, , , , ,

I rarely notice when someone comments on my blog, probably because it’s rare that anyone does. But a few days ago, I came across a comment that a lady had left on one of my posts. And I’ve been thinking about my response since. I have no idea whether Kathy from SC was a one-time visitor, or if she’ll even see this response… but I’m posting it just in case she’s reading.

Dear Kathy in SC –

I want to begin by thanking you. This blog was started so that I could be honest…. not necessarily right, but honest. And today I read your comment, and I realized that you are right.

Am I bitter? Yes.
Am I angry? Yes.
Am I writing sweeping generalizations that are often more emotional than factual? Yes.
Was triple-neg a death sentence for my mother? Yes.
Will it be for you? God, I hope not.

Your comment made me realize that through my anger, and my desire to lash out at cancer (and everything else), I have become what I hated so much. I have become an “HCP” – a hope-crushing pagan. When I was on the other side of the fence, where you are now, I loathed, and despised the “haters”… the hope-crushers who looked at me with those sad, sad eyes that said “oh poor little girl, her mama’s gonna die.” My mother had cancer… but she also had hope. She never stopped believing that she would be healed. I didn’t either. I never, truly, in my heart, believed it would happen. I too was in touch with those ladies who were 3, 5, 9 years out. I too read the statistics showing that if Mama could just make it five years, her chances of reoccurance would drop dramatically. I too felt hopeful when I read these, and I shared them with my family. So when she died, it was devastating on every level.

In the wise words of Sue, my 20 (going on 100)-yr-old sister, everyone has an “experience” and it’s through these experiences that we form our outlooks and opinions. My family and I had a horrific experience with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer that has colored my views. In the last 6-9 months, I’ve been more bitter, more cynical, more emotionally detached, than ever before. This blog reflects that – I’ve been told that there’s a change in my writing since I began in Sept-2006.

My sisters and father, who, like me, are also sad and lonely and angry, don’t agree that I’m an HCP. They think that I’m just mad at cancer, just as a person whose mother was killed by a drunk driver would hate drunk driving, or a person whose mother was murdered might hate the killer. And that’s true too. The lovely thing about all of this is that there’s no right or wrong way to feel… there are only right or wrong “facts,” and you’re right. I mis-stated and overgeneralized the prognoses of those with triple negative breast cancer.

For months after my mom’s rediagnosis, I wore a bracelet reading “Believe for Denise” and only took it off when my mother died. I would never want you to stop believing. My mother, Sarah Denise, used to say “where there’s life, there’s hope.” Please accept my apology for the hurt/discouragement/anger/frustratration that my post may have caused you. I know that I’ll never be where you are again – where I believe that chemo does what it’s intended to do, and when someone is pronounced “cancer-free,” they actually are. But I’m working my way back to a more positive place, and you’ve helped me take a giant step.

So thank you.