Thursday, January 24, 2013

X Men

There are those among you who are different.  Sure they may seem just like you, but they are not. You are normal, you don't have what we have.  No its not some exciting superpower, we can't time travel.  Nothing cool like that.
We have something you don't want:

An invisible illness

Sure we may not look sick, and I would say for myself , I'm not all the time.

We fight a battle that you will never see, an internal battle that for some would be too hard to bear.

We don't talk about it, because it has become a part of us, and for those of you who don't have these side effects, well you just wouldn't understand.

How can you explain to a friend you have known for years that when you see them at a restaurant or store you can't remember their name?

Or when you have chronic joint and neck pain, that gets worse when when you get stressed out, how do you keep a smile on your face when you are sitting at your desk and greeting people at your job.

Or the chronic fatigue, being so damn tired all the time then trying to sleep and laying awake all night.

I have a lot of friends with invisible illnesses. 



Side effects from chemo

There are many more that I am not aware of, of this I am sure.

It's interesting because the more people I talk to the more I find out about their invisible illness.

You will never hear us complain about what we go through, except with each other.

We smile and laugh to ourselves when we hear others bitching about what a crappy day they had, if their computer stopped working or they had a flat.

If only I had a flat instead of chemobrain.  Flat tires are easy to fix.  Searching for words when they just aren't there isn't an easy fix, its especially difficult when you do a live radio show.

There is nothing like knowing what you want to say but can't say it and there is dead air.

But I am not  complaining, it's a part of me, unfortunately.  Something I have to live with most likely for the rest of my life.  It is simply an explanation.

So the next person you meet may be one of us, or may not be.  You will never know if they are one of us, one of the X Men.

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on  Available on demand, on Itunes and on the Podcasts app on your iphone

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

40 Deeds for Stacy Heath

Another guest blog, about a good friend

Stacy Heath was the most enthusiastic, passionate, fun-loving person most of us have ever known. She gave more of herself than she ever received from others. It was her mantra. She lived and breathed making other people happy. The connections she made, the grapevines she wove, were more often than not the glue that held relationships together. When she died suddenly and tragically in December from a hemorrhagic stroke, the gaping hole that was created in our daily lives was immense. Who could ever fill a space so uniquely hers?

Another dear friend of mine, Randi Hunter, also mourning this great loss confided in both Tom (Stacy's husband of 21 years) and I that she was going to do 40 Good Deeds in honor of Stacy on her birthday. “Instead of crying all day, I choose to do good deeds.” Hearing her positive spin on such a recent and tragic loss, we had to jump on board! Tom and I both agreed to take the day off of work and all together (with my husband) we are going to do 40 Good Deeds to celebrate Stacy in “true Stacy fashion” (as Randi says).

We decided to create a page to get the message out to her other friends and family so we could do it all together. We worked together to create the 40 Deeds page on Facebook in honor of Stacy Heath and her giving heart. The page caught on quickly; many people joined in our efforts to spread the word of 40 Deeds and within 36 hours the page had over 200 likes. Anyone who has ever come into contact with Stacy has been touched by her in some way; it’s a beautiful thing to see so many other people get involved.

Stacy didn’t just do good deeds one day, she did them every day. We would love for people to do daily good deeds and live the giving spirit that Stacy did. However, on this first birthday since we lost her, it will be particularly difficult for all of us. Hence the purpose for 40 Good Deeds on January 23rd, Stacy’s 40th Birthday.

Tom says “If Stacy were here, this is the sort of thing that she would orchestrate or at least passionately participate in.” Spreading this message of goodwill and seeing it ripple through Northern Michigan helps to heal our hearts. As we come together on her 40th Birthday, join us in committing to touch someone else’s life. If everyone did just one good deed, just imagine the impact that would have on our community, families and world. We can change the world one Good Deed at a time, One Day at a time…because that’s what Stacy Heath would want. She did them every day; she even gave the Gift of Life after passing away.

Xo – Anora O’Connor, Stacy’s Friend & Chosen Family
(Also with Randi Hunter, Dear Friend and Tom Heath, Husband of 21 years)