not always positive

I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair, with a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.    -Leonard Cohen

Today I am unraveled and shattered. Yesterday I held it together and was positive. And all the days before that on this journey I have been brave. But not today. I wept my way through my 7th chemo treatment, and into the middle of the night.
Today I am sad for my country. I know next to nothing about politics- I admit I am not well educated or well-read on the matter, I don’t watch political shows. This is less about what I know to be true and more about how I FEEL- sad and scared.  I’m sad for the people in my country, on both sides of the divide. I’m sad that so many Americans were living in pain and dissatisfaction to such a degree that they cast their vote for a villain, a bigot, a bully. They were looking for anything, even something dark (or orange), to make their lives better. I wish people in this country could see how lucky we are. Can we imagine for a moment what our lives would look like if we had been born in Syria. Everyday I imagine what it would be like to be a refugee mother to a 3 and 1 year old baby. Have we forgotten that it is our privilege and duty and right to help others? When we have enough to eat and shelter over our heads- aren’t we able to give our extra away to those that have less than us. What good does protecting the wealthy (us) do -if the poor get poorer we all suffer. I might sound like a socialist, perhaps that is where my morals, ethics and values are aligned (the Bern). I think this is the way I came out of the womb- always feeling the pain and relating to the suffering of others.
I’m sad for the many families of hard-working immigrants that will now live in fear of deportation of loved ones. Their fear that their family could be torn apart. I’m sad that they are feeling abandoned. I wish I could say to them I love you, we need you, we are glad you are here. I’m sad about the hundreds, literally hundreds, of hate crimes that were committed today across our country in support of the populist demagogue we elected.
I’m sad for the LGBT community who won a long fought battle to marry only to fear their fair reward may potentially be taken from them. I’m sad for women who fear they may lose the ability to make decisions for their own bodies. I’m sad for the woman in this country whether they voted for him or not that will be violated physically or verbally because that is the example our new president has set for men to follow.
I’m sad for the sick, those with pre-existing conditions such a cancer, that depend on the affordable health care act. It’s unfortunate that most people with cancer, or other diseases, do not have access to legal medical marijuana. I’m here to tell you that it is the only thing that has brought me relief. I’m sad about the ever increasing opioid/heroin epidemic that is virally infecting our nation. (which also could be helped by regulated medical marijuana)
I weep for the earth. I literally can’t stop weeping for the beautiful mother earth. That our fight to protect her will be placed on hold in the name of greed. The wetlands of Louisiana, the Standing Rock Reservation, the rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, the waters, the  animals, the air, the trees, the ground. We need to make a conscious effort to make personal, professional, and govermental sacrifices to protect the earth. This protection comes at a great cost that we must all be willing to step up and pay for what we take and take and take. We are running out of time and resources. These next 4 years of potentially less regulation globally (China, cough, cough) could be apocalyptical. Who cares if we call it global warming or not, we must make changes and address the damage that we have historically and currently continue to inflict. Like another rapist I know, our global capital economy is raping the earth.
I’m scared that the checks and bounds system is not in place right now to protect our country and our world and our enemies from an unstable egotistical maniac. I’m afraid of his chummy relationship with Putin. I’m afraid of what could potentially happen in the supreme court and that the progress we have made in this country’s history can be erased. I’m afraid of the people that he will choose to surround himself with and appoint to positions of power. I’m afraid that our leader will lead his own people with strength, but not all of the people. I’m afraid that his ego will prevent him from creating bridges instead of walls. I’m afraid of the enemies that he will make in this country and abroad. I’m afraid that in the face of tragedy- will he have the words and guidance to comfort and heal our wounds. Does he love us? Any of us? All of us? Or just himself, his daughter, and his cronies. I’m afraid that love has nothing to do with anything anymore- have we been naive to say the word and think it mattered?
I’m sad for the beautifully diverse citizens of our country such as african americans, muslims, latinos, the poor and disadvantaged, the disenfranchised, the mentally challenged, the list list goes on. Many people in this country now feel like their elected leader, and the many people that voted for him, do not care about them.  I’m afraid I am becoming a racist against white people. I despise guns but I’m afraid we might need a way to protect our family because I’m afraid we are closer to a civil war, a race fueled war, a third world war, a nuclear war, a war with poverty, a war of racial tension, civil disobedience fueled by a hatred for one another that is reaching a boiling point. I am magically cloaked in white privilege and inherited wealth and living on luck but my heart is rioting in the street. I’m not sure if I deserved to land in this life i was given- it feels like a mix-up.
I’m sad for the death of the optimism that the majority of the citizens of this country had when they cast their vote for what they thought would be the first female president who also happens to be a competent and well prepared candidate for the most important job in our nation. I’m sad for the conversations that parents will have to have with their children about how bullies never win even though THAT bully won. I’m sad for teachers that I know that had very real conversations with their black, hispanic, ethnic, muslim students today about their very real fears of deportation, slavery, abandonment, hatred, white supremacy, and violence. I’m sad that love lost to hate.
I’m sad for my god-family who lost their son Wilkins to death by suicide last week. I weep with them and for them for this loss.  It’s a reminder of the millions living with deep struggles that can’t or won’t ask for help. I’m afraid one of the first things to be cut will be national funding for access to mental health.
I’m sad that Leonard Cohen died today, of all days, on the day that I am already unraveled. He has helped me through many rough patches before. Today, listening to his songs and reading his poems only makes me more sad.
and finally, finally people I can admit it, I’m sad for the first time that I have cancer. Today, all day. I have always felt like my body was a bulletproof tank and now it feels vulnerable and broken. I don’t mind being bald when I am confident and brave, but when I am sad or scared I look and feel pathetic and diseased. I’m sad for my children that the mother that birthed them is replaced by a less whole person. I don’t know what life will be like after cancer but there are parts of me that will be different- some better and some worse.
Perhaps its because my body is newly full of chemo”therapy”, jacked up on steroids, and sleepy on benadryl, and insomnia-ed right now. I’m officially in menopause, hormonally challenged, with hot flashes as I type this. I’m tired and ill and week and bald and pimpled and chemo brain is real. Perhaps it’s because my babies have a stomach virus and I spent my morning cleaning up vomit while trying not to hold them and risk getting very very sick myself. When my babies are sick I’m able to step up to the plate for them, but only for them. I’m sad for the future babies that I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to have but I hate that now I can’t have them. I mourn the possibility, I see their faces sometimes.
For the first time I feel sorry for myself. I’m bummed out that on top of everything else my ass hole is broken and I will need a surgery during the one week between chemo and mastectomy when I should be feeling ok and getting my life back in order and preparing for a massive surgery with a month-long recovery. Every morning I have a laxative and stool softener induced poop that feels like it is going to rip me open and kill me. I literally have a shitty and painful and scary time with the simple act of eliminating waste.The botox quick fix has caused me to lose control of gas and I assume if I am caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, my bowels.
I’m sad that at the end of this my body with be scarred and mangled and my new boobs will forever be numb and foreign. I’m sad for my husband that our intimate life will also suffer from the scars, the numbness, the hormone deficiency, the changes, the vulnerability, the fear of recurrence, the loss, the pain, the sadness, the shame, the dysfunction.
I’m scared that every recent story I have heard of young breast cancer survivors has ended in recurrence, spreading to new organs, or lymphodema, or death, or hysterectomy, or fat necrosis from surgery, or a loved one being diagnosed at the same time, or chemo brain that lasts forever, or debilitating neuropathy.
I knew this would be a rough year, I didn’t foresee that it would be a scary and sad 4 years for me. It turns out I may have been brave enough for cancer, but I’m not brave enough to be under the rule of the evil orange despot. Today was my day to be angry, sad, scared and negative. Tomorrow I go to work figuring out how to fight hate, how to organize ourselves to make positive change without the help of our government (like we did in New Orleans/ Katrina/ Nagin), how to guide our children towards good, to teach them empathy and respect for others, how to promote and implement peace. Assuming I can even get out of bed or open my eyes post treatment.
Even though I’m sad and scared- I truly believe that what comes next will be the antithesis of what we have now. I guess we need to take a step backwards, give hate a chance to boil to the surface, let it be heard and felt and reap havok, and then we rebuild something better than we had before.
Thank you for allowing me this day to fall apart and not be an inspiration to anyone. Please, if you do not agree with my beliefs or feelings, simply stop listening to me. This is a space for me to share my story. And don’t worry- I’m going to be fine, we are all going to be ok.

