my Breast Cancer blog

2004, age 34 — this is my story

It could be worse

jt-aug-2008-034.JPGJoey's new mantra: It could be worse. He uses it to excuse his questionable behavior—like when he was playing at the dinner table recently, waving his arms all around like we tell him not to do, and he knocked over his cup of milk. "It could be worse," he announced after locking eyes with my frustrated gaze. Not exactly my preferred response—"I'm sorry, mom, I know I shouldn't have been horsing around and it won't happen again" would have been my pick—but hey, the kid is seven. How much can I expect, really? Besides, he's right. It could be worse.

Sometimes Joey is wise beyond his years. The kid always gives me something to think about. Once Joey told his dad about the grandfather he never knew (he died before Joey was even born): "Don't worry that your dad can't see you anymore. He's in the sky now and the clouds are his eyes." He told me three years ago that cancer is "medicine and love." Pretty good way to sum it up—I got lots of medicine and lots of love. I'm not sure in hindsight that I'd describe it much differently.

It could be worse. I keep thinking about this and realizing Joey is right on with this perspective.

Back to cancer.

I found a lump—early. It could have been worse. It could have spread. It could have been larger.

I had a lumpectomy. It could have been worse. I could have had a mastectomy.

I had chemo, and it made me sick. It could have been worse. My cancer could have been so bad chemo wouldn't have worked.

I was hospitalized twice during treatment. It could have been worse. I could have been hospitalized three, four, five times.

I had radiation, and my skin burned slightly. It could have been worse. My skin could have been left sizzled and scorched. I could have been in pain. I wasn't.

I had more drug therapy. It could have been worse. I could have been a non-candidate for the treatment (Herceptin), which could be the very thing saving my life.

I went to counseling for more than one year and took an anti-depressant too. It could have been worse. I could have denied these forms of help and could be battling depression and anxiety at this very moment. I'm not. I'm happy.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift. I hope you get how this applies to your life too. Try this next time you’re down in the dumps: Tell yourself: It could be worse. See if it makes a difference. It does for me.

And Joey too.

Posted under: Chemotherapy, Counseling, Diagnosis, Family, Herceptin, Hospitalization, Inspiration, Kids, My Story, Radiation, Side Effects, Surgery, Survivors

6 comments

  • Hi, I have been reading your blog site and it is just packed with fantastic and funny articles. I have a friend whose mother died of breast cancer and I have watched her go through so much. I couldn’t see where to contact you so I hope you read your blog comments like I do.

    I have a shop on Etsy (an all things handmade website) where I sell boutique style picture frames and I have made a few in honor of breast cancer awareness. Would you be interested in doing a free giveaway? I have three that I am giving all of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and 20% of all my pink frame purchases will go to the Cure as well. I have one that says “remember” and I would be happy to give that away to one of your readers. (I would give the monetary value of it to the Cure myself).

    I am sorry if this feels like spam, but it is just really a cause that is close to my heart.

    Regards,
    Danielle

  • Bev on 8/31/2008 at 8:36 pm said:

    Thanks, Jacki. This perspective really helped me tonight.

    I continue to be grateful for all you are doing to help the cancer community. Thank you for recognizing the wisdom in Joey’s words and sharing with all.

    Love,

    Bev

  • Lisa on 8/31/2008 at 10:05 pm said:

    Jacki, I appreciate your observations here so much. I’m also struck by the recognition, in talking about what could’ve been worse, of what made things better: medicine, love, courage (to admit needing help, etc). I guess right now I’m trying to achieve that balance–as it’s described in the Serenity Prayer, among other places. That is, figuring out what one can or should change, and what one needs to accept. Nearing the end of one phase of treatment, I might be feeling relief but rather, am experiencing confusion, angst, relationship troubles etc. “It could be worse” I know, but I also wonder what I can do to cope better, to not neglect myself or others? So it goes.
    Thanks again. Best always,
    Lisa

  • Cindy Randolph on 9/1/2008 at 9:15 am said:

    I read your article in family circle. Your journey through breast cancer is inspiring. You never lost hope, it was obvious. May each day be a blessed one for you. God Bless.

  • Marge on 9/1/2008 at 6:18 pm said:

    I read your story in Family Circle and I just wanted to tell you that your story is so much like mine! However, you are much younger than I. I was diagnosed in September 2006 at the age of 66. I had the port under my collar bone; I did the eight week chemo session and the 7 week radiation session. Mine was Hormone Receptor Positive, so I did not have any further injections, but I do have to take medication for five years. I chose to take ra to start with, then tried Arimidex and then went to Aromasin. All of them have similar unpleasant side effects, but I finally settled on Arimidex. I’ll be taking it for three and a half more years.

    I’m so glad your results are positive and you are enjoying a wonderful lifestyle with your family. I didn’t let anything hold me back from doing what I wanted to do. Three weeks after I finished my radiation treatment, a friend and I flew 2000 miles to Nashville to attend a national Red Hat Society Convention. I was bald, but I didn’t care. It was fun to put on a bright red hat and forget about what I’d been through in the prior 7 months.

    I’m glad I found your blog. I’ll be watching for it each day.

    Marge

  • Hi, Nice to see your blog doing so well. It’s been a few weeks since I visited you here so I thought that I should just stop by for a quick hello. Ok, thats it, have a nice day. Bompa

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