Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reluctant Poster Child

I haven't been writing much lately. I know.

Recently, I started to come to this unsettling realization that all people think about when they see me is cancer, cancer, cancer. I talk! I blog! I raise money! I require assistance at times! I feel like I've become a one-trick pony of the most unfortunate sort. And I've become so bored/annoyed by it all that honestly, I haven't been able to muster a sentence more about the topic in the past two weeks.

Part of it is my own fault. I'm the damn person who started the blog, the one who yammers away in detail about everything that's on her mind for the whole world to hear. I'm the one who tells you how chemo feels, about when my next scan will be, about my deepest fears and hopes. I recently told a friend that sometimes I feel like the "Ellen" of the cancer world, the young woman coming out, guns blazing, for all the world to witness. I'm now annoying MYSELF a little bit.

And maddeningly, all this talk centers around the one aspect of my life I hate the most. Not to mention, the one that least defines who I am. Cancer is something that happened to me, randomly. It's nothing I chose, and it sure as hell doesn't say a thing about the type of person I am. It was just plain ol' shit luck. Like getting rear-ended on the freeway. Or getting both legs broken. (Except, way worse). For those of you who knew me prior to November 2009, there were probably a number of ways you would have described me. You might have said, "I work with her" or, "She talks a lot", or even, "She's tall". Among many (hopefully more interesting) other things.

Now, if anyone asked you about me, your first response would be, "Cancer." Then you might describe the other parts of me. Isn't it the truth?

Why do I care? I'm sick of it because I don't feel that way about myself. I feel like it should be more like my 8th or 9th bullet point. It's something I am forced to think about. A pesky thorn in my side. An enormous, pesky thorn. And it's not getting the best of me yet, either. I feel totally healthy, except right after chemo, of course. I have loads of great people. The kids amaze me every day. We are looking to buy a new house, planning for the future. Things are happening! I spend my days feeling happy, and I honestly don't focus on cancer, except when I have to. And sometimes I do. But I definitely don't feel sorry for myself, and you shouldn't either.

I guess I just hope you understand that there's a still a balance in my life. Whomever "you" might be, and if you are even reading. And I hope I project that sense of balance, because if I don't, I'm not relaying the entire story. And at this point in the story, the C-word has officially bored me to tears. No, worse: to silence.

As has this particular post. So let's end it now.


  1. When I think of you, I don't think of cancer first. I think about lemonade at Frisch's Balboa thinking it was terrific, and mint frappes, among other quirky things.


  2. Beautiful post, Beautiful Shelly.

  3. I don't think of cancer at all! I love reading your blogs because I love the way you write, I love the way you tell funny stories and how it connects us to you and helps us laugh with you! Mostly though I love you and don't see you enough so this is my selfish way of stocking you and keeping up on your life outside of WWF and play dates! :-)

  4. Dear Shelly,
    This is your cousin in Denver at long last posting a comment. Having spent so many summers with all the "Baker Boys" and having Aunt Bess and Uncle Dick (he was my most favorite and my godfather as well) I feel like a should know you better than I do.It doesn't surprise me at all that you are such a remarkable young woman. I was going through some old photos and came across several of Uncle Rhody from 1948. I used them as a test of my scanning skills (minimum at best)and burned a CD for Rhody. Would you like one as well? It might be fun for your kids to see their Uncle in diapers! If so, would you e mail me your address?
    I think of you often with compassion and smiles at your strength and joy in life.
    By the way, a son and daughter in law of a friend of mine also live in Seattle...not that you would ever come across them...just a little tidbit!
    More soon.

  5. When I think of you, I thing about how annoying it is that I never see you! And theaht I want you to move to Bainbridge. And speaking French.
    And I think of Toledo and how I love tahlking in my Toledo EAHccent with you eand how much I miss theaht.

    Your sentiment reminds me of what my friend Glenn says in his book, "Cancer is just fucking unfortunate."

    o.s. I also think of your hair. Cuz it's feahbulous!