Abigail’s series is drawing to a close, but I want to thank her for educating us about terminal cancer. Many non-terminal cancer patients take drugs to limit their estrogen. I am one of them. I thought I had none left, but I was wrong. The little bit that I had promoted my cancer to grow.
Men, remember what you used to be able to blame on a woman’s hormones? Read on to find out what happens when women DON’T have hormones surging through their bodies.
Estrogen. It’s a hormone that I never really paid attention to until I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Because my subtype is hormone positive, that means my subtype is fueled by hormones. The hormones that fuel my cancer are estrogen and progesterone. So, as soon as possible after I began treatment, my doctor took steps to limit the amount of estrogen in my body. This happened with chemo, the hormone suppressing medication I took during chemo, the aromatase inhibitors I still take, and the radical hysterectomy I had in September of 2017. Radical just means they took everything out — cervix, ovaries, tubes, uterus — all the lady parts.
The result … well, estrogen is related to a lot of organs and bodily functions.
If you follow Always Write on a regular basis, then you will know that I am reblogging Abigail Johnston’s posts on her blog, No Half Measures this month for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM).
I asked how I could help, and that was one way I could help out, even though my reblogging button is not working now. This article has five wonderfully helpful tips for assisting those who are sick. so you don’t have to trip over your two left feet thinking up ways to be gracious. And now to Abigail…
“What Can I Do to Help?”
Those of us who are terminally ill often hear — what can I do to help? For all of you who are wondering how to help, read on …
Know first that it’s very hard for people to ask for help in general. I had to force myself as it did not come easy to me. I’ve always been super independent and wanted to manage without help but like I said before, it takes a village and help is always needed.
So instead of asking how can I help, be specific about what you want to help with and when.
1. EVERYDAY LIFE – Tasks like childcare, grocery run, rides, meals, other type of errands is always helpful. Ask specifically how to help with each task.
2. GOOD COMPANY – Join for hospital visits, doctors appointments, hang out while in treatment; although covid makes all this hard right now. Being a patient, always, for the rest of your life is so boring so making a fun day out of it with a friend helps a lot. Continue reading
Most of us who have or have had breast cancer, especially if we are older when we are diagnosed, do not have to face Stage IV. But shouldn’t more be done for those lovely young women whose cancer has spread and they have no hope or seeing their children grow up? For husbands who have to mourn the loss of their spouse, support their children, and raise them all by themselves? For the children who lose the most important woman in their lives?
Today, if you are a praying person, please designate some time to remember these young women. Share Abigail’s post. Click on her links. Tell her that her life matters.
I tried reblogging this post, but the button didn’t work, so bear with me as I do this the old fashioned cut and paste way.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month Day 13
by Abigail Johnston
Today is the ONE day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month allocated to those of us who are Stage IV. When I was diagnosed, I was astonished to learn that we get one day. We are dying 365 days of the year, 24/7, and we get ONE day in all of October?!
Frankly, it feels like just one more slight, one more way that the powers that be can sideline those of us who are the elephant in the room. By being present, we remind everyone of their mortality. By being present at the table when breast cancer is discussed, we remind those who want to categorize breast cancer as the easy cancer, that there is a dark side. By being vocal, we make lots of people uncomfortable. By asking that someone pay attention, we force others to be reminded of their own mortality.
Thank you so much for writing this guest post about your blogging journey for publication on Always Write. As part of the hobby blogger community, come in and sit down at the table.
Enjoy some of my husband’s special blend of coffee, tea, or blended mocha and one of my hot chocolate chip cookies.
Leanne shares how she takes a “proactive approach” to life to prevent becoming “invisible and irrelevant.” Her post reminds us that it is good to assess and redefine our lives NOW – no matter how old we are. Let’s listen in to her SYMPHONY.
My Midlife Symphony
Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Marsha for inviting me to be a guest on her lovely blog. I met Marsha through our blogging friend Erica and a post about writing a 4 sentence eulogy (yes a weird but wonderful encounter!) On a different note, today I’d like to share my journey into creating my Midlife Symphony, and the joy it’s brought with it.
