Sunday, March 2, 2008

Love Medicine

Here are snippets of a conversation I had today with Josie while the two of us were drawing pink castles.

Josie asked, "What if they give you love medicine? Will that make your cancer go away?"
"What's 'love medicine'?"
"You know! Love!"

There was a bit of Q&A with her about why my doctors can't make my cancer go away like other people we know with cancer who have been cured. At the end of our little chat, I asked, "So, do you think there's anything we can do about this cancer?"

She paused for a second, then said with certainty in her voice, "Love. We can love."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well............what to say "la"....I text Shin earlier...she's requested I share my text on her blog....feel a bit guilty as it IS HER BLOG! But I think I understand where shes coming from....? Then I had to consider WHERE to leave my comment......I have chosen "Love medicine" as actually Shins ENTIRE blog is about love isn't it?! So here goes.....my tale...I hope it helps to give yousome strength...........

2 things......

1. November 2001, 2 days after the birth of my darling daughter Harriet......I woke up blind.....no kidding...no warning signs.....just couldn't see....a series of tests.....went from brain tumours to bleeds....an MRI confirmed MS......I remember my comment to Graham (my husband) "but, what if I don't get to see my baby grow up....?" for those of you who know me you will know that I lost the same darling daughter 15months and 5 days later to SIDS.....so.....I didn'y and won't get to see her grow up.....in a different context.....BUT.....its important to remember...this comment refers to the physical body....memories and spirit continue to grow in everything around us and as such we are all so lucky to experience the power of love...the love that makes you all log on to this blog and read whats written....a love that will continue on in to the unknown with a power stronger than we can ever explain....

2nd
My illness meant Graham couldn't work....until it was under control we went through a roller coaster involving all sorts of new and unknown issues including complete paralysis from my waist down for 6 weeks at a time on several occasions........things as you can imagine were tough BUT.....we were rich.....we were able to give our family the condensed lovce that many can only dream of....that is TRUE WEALTH.....Sorry to rattle on....I am not sure if I am making any sense...I write because its important to Shin....I feel bad that I am writing in her blog but want to honour ALL of her wishes.....my advice to you ALL.....take 5 minutes.....just 5...now, think.....whats important...what makes you tick....why do you do ALL the things you do.....life is busy.....just take 5 minutes....embrace whats important......x LEIGH x

Anonymous said...

Oops in my terror and panic to meet Shins request to publish, I didn't read through what I wrote - apologies for all the typing errors....call myself a teacher........?!!!
Leigh x

Anonymous said...

PS - I don't mean rich as in $$$$$'s ;-)
Richness comes down to quality of life.....ALWAYS......money is NOTHING without love......

Shin said...

Leigh,

Thanks so much for sharing your story and a very personal experience with me and other readers of this Blog.

But I hope you're really not doing it because I've asked you to and you want to honor my every wish and whim. Just cuz I might die soon doesn't mean I get to have EVERYTHING I want. Besides, I might very well still be alive in five, ten years' time and you'll all be annoyed that you spoiled me rotten for so long!

Leigh, when I first met you and learned about your Multiple Sclerosis, losing your baby to SIDS, and a few other personal tragedies all at once, I thought my cancer was nothing compared to what you've been through.

And still, you're one of the most positive, cheerful, and hopeful people I know. How can that be?

I've learned so much from you about dignity and grace under trying circumstances. I think other readers of this Blog, and especially Josie and Toby, for whom I'm doing this Blog now, have a lot to learn from you.

So thanks for letting us in on your thoughts and feelings.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Don't panic ;-)
Induldge me...... have you ever thought maybe I am lourding it in the fact that FINALLY someone wants me to talk about my experiences?!!!
The world is a funny and sometimes cruel place.....so here goes "Miss Leigh" on another "rant" to explain further.....
2001-2004 were HUGE learning years for us all BUT especially for me....here are some of the situations I dealt with:-
One "blind" day, I was in Marks and Spencers....I wanted to but a bag of rocket salad...I MADE Graham stand outside the store because I WANTED TO DO IT! Sounds pathetic eh? It was SO important for me to feel I still had some worth, that I could still perform a "normal" task....the truth was...I COULDN'T.....I hadn't realised just how cruel human beings could be through ignorance too.....I found an assitant "Excuse me, could you show me where I can find rocket salad please" I am sure you understand that when you have limited vision one green bag looks like another.....the assistant "its right there in front of you...". Me...."Oh, sorry, I can't see which one is rocket" The assistant..........."Hmph for goodness sake...open your eyes young lady".........
In fairness she didn't know....no neon sign over my head....but it taught ME a lesson ....NEVER make assumptions....

