Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I am worried.  I'm VERY worried.  When I began this blog, I decided to leave the comments section open.  In other words, there would be no "comment moderation" because, frankly, I didn't trust myself to review the comments in a timely fashion.  I also decided not to use those "prove you're human" letters.  Lastly, I allowed anonymous comments.

I wanted this blog, if anyone ever began to read it, to be as user friendly as possible.  I wanted interaction and I wanted anyone and everyone to feel this would be a safe place.  Very public, but still, SAFE.  When an anonymous comment is left, there is no way for me to track the commenter.

Most of the times there were anonymous comments, they were attacks directed at me because someone held a differing point of view.

Yesterday that changed and I am upset.  This comment was left on yesterday's blog:

"If I had known then what I know now about chemo brain and my loss of career coupled with the severe pain of 24/7/365 for over 2 years of periferal neuropathy I would have not had ANY treatment. I would have racked up a huge credit card bill and traveled all over the world. Now, I'm a burden to my family, cannot drive, have all sorts of pain and get lost all the time when I try. I cannot perform my career so I cannot earn money so we are worse than broke. We cannot survive on one income. We needed mine. I'm looking for a way to end it all. I'm thinking pills will be the best way."

I don't know who wrote this.  I don't know how to get in touch with this person.  In fact, I have no way of knowing where she (if indeed it's a woman) lives.  She may be in the US or she could be elsewhere in the world.  She could be in an area where there isn't the same array of care that is available in and around the larger cities.  I just don't know anything and I feel helpless.

All I have is this computer screen and my words.  And yours, too.  I hope that whomever wrote this is continuing to read the blog and will see this and will reach out to me... to her doctors...... to a support hotline......  or anywhere else you may suggest.

A personal note to anonymous:

My dearest friend,

Yes, you are a friend.  My friend.  I have bared my soul in many places on this blog.  What I have held back, I have done for the privacy of others.  And now, you have bared your soul to me..... and to those who read this blog.  We are connected.  We are friends.

I want to help.  I don't know how I can help but I hope you will get in touch with me so we can figure it out.  Together.  I can't possibly know how you are feeling but I can offer my shoulder.  I can provide emotional support to help steady your step.

I hear you when you say you feel you are a burden to your family.  I would imagine your family might feel differently and that they would be devastated if you chose to take drastic measures thinking you would be easing their burden.

Please, please consider contacting me.  I will protect your privacy and I respect your need to remain anonymous but please know you are NOT alone.  I am here.  I am listening.  I want to find ways to help you both emotionally and practically.

My heart aches for you.  Those who read this blog would all say the same.  WE will support you.  We will hold you up. Please stay in touch.  Please let me, let US help you in whatever ways we can.

I send love,

AnneMarie  (email anncicc@gmail.com)

I did not see this comment until many hours after it was left on yesterday's blog.  I began checking my email frequently, hoping to find a message.  Instead, I found ANOTHER email and I'm asking each and every one of you to please hold someone who has come to mean the world to me very close in your thoughts.  This is part two of what turned into a very upsetting day for me.  I do not want this to overshadow the need I feel for all of us to rally behind my anonymous commenter.  By the same token, my emotions are raw and I am stunned by the cruelest turn of completely unrelated events.

Many months ago, a social media pal reached out to me.  A co-worker was just diagnosed with breast cancer and I was asked if I would talk to her.  I have spoken to many people over the past several months, but this relationship was very different.  We have spoken many, many times since her diagnosis.  What began as a conversation about "lumpectomy vs. mastectomy" soon turned into a very different situation.

After a number of consultations, it was determined that chemotherapy should be done before surgery.  Then, taxol and there were issues with that......  At one point, there was a hospitalization because of heart issues.  Just before the storm hit, we were discussing the surgical options and there was an issue with types of surgery and then, a problem with cardiac clearance.  We were scheduled to speak yesterday.

When I say that NOT ONE SINGLE thing has gone smoothly for this person, it's a massive understatement.  She was the person who needed a third opinion EVERY TIME something was presented.  The second opinion was so different from the first, a third doctor was called upon each time.  We would then discuss all of the opinions so she could navigate the maze and decide upon the best possible treatment for her circumstances.

