Time Warp Tuesday: Cancer

by Kathy on May 14, 2013 · 9 comments

in Blog Hops, Cancer, Family, Friends, Game Changers, Journey, Life, Loss, Love, Memories, Odds, Parenting, Relationships, Time Warp Tuesdays


Let’s do the Time Warp again!

Welcome to the 31st installment of my blog hop/writing exercise called Time Warp Tuesday!

For those not familiar with Time Warp Tuesdays, which I host on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, here is the background of how and why I came up with the idea. If you are here to participate and link up, you can do so with the Linky Tools at the end of this post (or if you have any difficulty, you can share the link to your post in the comment section).

The gist of Time Warp Tuesday is to revisit and share some of our favorite blog entries from our archives and reflect on our journeys since we wrote them.

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The theme for this month’s Time Warp Tuesday is: Cancer

Most every year on Mother’s Day, since not long after I became a mother, I get up early and walk in our neighborhood breast cancer awareness walk in honor of members of our community who have survived breast cancer and those who have died from it. For that reason, I often associate cancer with the month of May. In this day and age it is hard to not have been touched somehow by cancer. Maybe you or someone you know personally has battled some type of cancer. Maybe a love one of yours has survived or sadly, maybe someone close to you has died because they had cancer. Choose a post from your archives in which you talk about cancer. It might be about your personal experience or a more general post about this disease. Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.

Participants can write about whatever you want in your new blog entries. However, for those who might have needed some help and inspiration to get started, here are some questions to consider:

Note: If you have an idea for a future Time Warp topic, theme and/or writing prompt, please feel free to share it in the comment section or send me an email. If I choose to use your idea, I will give you credit and link to your blog that week.

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Time Warp Tuesday: Cancer

As Mel, shared in her post Cancer x 3  last week, our ALI Community has been touched deeply by cancer, especially in recent days, including the death of one of our own, MLO. May she rest in peace.

As I began to work on this post, around the same time I read Mel’s, I was very aware of the irony of the theme I had selected last month to reflect on for Time Warp this month. When I chose this topic I had a specific post in mind that I intended to revisit and reflect on. It seemed obvious to me, as it is one of the only blog entries I recall ever writing about cancer. But I kept putting off finishing it, as I wasn’t feeling as inspired as I have many times in the past in preparation for Time Warp Tuesday.

On Saturday evening, Bob and I decided to watch a movie after the kids went to bed. We have accumulated a number that we have wanted to see for a while on our DVR and had a decent selection of genres and story lines to choose from. One of our options was a movie that I thought I remembered a friend/fellow blogger writing about soon after she saw it in the movie theater when it was released. I recall reading the beginning of her post and then stopping myself, realizing that I didn’t want to know anymore until after I had seen the movie myself. I figured after I watched it I would revisit her post. That was almost two years ago!

As Bob and I reviewed the movies in our queue, I recalled that the same one my friend posted about focuses on one man’s experience with having cancer and how that impacts his life and relationship with loved ones. I half-jokingly told Bob if we watched it, that it might help move me to finish my Time Warp blog entry about Cancer.

I had no idea how true that would turn out to be.

As we watched 50/50, I laughed (a lot) and cried (some) too. I was touched by the story and especially struck by the quality of the writing and character development. I kept asking Bob to pause so I could comment on a clever plot device (such as the main character, Adam, never having learned to drive) or discuss how certain characters (such as Adam’s father who had Alzheimer’s) added unique dynamics to relationships. One of my favorite moments in the movie is an interaction that Adam has with his father before going into the operating room for potential life saving or ending surgery. This was in part because I know first-hand what it feels like to deeply love family members who have Alzheimer’s and how bittersweet our relationship was as the disease progressed prior to their deaths.

At one point I asked Bob to pause the movie again so I could confirm that my friend had indeed written about 50/50. I searched her blog and found the post I had in mind. I read the beginning for the second time in two years and once again stopped myself before reading more, knowing that the next time I returned I would have finally seen the movie. Before Bob pressed play on our remote again, I told him I just had an “a-ha” moment related to my blog! As you can imagine, he was on the edge of his seat and couldn’t wait to hear what I had to say.

