The Loneliness of Cancer

I am by nature an optimist. I am strong. I usually keep the sadness of myself to myself. I tell you that I'm not terminal and that I believe a cure will be found in time. I so want that to be true. I have Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Today I write about a subject that I don't often speak of, nor even give into its darkness very often. Today I am lonely. I wonder how many of you who also have Stage IV Cancer are lonely. I can't be alone.

I know I have my friends and my family who love me. They would do anything I needed them to do. All I need to do is ask. But, they really do not understand how alone someone with cancer can often be. I suppose they can't. I suppose only those of us with it can. I suppose that's true of any terminal illness. The thoughts I sometimes have at night in the dark as I lay down for bed are not optimistic at all. They are sometimes very sad. I cry. But, I do it when I'm alone.

There... I admit it. I'm human.

I am single by choice and the mother of three. I have two grown daughters, who I am so very proud of, and I have a son with autism; all of whom still live at home. Part of me wants my girls to fly and part of me wants to keep them close to me as long as I can because even though I fight this disease along with my optimism, today's reality says that this cancer will kill me.

Even though I write about breast cancer now being treated as a "chronic disease" again, today's reality says that this cancer will kill me. I push those thoughts to the furthest part in the back of my mind and stay busy living. I tell myself and others that I have no time for cancer. My son needs me. Nobody can take care of him like I can. I'm just too damn busy for this stuff. I need a job. Focus Lisa.

I tell myself I will run again. I'm back to the gym almost every day and as I push myself on the elliptical (that's all I'm presently allowed to do because metastatic cancer ate my pelvic bone last fall), I look at the faces of the young and strong partly wondering why I'm there and partly thinking that not one of them knows what's wrong with me. They just look at me like I need to lose a few pounds (which I do). Again, I feel alone.

I want to date because I want to live. I now doubt the existence of a future mate because I now doubt the existence of a future. If I doubt a future, what's to keep a potential mate from doing the same and steering clear of me? Again, I feel alone.

I'm jealous of so many. I want what I perceive them to have. I want a future. I want grandchildren, I want a career, I want a cure (or at least a better... as in cannabis... treatment) for autism. I want the cure for my cancer. In those regards, I am not alone. I just don't know if I'll get them. I know... nobody knows.

There are two sides to most issues, this one included. I'm not sure whether it's good to know how real my mortality is or not. On one hand, I get to embrace each day and not take for granted those who I might otherwise do so if I too were among the unknowing. I get to at least try harder to empty my bucket list. On the other hand, I see the end. I see my children's world without me much earlier than I would like to see. I worry more each day about my son. I have yet to see his wings.

I sometimes wonder would it not be better to die a quick death. There are no thoughts of future pain, suffering, withering and dying. Bam! It's over I think: How easy that would be? I know it wouldn't be for those left behind, but on the actuality of person dying, it just might be.

I sometimes long for the opportunity to really grow old (with someone). I wouldn't do it gracefully, but I would like the opportunity just the same.

There have been so many of you who have told me that I'm an inspiration. I thank you for that. Today, I inspire no one. I'm sorry. Today... it's dark, it's raining and I feel the loneliness of my cancer.

I'll be back tomorrow.

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