOD FOR THAT!!!! AMEN!!! Girl you are a winner! I know you don't feel like it sometimes and all that you said comes from a place of truth your own truth. You don't deserve this and it's not your fault. NO one wakes up one morning and says, " Gee I think I want cancer!" You didn't ask for it, but with all of us pulling for you we will beat the hell out of cancer! We love you and YOU know that I love you and send you many healing hugs and healthy thoughts! Love you sooooooooooo much

Fight Back said...

This is a great post, very brave and inspiring! We developed videos of inspirational stories from cancer fighters all over Canada. Check out www.fightback.ca to learn more about joining the fight!

Sonia ;) said...

Cancer has a way of tripping up everyone. Is blind to race, age, health. I could list all the losses from this terrible disease but I wont. No one who battles cancer is a Loser...Everyone is a winner in strength, courage, and inspiration.

Jacquie is a trooper, I realize where Sheldon recieved such noble knowledge. The battle is never won its only post poned for another day, time, and person.

Dear friend...Your a Trooper also. Ur sick and still going. Your like a General in command. Just dont over manipulate the battle. You too are at war, and the lil prince and princess need ur strength.

I love you Dear friend. Kiss Jacquie on the forehead and tell her I said "Hi". And when ya stop by Sheldon's let him know he is still my Hero....


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thank you for your honest post. You are brave and beautiful and I'm so glad you are my friend.

zoe said...

you guys are so tough, so strong, i think you are way stronger than you even know. i am imagining you and jacquie having the easiest day, with no pain at all, and you are so surprised that life can feel this way, that now, since this moment, *your* life feels this way. the tumor has continued shrinking, it was shrinking as your oncologist talked to you, as he spoke.

i adore you and your writing and the beauty you bring on this page. thank you!
is there a picture of you guys around here? i am focusing. you should be feeling warm sunlight bathing your face right now, even if you're inside :)
and here's a new batch of my magic hugs!

Dede said...

Oh Renee, I have never seen a loser here, never! I have seen strong, loving, caring and a very courageous family here. There are no losers here, not one! You are so right about the phone calls, they get fewer and fewer and then stop all together. I remember spending nights at a hospital with a little girl, she was 19 at the time, just rubbing her bruised and sick little body. Her mama told me,"You know you don't have to spend every night with her." I know I don't have to, I want to. Then we cried together. I do not consider her a loser, she was a wonderful little girl that I will never forget.

I do care how you are! You have given so much of yourself to so many and for that I love and thank you!


Lisa Lectura Creations said...

Hi Renee! You are definitely not a loser. Each post and visit you make shows the strength & love you have in your heart. You are a very brave woman and I admire your honesty with us always. I lost my mom to cancer five years ago now. I never thought her to be a loser either. She was a blessing in my life, like your existence here in blogland.

Lisa :)

Baino said...

Renee I know what you mean about needing people. It's like when you lose a loved one, people come out of the woodwork with offers of help and sustenance then as time goes by they dwindle, they expect you to 'get over it' and move on so when you need their support most, they are few and far between. As for the response 'fine' I do it all the time because you're right 99% of people are absorbed, they don't care. I wish people wouldn't ask frankly. You are fortunate to have each other and the ties that bind. I so wish I was closer to help make life a little easier but I'm not. If I lived in the US or Canada, I'd be up there in a flash to cook your meals and clean your house and make sure you had some 'me' time. Feel free to unload at any time, you know where to find me and for goodness sakes, don't take it ALL upon yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

drollgirl said...

cancer is such bullshit. my heart goes out to you and to jacquie. and i hope things get a lot better for both of you soon. it just isn't fair. i know that statement is stupid and childish, but cancer is just bullshit.

Mother's Moon's Message said...

I have only just found your blog and may I say that not only your entries touch me yet also the comments left by others.... Such a magical place.... There are blessings and beauty even in the most dismal of places.... You are such proof of that... I truly feel blessed for having found this treasure today...

Anonymous said...

Oh Renee, I am at a loss for words. You are an incredible person and find strength enough for every hurdle you face. You and Jacquie are so strong together.Sending my love to you both. Tell Jacquie,I gave enemas too. What a thing to have in common. Love, Barb

Noreen said...

Renee, you continually touch my heart. I am so touched by the love your family has for each other and the length they go to be there in what ever way. Your strength is awesome.

You have the ability to put to words, so much of what I feel and can not express. The phone is much quieter that it was four years ago. People do not ask "how are you doing?" because they are tired of hearing the same answer.

Cancer, I believe, is not for the faint. It takes a lot of courage to get up, every day, faced with this devil of a disease.

I have not met your sister Jacquie, yet, I see her strength through your words. Don't figure, she is your sister. Two very powerful women!

Much love, Noreen

Ces said...

