Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cancer Stories - Remembering my aunt

Submitted by: Tunde Nyarfadi. Tunde is Natural Light Photographer in York Region.
Twitter name: @TNy_Photography
Follow her: TNy on Facebook

"Hi, I am here to share my story of  how I have been touched by cancer. I am lucky, touch wood, fingers crossed, I do not have cancer. I am really blessed and lucky to say this, unlike many other people.

I was about 18 years old when I found my aunt, my father's sister, had brain tumor. She was only 37 years old, young, beautiful woman. I do not have much memory of speaking to any of may family members about it a lot. It was something really scary to think about, something awful I did not want to deal with in any way. I tried to block it out of my mind and just pretend it is not there. Thinking of it now, I feel like I was a coward.

My aunt was always a bubbly person, she had 2 children she left behind. Those children needed her. She needed them too.

I do not like to go to hospitals, really, who does? I do not like to go to funerals. I actually refuse to go to funerals. You may ask why. Allow me to tell you.

After my Aunt had a few chemo therapies and was taking really hard drugs, she did not look like herself at all. One day I visited her at home after she got out of the hospital and I was shocked, Was it the same person I saw? Was this woman my aunt, I wondered as I stood in the doorway petrified. I did not want to move closer to her. She did not know who we were. She was sitting in a armchair in her living room, with a scarf on her head. She lost all her beautiful hair. The scarf was more than an accessory. It was covering up more than just a head. Her face was all swollen.

She had some sort of a furry thing on the arm of the chair and I remember her calling it a cat...she was delusional. That was the moment when I decided I do not want to see her like this. This person in front of me is NOT my aunt, it can not be. This is when I knew I did not want to remember her like that. I wanted her to be in my memory as when she was healthy. That is all, healthy, not young, not beautiful, not old, not ugly, just a healthy person.

I saw her in my dreams a few times just sitting in her chair, her head covered with a scarf. Shortly after she passed away I went to England to be a Au-pair. I stayed with my father's godmother who looked very much like my aunt. When I arrived at her house with my uncle, she was sitting in her kitchen. She just washed her hair and had a towel on her head. She looked like my late aunt. When she got up to great me I did not cry happy tears to see her,. I had tears in my eyes because I saw my father's sister in her.

I did not go to her funeral. I do not go to funerals. It is not a lack of respect, it is a way of protesting against death, that I have no control over, but at least I can remember people the way I want ....they way when they were happy and alive."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cancer Stories - Becoming a mom without a mom

Submitted by: Marci Warhaft-Nadler. Marci is the creator of Fit vs Fiction, She travels the country inspiring young men and women to be who they want to be, and not who they think they're supposed to be
Twitter name: @Fit_vs_Fiction
Follow her: Fit vs Fiction on Facebook

"I was about 1.5 hours into my flight from Montreal to Vancouver, when a flight attendent reached over my lap to grab the"empty" coffee cup from the passenger seated next to me. Unfortunately, the cup wasn't empty at all and I ended up being covered with spilled coffee! I think the flight attendent was expecting a reaction from me, I just don't think she was expecting the one she got.Instead of being angry, I started to cry, REALLY cry; actually I started bawling my eyes out! She looked at me like I was a bit insane, my reaction seemed a bit over the top. What she didn't realize however, was that I wasn't crying because I'd have to spend the rest of the flight covered in wet coffee or because the coffee had stained the brand new maternity dress I was wearing.

I was crying because I had just come from seeing my mom for the last time before Breast Cancer would her away from me.I knew the Cancer was back and it was aggressive, but she had kept from me just how Bad the situation was, because I was pregnant for the 3rd time, after suffering through 2 miscarriages, and she did not want to risk upsetting me. My mom was a single parent most of my life and we were as close as a mother and daughter could be. She was my hero and my best friend and she wanted so badly for me to experience the gift of motherhood and did not want to upset me.

When she couldn't keep things from me anymore, I got the call to come home and I left on the first flight available. I had just enough time to tell her I loved her, show her ultrasound pictures of the grandchild she'd never get to meet and tell her he'd be named in her honor. Saying goodbye to her was devestatingly painful and I was afraid that if I let myself truly believe what was happening, it would be too much for me to handle. I feared that if I started crying, I wouldn't stop and was trying to be as brave and strong for the son I was carrying as I felt I needed to be.

When the poor flight attendent accidentally let the coffee spill from the cup, it was like every emotion just came pouring out of me with it. I was crying for the mother I lost but still needed.

It's been 13 years and I miss her every day,I have 2 sons now and we talk about their grandmother often, they know how loving and fun she was and how she's watching them from Heaven during every soccer game they play or Tae Kwon Do match they win.

