Sunday, May 13, 2012

Birthday Wish for Myself

I have been neglecting things.

My writing, my students, my friends, my family - they have all managed to slip just beyond my outstretched fingertips...

I wish I could  tell you why. But I can't.

Sometimes I feel like I hear a kitchen timer in my heart, ticking down the days - hours - seconds until my next surgery (which has been scheduled for July), or my next MRI or CT or TVU - or any other medical acronym that brings with it paper gowns and poisoned injections.

My baby sister is becoming a doctor. She has finished 2 years of medical school and is studying for the boards. Tomorrow, her big sister turns 38 and I'm still sick.

I wish I could be positive. But I can't.

Sometimes you grow tired of having to see "the bright side" of things all the time, and just want people to let you sit quietly alone in the rain. Teachers and cancer survivors don't really get to have bad days ...  people tend to look to them for reassurances that their own lives will turn out fine. It's a role I'm usually very proud of, and pretty good at... but not lately.

I know that it is important to actually go through things - not just around them. Guess I'm just trying to get through things the best I know how.

Joseph Campbell said "Life is without meaning. You bring meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning." The fact that I can take a breath on my 38th birthday is in some ways the biggest testament to my life and it's meaning. So my wish for myself is to breath a little more deeply and little more peacefully in the future.


  1. I can relate to so much of what you've written here...especially lately as I've struggled with my own challenges, some health-related, others not. I often hear that kitchen timer ticking, like now, when my scans are a month away and I'm wondering if this time, things will change. And even though there usually is a bright side, and I'm grateful to have survived, there are times when I just want to sit and acknowledge that in THIS moment, things just kinda suck. I know we get through it, and you will get through this, whatever it is you're going through.

    Wishing you a Happy Birthday and hoping that you find that peace and calm you seek.


    P.S. That Joseph Campbell quote is one of my favorites...I know it's scrawled in an old journal somewhere, so it was a nice reminder to read it here today.

  2. Marlena, I too can so relate to what you have written. I go for my check up on Friday, and I feel like the other shoe is going to drop. Our stories mirror each other so much- I turn 39 in 2 weeks, I had a tumor in my appendix diagnosed 2 years ago in August, etc. etc. I have learned a lot from reading here, and it has helped me through some dark times. The verse I carried with me during the worst time was "He heals the broken hearted and Binds up their wounds." I meditated on that verse constantly- maybe it can help you through this weird tick-tock time. Have a wonderful, wonderful birthday! Enjoy yourself and let Gary pamper you:)
    PS- Stephanie said some pretty awesome stuff too.

  3. Dear Marlena,
    Happy Birthday week!
    This blog, your posts have given me so much comfort,hope and support.
    Thank you!
    It seems you, Stephanie,Regan and I (and I'm sure several others) are going through similar times. I don't want to write that everything will be better because I don't know but what I know is that today, hopefully, you, Stephanie, Regan and I all saw another sunrise, got to say good morning to the people we love and this despite the health challenges. That's already pretty amazing
    Thinking of you!
    Annie Q.

  4. Dear Marlena,
    I keep thinking about you and what you wrote in your latest post.
    It's too easy to say "Stay positive".
    I don't know if it does any good in saying "I'm sending positive thoughts your way."
    I don't know exactly the reason for your surgery in July but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    I feel stronger and less alone in my condition because of your blog so, again, thank you!
    Annie Q.

  5. Thank you so much for the kind words and strong support. Sometimes it's easy to feel alone... you help me fight that. What a wonderful birthday blessing to have such wonderful thoughts and wishes come my way.