THEN..........

When Harriet dies I became "infectious". Well, I can't describe it any other way! People I had known for years changed towards us.....only a few weeks previous I myself had had a conversation with my mother about how cot deaths were all a bit "suspicious" how children can't just "go to bed and not wake up" what a stupid conversation that was! AND at 15 months old its just a 1 in 650 (or similar figure) but someone had to be that 1......it was our darling.....
My best friend of several years.....stopped talking to me that day......never really understood why.....never any explanation even through fellow collegaues questioning...its thought that as she had had a young baby herself it was all too much to cope with....5 years on and I have not heard one word from her since.......that hurt :-(
Several parents at school with young babies would move away from me and group up "chatting" I felt alienated.
Then the classics..........
As many of you know I had at the time two other children at the time we lost Harriet - Frazer was 2 and a half. Amy was 11. I HAD to consider what the implications of Harriets passing would have on THEM. I had to consider how best to deal with it - to ensure THEY were not affected.....NOONE can tell you the best way....NOONE can even advise really but I think that somehow we succeeded in our case and they are both well rounded? We chose to try and make things as "normal" as we could for them.....it was a funny situation (not as in amusing) Amy was old enough for us to explain what had happened to Harriet. It was painful but she had some form of understanding of death so a bit "easier" than Frazer. His BEST friend....the little girl who he'd played so happily with just the night before had "disappeared" over night! If we said she was sick, would he worry if he got sick he too would "disappear"? If we said she "went to sleep and didn't wake up" would he panic every night he went to sleep ....?! Instead we decided to tell him she had gone to play with the angels....even now 5 years on he still asks why the angels won't let her come to play with him....I guess it wasn't really such a good explanation after all?! Still, he doesn't seem any worse off for the explanation so there it will stay for now! The day after she left us we had to pull ourselves up by the sruff of our necks.....the worst thing imaginable had happened to us as a family....the loss of someone so loved BUT life HAD to go on for those left behind. Maybe some of you reading this may think thats a dreadful statement BUT its true....we took the kids for a MacDonalds lunch...it what we probably would have done that Saturday if Harriet hadn't died.....I remember looking around me like I was in a glass bubble....noone knew what pain I was in.....everyone was happily going about their business? I then found myself wondering how many other people were thinking similar thoughts? Maybe they were being abused at home, divorcing, bankrupt, suffering ill health, loss....and so on...actually, we don't know do we? We just DON'T know what people are dealing with inside.....another lesson learned....I didn't eat but the children did...that felt good....made me happy to see them "almost normal" they knew something was VERY wrong but somehow "accepted it". Amys friends called her a liar when she told them at school on the Monday (yes! I DID send her in to school straight away!!!!) Someone had seen her at MacDonalds you see....you wouldn't have gone there if such a dreadful thing had happened would you...?!
Lastly for now my "bread story!" My release of anger I guess......
I went to the local shop to buy a loaf of bread...the cashier said "ohhhh, have you heard what happened?" in a daze I replied "huh?" the cashier ..."well......2 year old baby down the road...dead....in her cot....over night...dreadful goings on aren't there?!" I almost exploded "she was 15 months and 5 days ACTUALLY!" the cashier in her ignorance said "Ohhhhh, did you know the family then......." I could go on and on and on but it IS Shins blog!!!!!!! I guess what I am trying to say is what we as ignorant human beings think or feel isn't necessarily the same as those in the "difficult situation" try not to make assumptions about the way things pan out even if they do appear surreal......who can say whats right and whats wrong....BIG HUGS to you ALL and thank you to Shin for letting me waffle my cause..... Leigh x

Tony said...

Leigh,

Thanks for sharing your stories. I just wanted to say that it been on my mind how many nice, supportive things you have done for us, while I know you have been through so much yourself.

Also, I've thought of you when I've needed to solidify my own courage. I do get scared about having the strength to deal with a difficult end and at the same time be there for Josie and Toby. I have thought of you and resolved to face my families challanges as bravely as possible.

Tony

Anonymous said...