Her surgery was scheduled for November 29th.  Yesterday, I was hopeful she would obtain the cardiac clearance which was the only obstacle to the surgery.  Our last conversation was via email because of my ongoing phone issues and then, the holiday thrown into the mix.  I was anxious when I didn't hear from her, wondering if yet another medical issue was throwing a monkey wrench into what has become a rather complicated treatment plan.

I emailed her in the wee hours of the morning on Friday suggesting we might talk on Saturday.  My son stayed here for a few nights but I was sure I'd be able to manage some alone time.  She replied to me saying that I should try to relax and enjoy my time with my family which is "number one priority."  She then added that her two sons were with her and it was great to share time with them.  We would talk on Monday.

Her younger son turned 25 years old on Wednesday.  The day before Thanksgiving.  He died in a car accident some time on Friday in the hours after she told me how great is was to be spending time with both of her sons.

One of her friends sent an email on her behalf to a number of people.  I was included in that email.  It simply included information about a service that is being held this evening.  I believe the funeral is tomorrow.  Beyond that, I'm speechless.  And, my heart hurts.

Although she doesn't read this blog, I still want to say to my friend:

"My heart is shattered.  I don't know what I can possibly do to help you, especially since we are 1200 miles apart.  Still, I'm here.  I'm always here.  And, I love you."


  1. Wow. My heart aches for your friend that recently lost her son. I cannot imagine the strength she must have. As for the anonymous commenter, I must agree with your post that there are many people out there that add their support. Strangers yes but linked somehow in support. Sending positive vibes and strength to them both and to you in your quest to provide comfort.

  2. Well, that answered my "how are you doing" question. Know that you are so, so loved. For real. -Kira

  3. Wow is right, I am so sorry for these two people and my hope is they have a strong faith and support group to lean on. To be fighting cancer and losing a son, I can't even imagine the pain. My prayers are with your friend.
    As for your anonymous commenter, I have felt her pain, I have originally started this battle in 2004 and now been fighting Met. BC for what has been 3 years this December. The thoughts you have when you are terminate, they never go away. But what else never goes away is my family. I know my sickness is a burden, but I also know it is one they don't mind doing because I am still here, fighting, but still here with them. If I gave up on this fight I would also be giving up on the family and friends that stand by me, and I think they would have a harder time with me being gone now, then gone down the road when OUR fight is over. It is our fight, they stand by me, and even though it is really bad some days, I am still here for them and myself, and for the ladies that will come behind me, I fight for them also. My dream is the cure, and I really want to be here to see it come. We are here for you, all the ladies on this blog and more, let us help you.

  4. Oh my fearless friend! You so willingly and freely accept the burdens and pains we leave at your feet. You gave this woman a safe place to take her emotional poisons out of herself and express them without feeling guilty. Respecting the need to express those ideas, clearly, directly, and theoretically is a hard thing to do for another person, and it's a hard role to take on, especially for a fierce, loving heart like yours. She is lucky to have found you, and the shield you use to defend us needs to shelter you sometimes too.

    I love you lady! You are my hero!

  5. AnneMarie....there are no words for the magnitude of loss expressed here. We are all connected, through sorrow and joy. Somehow through these connections we keep each other going. Sending you love and hope,

  6. Ann Marie,

    How horribly tragic. I'm so sorry about this woman's loss and for the pain that will be forever with her from here on out. I'm sorry for your heartache as well. I'm also grateful you are such a friend to so many, Ann Marie. I know you will be there for this woman, as you are for so many. Sending love.

  7. Speechless. Thoughts and prayers to the suffering. Grateful to be part of this blogging connection though. . . because it does matter and it does make a difference. The support is real, and I hope the anonymous commenter and the cancer patient who just lost her son can feel it. I also hope they find the support they need "in person" to help them through. Take care and hug your loved ones.

