Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Good News: Part Two

As I mentioned in my last post, now that I have my three year scan behind me and the news was great (no evidence of metastatic disease), the challenge is to begin to put the cancer behind me. As a step in that direction, I took melanoma off my blogs title where it used to be in the description line. I wanted to keep some kind of description under Carver's Sight or is that Site and for now I've settled on Photography and Rambling Prose from my Secret Garden and Beyond its Borders, to replace the old description. It's one tangible way I have to draw a line in the sand. On the other side of the line was me, a melanoma patient. On this side of the line is me, three years out without a recurrence, deciding that I'm done with it. It's a little bit of bravado but hopefully in time it will be a new reality replacing the one I've had for the past three years.
In my blog profile, I kept the fact that my blog was inspired by the blogs of other melanoma patients who I got to know through the MPIP. I don't want to change that part of my profile because it explains why I started this blog in the first place. I have a page with links to some of the blogs by melanoma patients or their caregivers. I haven't updated it recently but it includes some of the first blogs I visited, as well as ones I found later. I never would have started this blog and I certainly would never have participated on a bulletin board if I hadn't been diagnosed with a life threatening cancer. If I hadn't had severe nerve damage, an extended time with a surgical drain (9 weeks), peripheral neuropathy, balance issues, and ongoing pain, I never would have stumbled on the MPIP while doing research. I arrived on the MPIP and decided to ask a quick questions to see if others had experience with, or information about, some issues I questioned.
I was amazed at how quickly several people responded to me and what a welcoming, kind, and often fun as well as supportive group of people I found. All of us fighting the same cancer. I'll never forget when I was frustrated with being passed from one specialist to another and someone said, what's the matter with those idiots. Although the doctors in question were doing their best within the system they worked in, to have someone respond in such a definitive way to my frustration made me feel better. I remember when BarbaraGA, Kim from Iowa, and Jackie Doss mentioned their blogs and laughed about how hip they were to have a blog at their age (all were around my age). I went to their blogs and thought I'd give blogging a chance, much to my surprise. Before then, I'd never understood the idea of a blog. Keeping this blog and participating on the MPIP has been a great outlet through some of my most difficult times. It has not been without heartbreak. I have been privileged to be inspired by some of the most courageous people I've ever known who have shared their last months with honesty and humor. I am also inspired by people who are facing, each in their own way, living with cancer and side effects from treatments they've done. I am grateful for the people who have become my friends, many of whom I haven't met except through reading their posts on the MPIP, in some cases blogs, and email. I've been lucky to get to meet a few of my MPIP friends in person, and I hope to make it to one of the big bashes in the future.
I think what I'm laboriously working around to is that although I am not going to forget what prompted me to start this blog, and I don't ever want to lose touch with the friends I've made because of cancer, I am also ready to stop thinking of myself as a melanoma patient. This started as a melanoma blog or a way of dealing with my diagnosis and lingering health issues which began after surgery. It was where I vented about the endless doctor appointments, scares, worrisome scans, physical therapy, and pain management. Over time, I've found myself writing posts that have nothing to do with cancer or health issues and that feels good to me. I doubt I could have written much in this blog at all without the calming effect of writing around my photography.
At first I posted mostly old flower shots I took when I was making garden cards (garden glimpses was a line of cards I did mostly for fun roughly five years ago). Then I started taking more and more pictures because I was running out of old shots to use and I found it easier to write if I posted my photography. At this point, my blog is more and more a home for my photography, and less and less a place where I deal with the frustrations about my health issues. I've also enjoyed discovering many different kinds of blogs and getting to know people from all over the world. Most of us won't ever meet beyond our online sites, but that doesn't mean that we don't connect in meaningful ways.
I want to end this babbling brook of a post with a thank you to the people I've gotten to know through the online community. Some through the MPIP, some through blogs, some through photohunters and weekend snapshot. This is starting to sound like a goodbye which isn't what I'm saying. I'll be around. I'm sure I'll continue to have posts from time to time about melanoma, cancer in general and related issues. However, I'm more and more finding myself wanting to close the door on thinking that I'm at a high risk for recurrence or even thinking of myself as a stage III melanoma patient. I want to move towards thinking of myself as a slightly cantankerous curmudgeon standing in the middle of the road to get the sun setting on the trees at the bottom of the court. Daring the car that's approaching to honk when it's obvious that all I need is 15 more seconds to get the shot.


Anonymous said...

Dear Carver,

I think that was sort of a graduation speech, and I loved it. You have taken the three-year course, tough course!! You have learned, shared, inspired, encouraged, educated, supported, laughed, cried, fought and succeeded!