So, let me get this straight, about people who are there during the height of the crisis and then disappear. Are you referring to in-the-flesh relationships or blog relationships, because you know me. I always have an opinion and I am not shy to share it with you.

Anonymous said...

I like to travel.
I am happy to journey down any road, especially roads that arent mine, I find such beautiful treasures and jewels waiting for me on the sides of those roads that others may perceive to be to dark to travel down safely or comfortably.
I am aware, VERY AWARE, that I am so extremely blessed to not be walking down the same road as you by virtue of non choice, but, and this is a big but, I am equally aware that at the drop of a hat, at the whim of a cell within my body I too could be joining you and Jacquie. So I do not walk away, I do answer phones, I do get up and do it even when my eyes are rolling in my head from lack of sleep and exhaustion because...."there but for the grace of God go I."

Having said that I truly believe that these things are not the act of God, but I do believe that God is with you every step of the way and sometimes he asks others to help him out cos he has so much to do. I am not scared of dark roads, late at night and I am not scared of the ugly side of cancer. The uglier life gets the more I smile and the more love i give out, cos that is the true weapon to fight anything ugly in our lives.

Some people are scared of themselves I think, more than they are scared of your sickness, they are terrified to see the truth in the illness because they are terrified of living it themselves and not being as strong as you and Jacqui and Sheldon, of not being as full of grace as you all are. They are terrified of their own mortality and I believe that is what really keeps them away. Fear cripples people in so many ways each and every day.

You are standing there facing your fear and screaming at it to back off and at the same time you scatter love everywhere you go.
That is what scares people even more than the thought that they could have to fight what you have to fight....it is this fear that cripples them into non action....what if they do have to face what you are facing and they find themselves lacking, what if they dont have the strength and courage and tenacity to stand up and scream back at the monster while still offering love to all who cross their path?

What if? and FEAR are enemies of the soul, and you know what? The only thing that cures those two conditions is Love.
Ironic really, in order to be free those people just need to give selflessly of their love and they will be free from those fears.
If they actually gave they would be free.
But that is their journey and their thing to figure out, not mine and not yours :)

I adore you, you are truly a sister of my heart. I am so blessed I found such wonderful jewels in you, Jacquie and Sheldon on my journey down your road.
From the bottom of my heart Renee, thank you for letting me join you on your road, I have learnt so much from all 3 of you, and you have all given me more than you could possibly know.
I love you with all my heart, Jacquie too and of course Sheldon.

Wine and Words said...

Uphill, so much uphill and the ache in your calves is daunting. I strive through your words and pull for you and those traveling up Mount Cancer. But with a flick of his finger, God can lay waste the tallest mountain. "He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save. He is mighty to save." Praying He be mighty now...for you and Jacquie.

Debbie said...

I am unable to grasp the level of pain and trials your dear family has been through in such a short period of time. Please know that it is not empty words when I say that I think about you and pray for you. Your honesty in your writing is a gift to us all.

staceyjwarner said...

I'm late boarding this boat but I'm hear all the same. I think my timing is actually perfect because today I was relaxed and able to read and focus on every word you wrote.

All of them were important.

I'm sending much love and light to you and yours.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

So happy to hear that Jacquie has had some good news in relation to her tumour. She certainly in a fighter and "braver than the bravest". Glad she was able to enjoy Halloween - it is these moments spent with family and loved ones that are the most precious of all.

Still sending lots of prayers your way! Lisa x

PS - Sarah advises on the use of baking paper when you are making your rice krispies - it works a treat:) You will never need to throw out a pan again.

TheChicGeek said...

Oh, Renee, thank you for this post. I am struggling now with a very sick sister. I wanted to e-mail you and ask you, how do you do it? How do you go on when you feel sad and sick. You are such an inspiration to me....Really....truly.
Sometimes life is just hard and dealing with loved ones that are sick is the hardest. I think it is harder to watch other suffer than it is to suffer ourselves.
Well, Renee, you are loved, you are an inspiration and a treasure to us all.
Have courage, Renee. That's all we can do, hope and pray, be brave and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I send baskets of love to you today!

Sarah said...

Renee..as always a honest and frank post about where you are right now. It is your honesty & grace that draws folks to you. When I come here or email you about trivial crap..I know..you will speak truth to me. I love that..love it. It speaks volumes about your strength. You set the bar high hon..for those of us with out the beast that hides under your bed. Thank God for that! I am blessed to know you and learn strength and grace at you knee!! Hang in there hon and your sweet sis too!! I love you dearly and am pulling for you both from here!! Love, Sarah

Lori ann said...

God Renee.

I would do anything for my sister too.

The only thing worse than being dealt a crap hand, is being unhelped or unheard.

It's sometimes just too much.

