Sunday, February 13, 2011

You Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone...  
Joni Mitchell   

When I was approximately 12 to 13 years old I could never have imagined losing anything.  The fact was I was gaining something new, it seemed, nearly every day.  And dumb me, I wasn't ready for these changes.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that now, but it's true.  Twiggy was just so IN back then.  All the IN clothes were designed to fit a skinny boyish girl with huge eyes, pouty lips, and a pixie haircut.  She was British.  She was perfect.  I can't even begin to tell you how desperately I wanted to be Twiggy.  The only people who knew this fact about me were my sister Susan, and my three best friends Anne, Jane and Frances.  My Susan and Anne didn't have to work real hard to look perfect in Twiggy clothes.  Jane was comfortable just as she was.  My friend Frances was blossoming about as quickly as I was.  She and I commiserated in secret and plotted how to stop this unwanted growth.  We tried Ace Bandages wrapped tightly around our chests before we went to sleep at night.  That worked about as good as putting a brick on the head of a toddler to stop him from growing taller (A stupid people trick -- do not try this at home).   

My good friend Frances is no longer here on this earth for me to laugh about this with.  But I'll bet she'd have a few interesting and comical things to say to me now, if she could.  As I look at the long purple scar that runs across my sunk-in and flat chest, I'd give anything to hear your voice now, Fran.  Bet I'd laugh and I'd really love to laugh right now because I really miss what used to be.  How could I have known I would eventually get my Twiggy wish -- only now it's 44 years later and Twiggy is not the IN British model anymore.

Dwain lost his good childhood friend Tom about 7 years ago.  He was Dwain's commiserating friend.  I was shocked about how they would hee-haw on the phone all the time about the most serious things.  And it was usually Tom who would see these things with such a dark sense of humor.  He did not hesitate to share his observations.  His wife, Susan, e-mailed us recently.  

Megan, I knew you were tough, now I know how tough. Do you remember when Johnny Nichols cut off his finger and what Tom suggested he do with it? I remember the total silence on the other end of the phone when Tom told him he should make it into a key chain!! There's no telling what he would come up with for you. All my good thoughts and prayers are with you. I've always been told that suffering brings character. Your will be HUGE after this! Hang in there and all will be well.

Love,  Susan 

See what I mean about Tom's sense of humor?  Well, Tom and Frances knew each other very well, so I'm guessing they are having the time of their lives right now in Heaven playing practical jokes on us. Tom was never the type to let anyone feel sorry for themselves.  But Tom, I have my days.  Okay?  So  do your stuff.  Cheer me up.  What would you come up with for me right now?

I've come to realize that although I've lost my hair, it will come back.  But I want it back right now.  I want my life back.  I just want to go on and be ME.  I want to run and play and sing and dance and cook and clean and go to work and walk my dog and be creative every day.  When you're on chemo, you never know how you're going to feel.  Sure you can plan things, but don't depend on them real hard because you may be sick and nauseated.  Your resistance may be lower than low.  You may be exhausted beyond explanation.  You might look like utter hell no matter what you do to improve the situation.

Last fall  before... I guess our lives will always be before breast cancer or after breast cancer... Dwain secured tickets for us to see a musical group that we simply adore; The Chieftains.  They are from Ireland, but not a rock and roll band, although they've shared their stage with more famous rock and roll performers than I can name.  If you've never seen them, you can look them up on You Tube. If you click here, you can see them perform Raglan Rose with Van Morrison.  I wouldn't know how to begin to describe them.  They are going to be in Fayetteville at the Walton Art's Center on Sunday, February 27.  I have my third chemo on February 25.  It would be ridiculous to even try to go, given the past history of how I react to chemo and how unbelievably exhausted I'd be before the concert even started.  This just breaks my heart so much that I could cry.  This is but one example of how we joyfully planned ahead...  

I don't want to have cancer.  I don't like to admit that I feel sorry for myself.   But it's a fact, I do. 

I know that I was just a silly teenager back then, but why did I wished for something that I was never meant to be?   Now I miss those cumbersome things that used to stick out of my chest.  I miss my previous life that I soooo took for granted.  

Like Joni Mitchell said in her song Big Yellow Taxi:  A big yellow taxi came and took away my innocence [except in her song she said, A big yellow taxi came and took away my old man].  Don't it always seem to go, you don't know how much you've got til it's gone?

*Note:  For anyone reading this, please know that I'm not sinking into some sort of unhealthy depression.  I just want anyone who is going through this to know that it's bound to happen, this grieving over the unexpected trauma you've been through.  It's a lot to take in. 