If it's time to close this book, sort of, you can. Time to look at another one. I know you will take time to glance through the pages of the old book. All of your "old books" have made you the person that we have come to know and love. You always refer to your old books, and I know I am happy to be in this one.

May this feeling of freedom grow and grow for you, taking you to those wonderful places your mind and interests can travel...while feeling at peace and melanoma free, still sharing your photos and thoughts with us.

I am so happy for you, Carver.



Carver said...

Dear Carol, Thank you so much for your thoughtful and sensitive comment. You are such a great friend. One of the gifts I have received is the friends I've made like you who share the same cancer but are oh so much more than that. It may be melanoma that brought us together in this battle but I also think of the laughs, and the fun. Love, Carver

AscenderRisesAbove said...

A graduation speech; yes... I like the way anonymous says that. Just hearing it made me all teary eyed.

I am looking forward to seeing what your next chapter will be too. Should you want to participate more in photo comps on line look at my photo links on my left hand side and almost all of those are weekly calls for photos. It can be kind of fun until you find what direction you want to go; which path you are going to take.

And of course I will be checking in all the time. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Carver said...

Thanks J(Ascender),

I will definitely check out the photo comps on your blog. Not sure why I haven't don't that before as I have checked some of your links but I think I missed those. It's always a pleasure for me to go to your blog and see your art and photography. It's been great getting to know you. I can't even remember how I found your blog. I guess it was one of the photo memes. It is interesting how we find out about blogs. Take care, Carver

MaR said...

Great post, Carver, and I am so happy for you!!You are a brave and strong woman, I am happy I got to meet you through blogging.
Back from my trip and slowly catching up!!

Anonymous said...

I have said this before...
Carver, you are my hero. It is almost easier to keep melanoma in the spotlight as if to say "if I expect it, either it won't happen or at the very least, it won't ever surprise me again." That way it still wins and I must admit, I let it win every day. It is bizarre reasoning, to be sure and I am so guilty.
So you are my hero for putting this in its place and taking it outta your blog title! You continue to amaze me.
Love you t-h-i-s much.

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
-William Shedd

Carver said...

Hi Mar,
I am glad to have gotten to know you through blogging. Your blog is such a beautiful place to visit. I almost feel like I get to travel via your gorgeous photographs. I appreciate your support and kind words here.

Hey Kim,
Thank you. I admire you so much and I think you should give yourself some credit. You have kept on truckin, not only maintaining your sense of humor and compassion but running, biking, leaping tall buildings with a single bound. Ok, I'm being silly but I'm also serious. You've been through a lot, back surgery, melanoma, and you still are able work out and I know that has taken a lot of grit. Oh and not to forget your ghost writing for Emma and Abbey Dog. I can hardly wait for the next installment of the wonder dogs. Love, Carver

Anonymous said...

I am so glad for you. What a positive new title for your blog. Your photographs are really lovely today. Best wishes for the rest of your life.

Theresa said...

Hi Carver,

First off loved the colors of the sky in all pictures my fav was the third picture, I like how the sky came through the baron tree branches.

My sister in law felt the same way you did, she was in email groups during most of the time she was going through the horriable part- she kept in touch with many of the women- but at the same time she wanted to move on with her life- and not let the big C consume her every thought.

I am happy you are feeling your freedom from the past. As always good luck to you!

Carver said...

Hi Vic,
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Your support means a lot.

Hi Theresa,
Thanks so much. I think that's my favorite of the pics too. I sometimes wish I could justify the expense of having a tree guy look at photos with me and remove some of the clutter so I can get more of the shots I want of the bare limbs in the winter. I'm glad you sister in law is moving forward and not letting cancer consume her every thought.

Jeanne said...

Carver--this is a huge milestone! Three years out. I am so very, very happy for you, and look forward to reading about your life and seeing the photos you take in this new world.

Carver said...

Hi Jeanne, Thank you so much for celebrating my milestone with me. I does seem amazing to me to have made it to this 3 year mark. Take care, Carver

Anonymous said...

Such great news and great writing about such a difficult subject! I'm so pleased to hear that.

Now, you have the rest of your life ahead of you to plan for nice and pleasant things - or just let nice things happen!

You go girl :-)

Carver said...

Thanks so much Lifecruiser. I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

Anonymous said...

Well hello to a slightly cantankerous curmudgeon. It sounds like it's been quite a journey. Congratulations on making it through.

Carver said...

Thanks Byrningbunny, You made me laugh with the well hello . . ., and I appreciate your comment. Take care, Carver