Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tough One

I went to my cancer support group last night.  Even though it has been over three years since my surgery, I still go on occasion.  Mostly, to see how other people in the group are doing, and sometimes not too often, I still need some support.  And whenever I do go, for whatever the reason, I feel better after attending.  Not necessarily because I leave in a good mood or happy.  Hardly -- we cover pretty  heavy stuff.  But because going "centers" me.  It refocuses me on what's important, it takes me back where I was when I was going through treatment, when all I was doing was trying to do was to get healthy again.  And in terms of viewing priorities and life from the perspective of someone battling cancer, that's a good thing.  Whatever petty concerns were occupying my mind beforehand I'm not even thinking about when I walk out of there. 

I didn't have much to say at last night's meeting other than to relate my experiences attending the United Ostomy Assocations of America (UOAA) national conference in Jacksonville two weekends ago.  Particularly, the talk on dating and intimacy (OK, sex) with a stoma I attended.  It was good to hear others tell their stories about the physical, emotional (and yes, logistical) impacts of having a stoma on dating and sex, as it's something I've struggled with myself.  Especially since recently having met a smart, funny and attractive woman I was very drawn to, and where there were definitely sparks, only to have it completely fall apart right after I shared the news about my stoma.  ("Oh no, this [the ending of things] isn't about *that* [your cancer / stoma] at all."  Right.  I've heard it before.  When someone says "It's not you, it's me", trust me.  It's usually you.).  Probably a good sign she wasn't the one, but still ... disappointing.

Anyways, this group session was a tough one.  Two people who I've been seeing at group over the past few years had some pretty tough news to share.  Out of respect for them, I won't go into the details.

After a meeting like last night, I think it'll be awhile before I go again.  Each person is given an opportunity to talk, and my news is generally pretty positive compared to people who have just been diagnosed, are battling treatment, or have dealing with the news of a recurrence.  "Health is good, I still like my new job, I have more time to enjoy life.  Did I mention I was in a calendar? ... blah, blah, blah."  Then the next person relates how they don't have any treatment options left and that time is running out.  I feel like a heel.  I think there's a point where it still makes sense to attend as you're coming out of treatment, and are on the upswing, but once you're reached a steady state and things have "returned to normal" (or "new normal"), it's time to move on.  I can keep up my relationships with the people I've met and care about in that group separate from attending those sessions.

So that's what's on my mind this morning.  I wish I could keep this feeling of being refocused for a bit, but I'm sure that in a few hours when I log on at work and open my email, there'll be a bunch of work worries that will seem terribly important and urgent and to which I'll give my full attention.  After trying my best to stay on top of things, I'll come home, tired, try to catch up on personal things and then I'll wake up tomorrow feeling a little less centered and go through the routine again.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hey Gang!

Hey gang! 

Just a quick note to say that yes, I am still alive (I'm still all "NED"), and no this blog isn't dead yet.   I've been keeping  busy with work and doing a fair bit of traveling (some work, some play, some colon stuff).  That doesn't mean I don't have anything to say or report.  I do.  I just haven't taken the time to put down my thoughts.  Next weekend (my birthday weekend), I'm taking the train from Portland to Milwaukee (a cross-country train ride is something I've always wanted to do) for my birthday, and plan on catching up on the blog then.