A friend of mine lost her mom to breast cancer 25 years ago, I lost mine 13 years ago and have a friend battling it now. Still waiting for a cure....."

Marci and her mom, Shirley

Sunday, April 17, 2011


After careful thought about the direction I would like this blog to go, I've decided I would like to expand. I would like to add a section dedicated to sharing other peoples view on cancer and how it has affected them. It does not have to be Thyroid Cancer.  

What I am looking for: Guest bloggers, who are willing to contribute their story. The details of how they were affected by cancer. These days so many people have a "cancer story" and I would like to create a section where others can read different perspectives. If you have, or had cancer, if you have had a friend or family member with cancer, your story can help someone going through it right now. We all know how it can feel isolating and by sharing your story you can help other to feel less alone. What I need are REAL stories, filled with emotion, what you felt/feel, how you reacted, what you have learned.

Please email me your submission to
Include the following information:
Your name (or online identity): 
Your blog:
A photo (avatar of you or a photo that represents your story)
Twitter name:
Your story:

Once the new section has been created, your story will be included. Thanks for helping me with this new section of my blog. I assure you, your story will help others.

I have to talk about it

I've tried to keep all health issues off this blog except for the cancer itself. Now I am beginning to believe that one of the issues I've been struggling with is directly affected, and I have to talk about it.I touched on it in a couple of post but never really worte about it in detail.

Depression. I know you see that word and instantly get uncomfortable. Even the word makes me uncomfortable. I'm sorry that there is such a stigma attached with that label. It makes people view me differently and if make me view myself differently.

Depression was always something I worried about. It runs rampant in my family,even if some haven't been diagnosed and treated, many have. I always knew deep down that my happy days were numbered and that eventually it would get me too. Then I had my daughter, "Roo" life was perfect, I had my boy and now my girl. I got up every day looked at myself in the mirror and called myself a fake. I recognized the face in the mirror but not the person. The person I saw was smiling and happy and doing it all! Housework, errands, kids/family and doing it with ease. The person that I knew was a fraud. None of it was real. Just beneath the surface of that smile was an angry woman, hating herself, the circumstances and life in general. I internally wished my husband would realize something was terribly wrong with me, but yet I made choices that kept the dirty secret hidden. In the shower I cried sobbed until my bones ached. then I got out, got dressed nicely, applied just enough makeup to cover the dark circles under my exhausted eyes. Giving myself a pep talk in the mirror, a reminder that if I didn't keep it all together "they" would take my kids away. Afterwards I walked out of the bathroom dressed and composed and ready to fake my way through another day. Not knowing that carefully crafted facade was days away from a hairline fracture.

During a conversation with my husband I let my guard down for a split second and asked him to stay home. He laughed it off told me not to be silly and headed to work. I sat down and cried. The facade had cracked ever so slightly. It was a small crack but one that was ready to blow. A few days went by and once again I felt like I needed help but didn't know how to ask for it. I asked my hubby to please stay home with me. Again he explained that financially we couldn't afford it and that he couldn't just stay home because I wanted him to. Out of frustration I snapped. The rage flew out, the anger took over and I warned him that if he left something bad might happen. I have no idea what that meant. I wasn't thinking about self harm or hurting our child, but I needed him to know that something was wrong with me. He was so shocked and upset that I would even say such a thing. He told me he thought maybe I should go see my Dr. I didn't. What I did was the one thing I enjoyed most. I wrote about what happened and how I was feeling on a local "mommy forum". What happened next was the best thing imaginable in my situation. The person who replied was so caring and compassionate. She really seemed to understand what I was was feeling. She urged me to come out to a support group for women dealing with Post Partum Mood issues. Deep down I knew that was what was wrong with me so after a few attempts to go I finally made it. I walked through the door and wept in the arms of the woman who was running it. I got real advice and people understood me, I felt safe there. Eventually I did go to my Doctor and was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression (PPD) and anxiety. Over time we tried different meds and finally after a very long struggle with PPD I started to get better. People commented that it was nice to see the old me again, nice to see me smile, just nice to be around me again.

6 weeks after that fog began to lift I was slammed with the news that I had cancer.

Nearly 3 years after my diagnosis of PPD and PPA I am still struggling with it. No longer does it fit into the Post Partum category. Now it's just clinical depression and anxiety. I am in a scary place right now as the "experts" are trying to work on my diagnosis and meds. For me it's a chicken vs. egg situation. We all know that the thyroid plays a huge role in our mood, so what came first? The depression or the cancer, could the cancer have caused it all? I'll never know. but I know I'm still angry, and I still hurt, and life is a struggle, but one that I am willing to fight for. I'll never give up. I've been through too much and survived to just give up.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...