Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Part II

Sorry for taking so long on that "to be continued". I recently was watching the "Sex and the City" movie, which my cousin was awesome enough to find online and burn for me, but it was burned on two disks. After all the drama and upheaval of the first half, the second disk wouldn't play! So, I know how you feel.

Vinay. The unfairness of his illness and early death renders indescribable emotion throughout my body- my stomach cramps, my chest feels hallow, and my skin feels prickly and foreign. Basically, as you know, when I first read that he had died, I... well, I lost my shit. I just cried and cried and cried. And, as I sniveled and heaved, I knew there was something off about my sorrow. I recognized that I had not cried like that when my grandmother died last November. I realized that I hadn't cried like that in perhaps more than a year, perhaps since the really hard physical times in 2006.

I called my sister and she patiently listened to me sob and when I declared, "This is NOT about me", she didn't argue. But it was. Of course it is.

I'm no psychologist, but I know that I've got issues. Everyone does, but the ones I have about my illness seem to be so carefully buried that I can pretend they don't exist. There is no room to complain, to feel sorry for oneself, to wail about your predicament-- there are simply way too many other people who have it worse. Plus, while cathartic, being negative is not an enjoyable way to live. It's so much easier to let my denial mechanisms insulate me from how much cancer fucking sucks. How unfair it is. How disruptive and painful it is. How fracking scary it is.

So, I hereby declare that I will find a counselor. So many of my friends swear by their amazing counselors. Hmmm... why then does my stomach seize up at the prospect?


Anonymous said...


I am so sorry about Vinay and the heartbreak it has caused you. I am thinking about you. Counseling...believe it or not...does wonders. I was in counseling for about a year after two miscarriages and let me just say, that sometimes it's nice to talk to someone who is not a family member or friend...someone who can't really pass any judgement on you. They give you a new perspective that you, family members or friends may not have considered. I hope it works out for you.

All my best,

ps...sometimes a good cry is the best medicine

Survivor08 said...


I first heard about your story thourgh your friend Michelle she was doing TNT with me in LA last summer in your honor. Ironically I got Hodgkins Lymphoma while midway through our season last year while raising money for a cure. As you know all to well..cancer sucks.

I have written once before, and have since followed along silently all the while praying for your recovery and forwarding your marrow video to everyone I know.

Reading your post today...well all I can say is I get it. The silent doubts and uncertainies cancer has brought to my world can at times bring me to my knees. For months there were no tears and I thought all was good..but the loss of a friend from cancer ..well you know.

I am on the prowl for a counselor myself...just wanted to let you know you are not alone...and I contine to be inspired by you.

All my best,


P.s. I have recovered enough to attempt a tri with TNT again...I hope you don't mind I listed you as one of the people I am doing it in honor of...

Anna said...

Hi sweetpea,

I entered therapy myself three weeks ago! As it turns out I tested for deep depression and mild anxiety disorder - wow it sounds so hardcore in clinical terms. I think therapy is a great way to go, just make sure you find the right one for you. That doesn't mean you will feel an electric connection in your first session, it takes time to build the therapeutic relationship. But try to get good references or referrals of some kind. psychological work can feel like opening pandora's box at times, but the benefits of opening up to yourself and getting to really know who you are and why you behave the way you do, as well as ultimately who you really want to be is very powerful. Repression is our survival instinct, but it doesn't do much for quality of life. I love you!

** SAVE MICHELLE ** said...

Hi Erica,

We've never met, but I feel very connected to you (that totally sounds weird and stalkerish huh?). I commented on your site a few times and check your blog regularly. When I relapsed with AML in May and found out that I had a mass in my brain AND had an appendicitis all in one world felt like it had fallen apart. My sister-in-law found a Cancer Coach for me and it has helped a lot (My coach is also a 4 time lymphoma survivor!). Let me know if you would like to talk to my coach.

Vinay was my boyfriend's friend and he was the first person I talked to when I found out I had AML. He is my rock and inspiration and I can't believe he's gone.

One day at a time....that's what everyone tells me.

Take care,
Michelle Maykin

Jim said...


I read your blog and enjoy your spirit. Your most recent post about Vinay/you was straight from the heart. It really left a mark with my wife, Dori, who is nine months post BMT today. When I read it, I knew where she/you were coming from.

Keep talking and venting, and love will continue to find you.


Samina said...

Don't lose hope about finding the right counselor for you - i totally ditto everything that anna said. She hit all the key points eloquently. I'll just say that I'm there for you all the way and keep at it - my rule of thumb is give them 4-6 sessions before you decide whether or not to find someone else. You can also do some phone screenings, and of course first choice is always referrals. Experience with chronic illness obviously is something you will be looking for, but gender, type of therapy, multicultural all that stuff ... anyway, good luck, and you know if you ever need to talk about it you have a long line of devoted friends waiting ... xo, sam

Anonymous said...

Hola nina bonita,

I was so sorry to read your last post. My prayers are with Vinay's family and friends. It is evident that he was, like you, an inspiration to those around you.
I just want to tell you that while I don't know much about counselors, the people around you who do seem to have very good advice about them. So, listen to your friends and to your beloved blog readers and I have faith you will find valuable help.
'Por fa' no te rindas, que todos y todas estamos aqui para ti! Recuerda que SIEMPRE puedes contar conmigo.

Te quiero mucho,


Jessie said...


I've never left you a comment before but I do follow your blog (we went to h.s. btw). I am a therapist myself by training and I didn't want to go to therapy for my own very messed up issues! How weird is that? I dropped out when it got too intense and had to force myself to go back.
And I read your post about meditation and I swear by it. Yoga and meditation, I exaggerate not, I believe saved by life and my mind.
I am thinking of you.

tomh said...

Hi Erica,

Thank you, first of all, for being so open and honest about your own needs. You are getting a lot of advice here, but don't be afraid to trust your gut - judging from all the posts I've read, it hasn't let you down yet.

Thinking about you, T. and S.

Roland said...

Hello, All: When I got the great news, I was overcome. I cannot begin to express my joy and relief. While I am not religious, I subscribe to Blaise Pascal's Wager regarding religion. So I think God has to do with this miracle. Of course Erica's unyielding spirit and medical advances also played a great part. Anyway, Erica has fought the hostile current and ridden it to victory. We have, collectively snatched her from the jaws of the disease. Let's all heave a sigh of relief and wish Erica continuing good health. If there may be uncertainty in the future, so we ALL have that uncertainty as well.
We love you, Erica. I cannot wait to see you Roland