4 thoughts on “not always positive

  1. Ginger Worden November 11, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Diana, your words expressed our pain so beautifully and also let us feel the complex and monumentally difficult process you are swimming through. Thank you for being such a clear and powerful woman that you can be vulnerable and embrace a certain amount of weakness.

    This election has left me sleepless for days and it is comforting to have your company, dear one!


  2. Carolyn Curry November 12, 2016 / 3:39 am

    You said it all so well!! We feel the same way about the election. I hate that you are going though this battle with cancer but it is making you strong. You are so brave and honest.
    I am sure you do not feel good everyday but maybe the fact that so many are holding you in their hearts each day will help in some way.
    Love to you and all in your family.


  3. Meghan November 12, 2016 / 5:10 am

    I just realized that I can comment on your post. You will forever be one of the most beautiful souls that I’ve ever had the honor of loving. I’m at a loss of words for mine could never compare to the ones you just shared. You have touched my life in a way that no friend has before. I hope you know the depths of my love and appreciation for you.


  4. Diane McPhail December 9, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Diana, your words express everything I am weeping unexpectedly about every day now, except, of course, the cancer. Even your connection to Leonard Cohen. I have a dear young friend who took me with her to his concert in Atlanta when he came back on tour. She and I are both crying at the loss of him and I am hunting frantically for his Book of Mercies that I used so often in my retreats. I realize when I am feeling nauseated and weepy and frantic and can’t find a trigger point that I am simply afraid–truly afraid for all of us in this country and now, every appointment that he makes turns out to be putting Maddof in charge of the treasury. I keep trying to find a ground of peace, and finding it, to hold on to it, but I can’t. Thank you for all your words. They express every thing I am feeling. And I am so sad. I am so sad in general. I am so sad that you are having to go through this. And that your mother is having to go through what mothers go through when their beloved children are in difficulty, pain, or anguish. I treasure the memory of our little fire and the vision of you there, and even more so now with your courageous words.


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