Tuesday, August 9, 2016


I have news. Sometimes, I despise writing those words. Today, I despise writing them because there are times, like now, that life is cruel. It shoves things down our throats and some of us, seem to be overloaded.

I don't want to hear about my strong shoulders or that we are never given more than we can handle because I don't buy it. I just don't buy it.

I have shit on my plate right now that I'd really like to hurl back at the universe. But this isn't about my plate.

Many of us in the blog world, bloggers, readers, and those I love most-the readers who comment, know Karen. I'm talking about Karen Sutherland, who frequently would sign her comments at Ktc, writes beautifully and I'm sure I'm not the only one who pleaded with her to launch a blog. She likes, and it's her preference to use her incredibly gifted writing talent by reading the words of others and crafting the most eloquent and beautiful comments. Yes, every comment she leaves, on every blogpost where she comments, enriches the writing of the blogger. At least that's the way I feel and I'm guessing I'm not alone.

When Karen's beloved Hugh died unexpectedly, the community rallied around her. I "see" her on Facebook. Despite a number of rearrangements on this blog, the link to what all of YOU did for her remains in the left margin of this blog. Blogging is about community and the comments of support exemplify how we care for each other.

Karen and I have exchanged emails. Frequently for quite some time and then less frequently over time. Simple "I love you" reminders just because, and that was enough for each of us. It was a way of knowing, "It's all good," or, at the very least, it's not gotten worse.

Until the other day. Karen's email was yet another sucker punch. She wrote to let me know that she has been diagnosed with a NEW primary cancer. She prefaced the news by saying she hoped to be sharing hat she was moving forward, was in a better place in the process of grieving but instead, her email was to let me know she now has a THIRD cancer in six years.

What I know? She was diagnosed with B-cell non Hodgkin lymphoma and it was found because of a very swollen lymph node that was observed during her ongoing care for metastatic breast cancer. Currently, she has no evidence of metastatic breast disease and is also NED with the metastatic cervical cancer which decided it would present itself shortly after Hugh's death.

But she is once again in the fucking cancer holding pattern. She's awaiting a PET scan, after which she will discuss her treatment plan with her oncologist.

Sometimes, life just sucks and this is truly a sucky hand to be dealt. That it is entirely possible this third cancer is because of the treatment administered for either or both of the prior cancers is something that immediately popped into my head but I'll save that teaching moment for another time.

Right now, this is about Karen and only Karen.

I love you, my friend and I know there is a very large community that feels the same way.

All I can say in this moment is that I'm PISSED OFF. I'm a terrible Cancer Friend. I preach what we shouldn't do when someone is diagnosed and then I do those very things. You get to be pissed, sad, scared and I'm here to bear witness, to help you carry that. I'm not supposed to make this about me and my feelings. My job as your friend is to listen, to validate your feelings, to be helpful.

But damn it to hell, in this moment, I'm just too fucking pissed.

 Like it?  Share it!


  1. Sometimes there are no words, AnneMarie. Sometimes my fingers are hitting keys on my keyboard but it's almost like an auto-pilot response. "I'm so sorry" ... "I hate cancer" ... "I'll be praying" ... an endless string of words said over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over. I mean them & I DO pray. Everyday. In fact, if I didn't have my God to pray to, I truly believe I'd go mad.

    I just read this morning that Jill Cohen (Dancing With Cancer: Living With Mets) died. No, that fact has nothing to do with Karen either but ... is it ever possible to talk about this hideous disease & not acknowledge the connection of the dots ... the people? I don't think so.

    Gawd, I'm so sorry.

  2. My Dear Annemarie,(damned auto correct won't let me capitalize the "M" in your name GRRR)

    What you have done for me with this post is so overwhelmingly kind and generous. loving, and caring. I have already had responses from dear, wonderful people wishing me well and offering support as I step into this latest chapter of life. I want you to know how humbled and deeply grateful I am for your friendship, and for how quickly and earnestly you responded to my news, even though you were up to your eyeballs with your own pressing issues. I will never forget that once again, you have gifted me with your love and your concern - and nothing, not even Damned, Fucking cancer can take that away from me. I love you dearly, and am always holding you close to my heart. Karen XXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOO


Something to add? Do Share!