  1. I love you my very tough wife. And like you, this is excruciating, seeing you in such pain and unable to do anything. One day up, the next day down. Thanks for picking me for your partner, and for all the fond memories we share of Fran and Tom.

  2. Parts of me are laughing, other parts sighing, and other part of me are just plain old crying for you and with you. Megan, I just love this post. It's just plain honest -- the way it is with no pink ribbons, drum rolls, pep talks, and fake smiles. I didn't like the way I looked as a teen either. I was way too tall, too skinny, had to stuff my AA bra, and wished I could just be "normal." It took me 63 years to figure out there is no normal in life. None of us walks the same path or puts our steps exactly in the steps of someone else. But we still try, don't we?

    You must be smarter than me, as I didn't figure it out that there is a "before cancer" and an "after cancer" until "after" happened. And I hate to tell you, life doesn't get back to "normal" --- at least, not the same "normal" that it used to be in the "before" life. I had a really hard time with that. Getting through the chemo, radiation and surgery was an all-consuming thing, and I hate to say it, but it was "all about ME!" And as it should be with you, too. But all of a sudden, the Dr. says, "great, you made it through! It's over. See you in 3 months!" And you are supposed to be happy, celebrate, and go back and pick up where you left off in the "before" life. That was harder than all the chemo stufff!!!!! It took time, but as I gained strength and realized that it would take way more than chemo and radiation to kill me, I slowly regained some sense of "normal" again. I can agree with you --- I wasn't depressed ---- just a little lost in a whole new world that I knew nothing about.

    I loved your comments about the dark sided humor! I kind of have a little of that and have been known to laugh hysterically at inappropriate times, so I understand completely.

    Wow! I just keep on rambling here, don't I!!! Just know that you are sooooooo normal and I love it!

  3. Megan, I so admire your courage in sharing your feelings so honestly. Of course you feel sad ... of COURSE you are mourning the losses you are having to go through, not only the physical losses, but the loss of your "normal" life, the loss of your good health, at least for a time. If you didn't feel sad sometimes, there would be something wrong with you! You express your feelings so vividly. Thank you for sharing them with us. Maybe it helps to let us carry a little bit of your sorrow for you.
    God bless you, my friend.
    One of my favorite prayers is one I heard a sweet old man in Mississippi pray before a county board meeting a long time ago: "Lord, build us up where we's broken down, and strengthen us where we's weak."
    That's my prayer for you - and Dwain - tonight.

  4. Grieving someone or something is the first step in acceptance upon which you can then move on. Someday...a long way down the road you won't think of "before cancer" and "afer cancer" will go on and your life will take on new likes, loves, desires and yes, other tragedies. But you know this....go on and grieve my's perfectly healthy. P.S. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Chieftains!!!

  5. Dang-it. That really, really sucks. I wish I had the power to make the Chieftains come to your house and sing just for you and Dwain. That would be awesome!
    And I don't know what to think about that stupid wish.That really freaks me out! I've made hundreds of wishes that if they came true today, it would be horrible! Should I pray that NONE of my wishes came true just to be on the safe side?
    No I guess that would be silly. But the wish I have for you right now is the same prayer I'm sending up for myself. Which is: Give me more strength to help me make it through the rest of this crap because I'm getting tired and it's getting hard. And please Lord, don't make it worse than it already is, cause right now it sucks enough.
    Hey, I got to be honest, right? I have decided when I talk to Him, I'm going to be more "tell it like it is".Ever since I got upset and told God he better make up his mind about Grand daddy, I've decided that it's better to talk to God in a more matter of fact way. No more choosing how I plan to say it. I'm just going to say it how I feel it.He can hear my heart. God knows me enough by now to know what I mean. It's totally okay to have a bad day, mom. If you didn't break down and be sad or angry about this now and then, I might think your liking this and nobody is that weird. Be mad! Throw the pillows! Be sad. Grab the pillows off the floor and cry into them. It's totally okay. I'm here if you want to talk. I'm here if you want to yell too :-) You can't say anything that's going to make me not like you anymore because I already love you.
    P.S. A key chain? Really? That's super gross.

  6. Sorry to hear that you have been so nauseated, there is nothing worse. I've been doing pretty good with that, I'm just so tired. Your new comforter and heated mattress cover sound wonderful. I've been having the hotflashes from hell. I'm talking dripping wet, I hate it. Then when you kick all the covers off you just freeze. It's crazy how this poison affects our bodies. I love the shirt, that is hysterical. Hang in there girl, we can do it. Think about you all the time.