Saturday, October 27, 2012


I recently got the nicest compliment from one of my dear internet friends on my great attitude. I mention that she's an internet friend not to suggest that she's any less of a "real" friend, but to point out that the only parts of me she sees are the ones I post online. I try to be honest in what I post; that is to say, I would never post anything, about myself or about anyone else, that I know to be untrue.

But let's face it: most of us don't post our WHOLE lives online.There are certain things we avoid posting, in order to avoid upsetting others, or to avoid making ourselves look bad. Given the choice between two pictures to use as our profile pic, we pick the more flattering one. So perhaps my friend, who was so impressed by my positive attitude, wasn't getting the whole picture.

The thing is, for about a week after my diagnosis, my attitude really was great. I knew I had cancer. I knew, give the type of cancer I have, that it could end badly. Yet I was okay. I wasn't bitter, recognizing that bad things happen to everyone at some time. I prayed to St. Paraskevi and St. Lucy for intercession. I felt that no matter what happens, even if this cancer kills me, that things would be okay. I reflected on the blessings: proximity to a world-class hospital, medical insurance, the fact that our move was completed by the time I found all this out. I felt really, really good.

And then I didn't.

One day, in the midst of reading a note from a friend, my great attitude deflated like a souffle. Who knows why. It wasn't that the note said anything particularly upsetting or offensive, or in fact, terribly different from other notes I had received. But my visceral response to one line of it was, "Well, fuck you." Which wasn't fair, because I had been thinking the exact same thoughts to myself minutes before I opened the note, but when someone else admonished me so...not interested. (Kind of like when I look in the laundry room and think, "I have GOT to deal with that mess," but when my husband suggests, as politely as possible, that I think about getting to the laundry room, I get my back up and suddenly remember several pressing episodes of "Designing Women" that need watching while I eat a bag of cheese curls.)

So anyhow. My lovely attitude evaporated, and I was left with horrible, mean little me. Several of the less attractive stages of grief descended on me at once, pummeling me with their tiny, scaly fists. Anger, and Depression, and even Bargaining, during which I suggested to God several people whom he might more profitably afflict with eye tumors. I won't pretend Ann Coulter's name didn't come up.

I took to my couch with a bag of Halloween candy and a blanket and watched TV for the rest of the afternoon, which was restorative. I prayed a little, though not especially coherently.

My attitude is better now. No longer fabulously serene, but not angry or sad, either. Just waiting for my appointment on Tuesday, waiting to figure out what's next. And then to go and do it.


  1. You're welcome to tell me to fuck off at anytime, Becki because 1. I know you well enough that you don't really mean it/ it's only temporary + 2. because if you don't feel like that every once in a while then you're just not human. Not expressing the negative sides of our personalities every once in a while is actually detrimental to your health. You know the volatile household I frequently reside in. I'll take your periodic "fuck you" any day...

  2. I think the odds of me saying such a thing to you are pretty long. But I appreciate your willingness to hear it.

  3. Becki - I love your honesty and humor and anger. I don't like eye cancer. Or any cancer for that matter. The fact that you are willing to share these thoughts and feelings (well...maybe not ALL of your thoughts) is so refreshing. You remain in my thoughts and prayers and I pray that Tuesday gets here fast!

  4. Thanks. One of the things some of my friends with cancer have struggled with is not being so angry or depressed that they turn people off. I don't want to turn people off, either.

  5. Girl. Let it out. I can't tell you how many times I think, and sometimes say, fuck you cancer. Like once a week. It feels so good.
    And let's be honest, we all have bad attitude moments - cancer or not. You're human and you're allowed to not be in a good mood all the time.
    Sometimes, you will turn people off. Sometimes, people will be shocked at your bad mood or your willingness to not embrace something do with cancer that they feel you should. It will happen. And it sucks. And you're right, it often feels as if you are walking a fine line between saying what you need to say and yet not offending/pissing off/upsetting/hurting others. But I would say, at the end of the day, you have to have a couple people who can you let it all out on ... kind of like the friend you can complain about your husband too - where you know they know he's really an awesome guy, but sometimes he will tick you off and you will rant like he's the worst husband to ever live, but then you feel better and you can love him again and you need your friend to forget all the bad you just said because your husband really is awesome and you don't want your friend to hold anything you've just ranted about against him? {I hope that made even an ounce of sense to you lol!} Yeah. You need that for cancer too.
    Also? I know you have lots of ears to listen, but mine is also here for you.