I started blogging six years ago – I was in my early 50’s and feeling like life was a bit blah. I think it was dawning on me that I was hitting the second half of life and I needed to become more proactive in preventing a slide downhill into feeling invisible and irrelevant. Blogging introduced me to an amazing new world full of interesting women (and a few men) who wrote about living their lives with purpose and positivity – they were thriving and embracing getting older – I loved that, and hopefully now I’ve become one of them.
I also heard about the idea of choosing a Word of the Year rather than making a New Year’s resolution and it’s been something I’ve embraced every January for the past 5 years. Sometimes my #WOTY just leaps out and other times it can take a while to arrive. This year I struggled with finding a word that encapsulated what I was feeling – basically I wanted something that said “Life’s short – make the most of every moment” and finally at the last moment it dawned on me that the quote I’d been using as my desktop background summed up beautifully what I was trying to get at and it was encapsulated by the very last word – SYMPHONY.
The quote was by William Henry Channing and goes like this:
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
It articulated perfectly all that I’d been gradually moving towards over the last five years – a life of contentment and appreciation, needing less, slowing down, focusing on what brings joy, and living on my own terms rather than how I thought others wanted me to be.
I finished work last year and spent many months recovering from the toxic environment I’d been dealing with. I realized I didn’t want to work any longer, I was happy with what we had – living frugally had paid off and we were debt free with no desire to amass more “stuff”. What I wanted to focus my attention on was making the most of the time I have left – investing in relationships, sinking my roots in deep, becoming a wise woman with a deep soul, and just being at peace with myself and the world around me. The quote spoke to me on so many levels, and it’s become my Midlife Symphony – the perfect direction for 2020.
ENJOYING ALL THE NOTES
So far this year has had a lot of ups and downs, the low notes included a pandemic that came in and turned our lives upside down, we’ve seen rioting and politics rampaging across the globe, financial failings, greedy hoarding, and social media in-fighting – sometimes I think we all wonder what’s going on? But through it all, there are still so many high notes – I loved the community’s response to lockdown, teddies, rainbows, goodwill, singing, offers of help, government assistance, donations, appreciation of care workers, and so much more. People stepped up during the crisis and that makes my heart happy.
This quote from Albert Camus always reminds me that the world around us can be looking pretty grim, but we always have within us the ability to choose happiness.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
I like to think that my Symphony is all about choosing Summer every day despite the turmoil around me, about finding joy and living my best life right now in a calm and measured fashion. It’s about being true to myself and authentic in everything, and of course, shining my light and bringing some sunshine into the lives of others.
SHARING MY OPUS
When I started writing about how I wanted my Symphony to play out, I thought about all the other women out there who were also making the most of Midlife and I decided to invite anyone who was interested in sharing their story to write a guest post for me. In the six months that I hosted my Midlife Symphony guest series I had 15 guest posts (even one brave bloke put his hand up!) and they’ve added so much variety and interest to my blog this year.
I feel like we’re all part of this second half of life orchestra and the notes resonate more perfectly because of that. I hope for each one of us, Midlife is all about caring, sharing, and becoming our best selves, and ultimately we’ll leave a legacy that reflects our own unique Symphony because you really can’t ask for much more than that.
BIO and Links
Leanne lives in the beautiful southwest of Western Australia. She spends way too much of her spare time blogging about the highlights of Midlife at Cresting the Hill and shares the rest of her leisure time with her husband and two cats. Her two adult children have grown and flown, married and settled in the city, with an empty nest consolation prize of two delightful grandgirls to keep her young and on her toes.
When new people visit your blog, you may find a treasure when you return the favor. Thank you Dr. Perry for visiting Always Write.
You may have suffered from Narcissistic Abuse and thought something was wrong with you. Dr. Perry shares some important characteristics and solutions to help you deal with a difficult person in your life.
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