I told Bob that through revisiting my friend’s post that night, I realized I could bend my own Time Warp rules and choose to reflect on her post this month, instead of one of my own!

What I love about this is that I was considering taking a break from Time Warp as after 30+ rounds, I was starting to not enjoy the process as much, as I felt like I had exhausted a lot of topics and angles and was struggling to keep it fresh. But I feel like opening it up for everyone who participates to reflect on our own posts OR someone else’s is a game changer that can breathe some new life into this writing exercise/blog hop!

This also reminds me of  Jjraffe’s post awhile back about the blog entries that have stuck with her over time. This is sort of a spin-off of that, in that going forward Time Warpers can choose to revisit one post each month that have stuck with us from others’ blogs (or of course we can still use our own).

That being said, here is the post that Melissa Ford, from Stirrup Queens, wrote in October 2011:

50/50 and the Smother Mother

It was such a thrill for me to finally get to/allow myself to read past the introduction to this post, so many months after I fist became aware of it. I loved the movie and how it portrays the realities of and humor in living with cancer. I especially appreciated how writer Will Reiser (whom Mel gives fascinating background on and insights about) shows the impact a cancer diagnosis, with a 50/50 prognosis, can have on a person’s relationships with family, friends and even a therapist that Adam works with throughout his journey.

I really like the analogy Mel makes in her post between the experience of living with cancer to dealing with infertility:

Somehow the movie works, pointing out the absurd in the same way that… let’s say… A Little Pregnant points out the absurdity in infertility.  Infertility and cancer are not funny, but in the hands of a gifted writer, we can have the release that comes from laughing while you’re crying.

So true.

I often thought about the uncomfortable questions and interactions infertile people and those who have experienced the death of a child, among other circumstances, are faced with. When life doesn’t go how we hope, dream or plan it will, we learn so much about ourselves and our loved ones. We find out how our family, friends, coworkers and others are able to deal with (or not) our diagnosis and prognosis and often true colors shine through (which can be a blessing or a curse).

I was in high school the first time I remember meeting someone who had cancer. Mrs. F was one of my friend’s mothers and she had breast cancer. If I recall correctly, she had been in remission for a few years when it returned. It broke my heart to watch Mrs. F, my friend and their family suffer as her condition got progressively worse. I recall one of the last times I saw Mrs. F, she was in a hospital bed in their home, receiving hospice care. It was so bittersweet to say goodbye to the woman who made sure she always had Nilla Wafers in her pantry when I came over to visit, because she knew how much I liked them, and who created beautiful and personalized gingerbread cookies for her loved ones every year during the holiday season.

Though I tried to be supportive of my friend, after her mom died things changed, our relationship changed, and we grew a part. But I have never forgotten my friend or her mom. I think about Mrs. F from time to time, especially when I find out someone I know has cancer or one of their loved ones does. I think about Mrs. F and wonder how my friend/her daughter is doing over 20 years later. I also think of Mrs. F and my friend every year on Mother’s Day, when I participate in our neighborhood’s annual Breast Cancer Walk, often with my own mother, who celebrated her 70th birthday last year and I feel very lucky to still have in my life.

Another thing that struck me about Mel’s post, were some sort of unintended, but welcome, insights indirectly related to cancer and the movie 50/50. Mel talks about how the relationship Adam has with his “smother mother” in the movie resonated with her, because she is one (or at least saw herself that way when she wrote the blog entry in October 2011). I remembered as I read her post that at the time she wrote it there had been a slew of posts in the blogosphere that I was aware of discussing/debating the merits of various parenting styles (including “helicopter parenting” and “free-range parenting”). Many bloggers I follow weighed in about their parenting styles and/or opinions about others’ approaches. So Mel seemed to be using her blog entry to comment in her own way on that hot topic back then.