I'm sending everybit of love and strength to you and Jacquie. I'd send my cell phone number too, if it would help.
I love you both.

Daria said...

Renee you are so right ... can't get off this damn road.

I've just getting over a couple of grumpy days ... so am behind reading blogs.

Hope you are well!

yoon see said...

Thanks for dropping Renee:)
Sorry to be here late.
I also don't like cancer but both my parents and many more friends & relatives passed away because of cancer.
I know how difficult it's with "C"
But you are always so brave. I salute you Renee. All my best wishes to you.
Happy day and it's still a day, sad day and it's still a day.
I hope the everyday is so special to you Renee.
You have so much to share and I always love your undying high spirit in everyday's life.

Last but not least My prayers continue to be with you and Jacquie:)

PBsArtStudio said...

There is so much truth and wisdom and heartfelt compassion in all you say! I can so tell you've been through so much and yet you continue to fight! So admirable! This is what i mean when I say God allows things for a reason, we may not understand and even think its cruel, but I feel a sweet and compassionate heart who can be the light in someones bleak world, God has a purpose for you and for all your going through and it is not fair, but you have acquired great wisdom in your trials!
Thank you for your sweet words!God bless ! Patti

Lisa Lectura Creations said...

Hi again Renee! Thanks so much for your sweet message! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Lisa :)

Debra said...

Yes I know on some level what you say. When my son was diagnosed it was hard seeing my nieces and nephews go on with their lives knowing my child might have drawn the wrong hand in this pitiful game of life. You are however fortunate to have had your family, and your sister has you.
I have been on the other side too. Where you try to be there, help and ask. You hear and understand, but not really because it isn't you going through it. Perhaps I can see both sides of his coin and try to realize it is difficult. We don't learn anymore to hang in there, to come together. So few have empathy, and because they are able to walk away they do. Here in the U.S. where our own government doesn't care about you, where you can live next to someone for ten years and not know their names, where families live miles apart we have lost the ability to empathize and invest in another person.
i hear your anger, I know it. It doesn't just happen in these situations, it is just the light is on and you cannot pretend everyone is there for you, it goes on and you find out it was only shadows and you are in the room alone.
I do not know what you and Jacquie are going through, but you don't have to have cancer to feel the pain of being alone. I am glad she has you, and her children. I am truly happy she has had some good news to help get her through some of the bad. I am here, even though I am not close. I will write if it helps. I will answer the call if she just wants to vent, I will listen. I cannot promise I will always be able to stop everything right now, but what I can do I will. I wish that was enough, it is all I have.
I know part of the "I'm fine" response is ones attempt to assure another, perhaps is is because we are tired of telling, maybe it is because we tune into the other person and want to reassure them, when really we need it more. I dont' know the answer Renee, it seems older generations were better they understood the need for each other. Sadly I think we all have forgotten this. I am here for you, I am here and if you would pass on Jacquie's address I would be happy to write, send a card, just let her know someone thinks of her and knows.

Javajune said...

Oh Renee, you explained something to me that I have wondered about for years. At the age of 18 I took care of my dying grandmother (breast cancer) and I never understood why she never complained. No matter how bad it got she always said that she was fine, I knew she wasn't but she insisted. A few days before she died we spent the day going thru catalogs ordering gifts all of her children and grand children- I think she knew that she wasn't going to be with us on Christmas day. After reading your post I finally understand why she said, "i'm just fine."
My love to you and Jacquee

rochambeau said...

Dear Renee and Jacquie,
You are warriors. I care for you both. I send prayers of comfort to you. May today shine bright with glimmers of hope. On the other side of this crap is beauty. The kind of beauty only a person can recognize that has sailed through rough waters.
Love to you both.
Don't forget there is a person you've never met that prays for you and sends you light.

Jaliya said...

(((hugging you)))

(((bowing to you)))

Renee, your words are circling my head like lucid, loving angels ...

You get inside our one human heart ... you recognize and affirm all that we all are ... and you tell a *wicked good* story!


(... a variation on the theme of "Times Three") xoxo

I'm going to print out your story and paste it into my journal and read, read, read it until I know it by heart.

You ... Jacquie ... your family ... are sooo loved ...

LDWatkins said...

I might as well be on the other side of the moon, but in spirit I pray for you and your family each day, and if you can love someone you've never met, I love you, and if you can know someone simply by reading of their pain, sorrow, laughter, hope and faith, then I know you. And you never have to say "I'm fine."

nollyposh said...

*kisses* You lead the way with ~Love~

BT said...

Renee, it is so hard to know what to say after such a heart rending post. You are not losers. Of course everyone has said that, but think of all you have given to us, your cyber friends. I have learnt so much from you about caring and giving and loving. I hope you and Jacquie believe that you are both winners. We love you. xxxxx