  8. AnneMarie you are so giving to so many and it is so great that you have this blog for so many people and so many different circumstances. I am so sorry for the anonymous person and I am sure that if she felt comfortable enough to express her thoughts and feelings, you must accept that it is so wonderful she has a place to speak of them. All we can do is hope that after expressing her moment of wanting to see an end to all of her circumstances that she was able to realize that it was a moment and pass through it. Someone so close to me never expressed his feelings and ended his life and I felt so helpless. But we have no control over what choices someone makes in a moment of despair. I think the fact that she has reached out and we are here for her can help her get past her sorrow...but here like going through learning of a diagnosis for breast cancer we feel have no control...this is a choice she will make and we can only offer our help. As far as your friend who has just lost her son, there are no words. I am so sorry for her loss and I know your incredible friendship will help her through this incredibly difficult time. With all of this said, I send you good thoughts and prayers. Remember through all of this to take care of yourself. There are so many people that rely on you for so many things you do. Hugs and prayers....XoXoXo-Susan

  9. dear anonymous,

    your pain is so palpable, and i am so sorry for what you are going through. you reached out to annemarie's blog, and hundreds if not thousands of people read it and now are praying for you, sending loving and powerful vibes to help you. please know - there IS help for you and your family. and that you have many bc sisters and fearless friends who are at the ready to provided you with the support and resources you so deserve. please, read and re-read the letter that annemarie wrote to you above. believe me when i say that you are not alone, though with all the loss and pain you have suffered, i know you must feel alone a lot of the time. my heart aches for you; please accept my heartfelt wish for you to be uplifted and comforted, and to have HOPE restored.

    sending much love to you in this most difficult time,

    karen, TC

  10. I'm so sorry your friend lost her child. I have no words for this sorrow. Just tears.

    I'm going to try to keep going because I do think people care and sometimes that alone is enough to pull me through. Thank you for letting me voice my true feelings about what I'm calling a lesson in futility. The nice thing is that people care. People I have never met. People that have gone through it and have roughly the same problems. They care. You care. And it helps me. Thank you.

    Love, healing, health and caring to you all. Maybe some money too. It kind of helps.

    1. I am so very happy to see your comment. I've been worried about you... and so have many others.....

      I hope you will stay in touch. There is a community of very real support in this virtual world.

      To my friends who left notes encouraging me and in support of our new friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Much love to all....


  11. dear annemarie,

    i cannot imagine how deeply your heart aches for your friend. a joyous birthday, a celebration with both of her sons, then senseless, horrific, unspeakable tragedy. the death of a beloved son...you have a son, so i know how much you must grieve for your dear friend and her family. i will be BELIEVING for you and for your friend that the bright light of friendship and love that brought you together will continue to shine across the miles, that both you and she will FEEL it.

    i send you my love and warm hugs, and deepest sympathy,

    karen, TC

    1. kTC...

      Thank you for your kindness and for the love you send that shines right through your beautiful words...

      MUCH love,


  12. My brother was killed in a car accident 19 years ago on December 20th. I know the pain of a grieving heart through a sister's perspective. Having 3 children myself (all grown) I simply cannot ever imagine the grief of a mother losing her child, no matter the age. And being 1 year out from breast cancer and treatment, knowing what we have all gone through, to have this type of tragedy occur in life is well beyond comprehension. I will keep this grieving family in my prayers, knowing God, prayer and faith - along with friends - is what keeps you going. My very deepest sympathies.

    And to "anonymous", my heart broke reading your posts. We are all God's children, cherished and accepted and loved. He has his reasons, even though we don't know what they are. Know you are loved, there is help and hold on to faith. AnneMarie has taken on a tremendous crusade. She truly cares for each person that reads her blog. I don't know her personally but have communicated with her privately through e-mail. She has been a great source of knowledge and comfort. Reach out. Many care.

    May God bless each of us as we move through the journey of life.


    1. Nataline,

      I don't think I knew about your brother and I am deeply sorry. You are very special to me... and I DID see your comment on the post from a few months back! I check the comments in the order in which they are posted thanks to google.


  13. Great big hugs to AM, to Anonymous, and to AM's friend who is going through a mother's worst nightmare. Sending peace and love and hope and comfort to everyone out there.

    1. Renn...

      One of my very first friends... thank you.. thank you...


  14. Two women in two very different, but very tragic situations. I also send my love and support and hope that both take some comfort in knowing that there are so many who care. And AnneMarie - that goes for you as well.


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