Can’t believe a month has flown by and we’ve gone from a beautiful fall into a hard, cold winter.  Boom!  After seeing the cardiologist and numerous tests on my heart we figured out a few things.  First, I have a strong, healthy heart.  Second, the Xeloda drug was causing the arteries of my heart to spasm and giving me angina.  I was also experiencing headaches and dizziness which I thought was going to win me a trip to the MRI and a brain scan, but fortunately all of the symptoms went away when I stopped the drug.  I also learned a lesson about my self.  I tend to minimize any symptoms I have and was forcing Becky to still go on walks with me despite the “heartburn”  Thankfully, she still loves me.

So the good news, bad news is I’m fine, but it also means I’ve blown through a treatment option.  Next up is the Afinitor/Aromasin combo.  Another oral chemo.  This one packs a heftier price tag however.  $12,000 a month.  Yep, $400 a pill.  Thank goodness for insurance. Did you see the 60 Minutes segment on the high cost of cancer drugs?  Hit home for me.   It does make me evaluate how much good I’m putting into the world each day.  I say that a little tongue in cheek.  I know I’m worth much more than my meds.

Which brings me to compassion.  It’s pretty easy to look at me and think everything is great in my world.  No one would know that I have a less than 25% chance of living 5 years, that my spine is covered in tumors and I have a few more in my leg.  I’m fortunate in that I have a high pain tolerance, and really, if I’m good in what I do I can manage my pain.  Fatigue is another invisible thing.  Sometimes I’m just wiped, lower than that actually,  but you wouldn’t really know it by looking at me.  I keep exercising because my doctor’s say that’s better than anything.  Even though some days I almost break down on the machines because that’s where I feel what I’ve lost more than most places.  I’m officially a wimp, but a stubborn one.  I realize how invisible what I’m going through can look to people who don’t know me. Even to people who do know me, really.   It got me to thinking about other people I see out and about everyday.  At school, at the grocery store, cutting in front of you on the freeway.  We know nothing about their stories and what they may be dealing with.  I’ve learned that whenever I give a talk about my story to always assume there is someone in the room who is dealing with more. We all have our stories.

It might not be as life threatening, or maybe as large, but to that person it’s everything.  We sometimes minimize our own worth and the value of our feelings and emotions.  We downplay them and say “we’re fine” when we are really too afraid to reach out.  So the next time you see that crabby person, or the dour looking one, or the tired one think about the story that might be there, invisible and in the background and offer a smile, or just a silent word of compassion.  We’re all human and it’s our connections that make us so. Remember, we all have hard things, together is what gets us through them.

7 thoughts on “Compassion

  1. Judy- you are an amazing women….I read this blog earlier today on my phone, but it is so hard to respond on that device! The compassion you talk about is where I think your strength comes from. You are compassionate with yourself and compassionate with others. The glass has always been half full to you and that is the way you have lived your life.
    It pains me to understand what is going on inside your body and the strength it takes for you to face each day. I am grateful for the love you have from your family and friends and you are so correct that together is how one gets through the hard things.

    I am honored to call you my friend…..peace and love. Kristie

  2. Beautifully written Judy, I totally get it! Sometimes we are so all alone in our journeys. November reminds us how Thankful we are for the good stuff the good days. it takes a life time for most people to figure out what really matters in life.some of us sooner. You are a gift my friend and a wonderful teacher.

  3. Read your post to myself this morning and thought about my strong, compassionate friend named Judy. Read it aloud to Steve and could barely get through it because of the tears. Among your many great gifts is the ability to remind us (and then invite us into) all the quiet, possible acts of mercy that surround us: notice others and be kind; remember that sorrow and pain know many addresses; look beyond appearances; be generous. Perfect holiday behavior.

  4. Dear Dear Judy,
    First of all Thank You for sharing your beautiful insights again…so many of us are blessed with with time, and yet all it takes is a moment with you to remind me to always go deeper. None of us really knows; so important is compassion that it should always be a constant in many ways each and every day. My heart goes out to you, your family and friends, Love OX always

  5. Judy, you have a gift for the “written word”. You are an inspiration to so many and I admire how you deal with each obstacle with such grace.

  6. Thank you – I needed that reality check today. And don’t worry – they won’t make a medication that comes close to your worth in my eyes. Keep writing and being you – no one does it better. Love you and so lucky to have you as my friend.

  7. You DO have a gift for putting your amazing thoughts in writing. And, you have the best instincts to “offer a smile, or a silent word of compassion” just when I need it. I am sure you do the same for many, many others. I hope we return the favor 🙂

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