Dearest Tony..............
I am so pleased some of my experiences have helped support you when you have worries.....I hope that you truely know that I am ALWAYS here to listen, talk, share, guide and ANYTHING else that will help you all. 24/7. All situations are different BUT it goes without saying they can all be equally as painful and difficult to deal with alone.....Just having someone to bounce thoughts off helps some days when others you need to shout and cry.....I hope that you will understand my unconditional offer of an ear/shoulder is there for you. I haven't got your number but please get mine from Shin and text/phone WHENEVER you think you need to. I can't tell you.....or anyone else how you should deal with this....BUT I do know that sometimes it helps to be able to talk it through with someone slightly "removed". I was offered all types of "professional" help after we lost Harriet but chose not to go down that path (that said, its a personal decision and for some can be PRICELESSLY important). I didn't see how someone who had not BEEN in the same position and didn't know me, her or US could possibly help me! I decided instead to face the world head on and become a "befriender" someone who understood enough to "listen" and hopefully support....I don't know if I succeed? I'd like to think I do.......The one thing I am sure of is the love you have within your home will help support you more than anything or anyone can....each word, touch, thought will become a perfect memory....cherish every second, every smile, every glance.....embrace all you have with every sense. An idea....it may sound odd BUT it may be a "special memory" (the one thing I do know is that the "odd" things become the strongest memories..." get Shin to blind fold you all.....then get each of you to use your hand to trace her form with you hands at the same time....each of you telling the others what you feel, her hands, her lips, her SOUL.....it may sound like an odd thing to do but all of you will have a HUGE memory bank by doing it.....Hugs x Remember too..........its ok to be angry, sad, happy.....whatever you feel is RIGHT.....Love always Leigh x

Shin said...

Leigh,

1) Please stop apologizing for writing about yourself on my Blog. I know this is "Shin's Cancer Blog", but you're all sharing my ups and downs throughout this process; it's not just my story any more. And I don't want it to be. I already know my story. I'd like to hear yours. Your comments are helping many more people than just me.

2) I agree. Everyone has a story we can't see. When people are inconsiderate, rude, or insensitive, I force myself to make up a story about them. "That driver who just cut me off is not an inconsiderate shithead. He's just in a hurry because his wife has just gone into labor and he's rushing her to the hospital." I don't always succeed at this little game, but I keep trying. One day that shithead might be me trying to get to the hospital for my chemo appointment.

3) I'm very sad to hear about people treating you like an infection after you lost your baby. I can see where the fear and hesitation come from. Many people with cancer get that sort of treatment as well. I feel that same fear and hesitation and I'm a cancer patient myself. I can't stand seeing young children with chemo-bald heads. It makes me so sad, I have to force myself to smile when I want to cry. I say I don't want people to pity me, yet I find myself feeling pity for child cancer patients. But if I can discriminate against cancer patients when I myself am a cancer patient, I can cut other people some slack. So I won't hold it against any of my friends who might want to stay away from me. But I've been very lucky and I don't feel anyone's rejected me because of my cancer. Maybe I just haven't noticed...

Leighbee said...

Its because your personality shines through so strongly THEY have noticed ;-)

Leighbee said...

I am about to sound "doom and gloom" but I am NOT.......!

Just think sometimes the understanding of a "big picture" sometimes helps people understand WHO we are and WHY we are as we are (hope that makes some sense?!?!)

I come from a VERY small family all living in a VERY small village in England (well, obviously not now!!) I am the only child and my Mum has one sister. That sister had two children.....

Ten years ago one of those children (my cousin) went to the Dr with a pain in her shoulder...he said she had indigestion.....two days later, aged 40 years and a few days old, two major heart attacks and several strokes took her life. She left behind two children then 8and 12 and a husband who worshipped the ground she walked on......It was a tough time for EVERYONE. I tried to help.....the daughter in particular clung to me like I was a "big sister" and together we worked through the "difficult times". The first missed Birthdays, Christmas, the "birds and the bees" discussions (not sure I was much good at that as she fell pregnant at 18!) her pregnancy/birth and her anger when "Dad" started "dating".... All that information is a bit irrelevant I guess but I just want people to know a bit more about what make me ME! I am noone special....just have had more than the "normal" persons experiences of "rot"!! Actually, I am now sat he laughing, thinking of all the doom I am writing...! Its ok though....its whats moulded me....I like to think its made me a good person? Strong and hopefully someone who tries not to "condemn"? Its not always easy to see good in all as Shins rightfully said but I think its healthy to at least try?!

I hope that one day, Josie and toby will read this and not see the words of a "mad woman" but those of a well rounded and considering individual who hopes just a little of her love for them will shine through in to their futures.....xxx I am so proud to be part of your lives. Thank you for letting me in. x