The parenting styles discussion that Mel broaches in her blog entry, which continues in the comment sections, resonates with me at this time in my life and stage of parenting our nine-year old son and three-year old daughter. I try to be the best mother I can to my living children, but realize that I am not perfect and no one approach to or method of parenting is going to work for us all of the time. Mel’s thoughts on parenting, which can also be applied to living with cancer (or adoption/infertility/loss for that matter) or supporting a loved one who is in that situation, really spoke to me, especially this:

The thing is, I live my life without regrets.  That is, I try to live my life without regrets because it is the only way I feel comfortable.  We have run up against a lot of other people’s desires for our children, and my life is a series of weighing them against my what ifs and making informed decisions…. It’s about living with myself, about respecting my own intuition.  And yes, my intuition is sometimes wrong.  But it’s also sometimes right.  And the only way I can live without regrets is to follow that intuition.  Accept the consequences of following that intuition, knowing full well that it pisses off people along the way, but also knowing that anyone who really has my back also accepts my irrational what ifs; my strongly honed intuition….

At the end of the day, I don’t think there is a right way to parent.  I think there is only a right way to parent your particular children.  I am wary of parenting experts who tell you what you should or shouldn’t do because they are making those statements in a bubble, without knowing your circumstances or how your children react to your parenting techniques.

Trying to live without regrets and not be so hard on ourselves or our loved ones isn’t easy, but I do believe it is a worthwhile goal for anyone, especially those battling cancer, struggling with infertility, grieving the loss of a child, trying to adopt, parenting adopted children and/or doing our best to raise healthy, confident and well-adjusted children.

Finally, something that stood out to me while reading the comments on Mel’s blog entry about 50/50 and the Smother Mother, is how many of those who chose to comment I know better now than I did back then. That knowledge allowed me to see their words from a different perspective, especially knowing how far they have come on their own journeys since commenting on Mel’s post.

Thank you for reading and for doing the Time Warp with me this month! I look forward to your feedback about this post, as well as reading and commenting on all of yours.

Please feel free to comment even if you didn’t write your own Time Warp Tuesday post. It is not too late to participate if you are interested, click here for the details.

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The topic for the next Time Warp Tuesday (on June 11th) is: Decisions

We have to make them every day, for ourselves and often for loved ones, such as our children, elderly parents, employees, students, etc. Some decisions come more easily than others. Choose a post from your archives OR another blogger’s in which you or they wrote about a time when a decision needed to be made. Maybe it was a difficult decision that you or the other blogger really struggled to come to terms with. Or maybe the choice that was made was an easy decision based on your or the other blogger’s self-knowledge and approach to living.  Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since it was written.

Participants can write about whatever you want in your new blog entries. However, for those who might need some help and inspiration to get started, here are some questions to consider:

Why did you pick this post? Has your perspective changed since the day you wrote your original post or read the other blogger’s? Do you think you would still feel the same way if you were writing or reading the post today? What have you learned about yourself, your family and your life since you wrote or read the original post?

Note: If you have an idea for a future Time Warp topic, theme and/or writing prompt, please feel free to share it in the comment section or send me an email. If I choose to use your idea, I will give you credit and link to your blog that week.

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For those new to Time Warp Tuesday, here is a quick recap of how it works:

1) Browse through your old blog entries or another blogger’s to find one that fits the topic for the given month. The topic is shared at the end of the previous month’s “Time Warp Tuesday” post here on my blog (see above for next week’s topic).

2) Write a new blog post in which you introduce, link to and then reflect on your journey since you wrote or read the older blog post and put it up on your blog on Tuesday. Please include this link http://bereavedandblessed.com/projects-regular-series/time-warp-tuesdays/ in your blog entry, so your readers can find their way to my post with the list of other participants, in case they would like to read more or participate themselves.

3) Share the link to your new post here on Tuesday and then visit, read and comment on the other blogs.

4) After you have done all of these things, you are welcome to grab the code for the Time Warp Tuesday button by clicking here and put it on your blog. The link will take you to a Google Doc where you can copy the code. If your browser does not allow access to your computer’s clipboard, you can use Ctrl-C for Copy and Ctrl-V for Paste, or use your browser’s Edit menu.

5) Check back here on the 2nd Tuesday of the month to find out the new topic, theme or question for the next Time Warp Tuesday (I welcome your ideas and suggestions) and then return to Step 1 of this recap to participate. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope to see you back here next month: Tuesday, June 11th (the 2nd Tuesday of the month), when we’ll “do the time warp again!”

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Thank you again for reading, commenting and participating in my Time Warp Tuesday blog hop. Link up below and click through to visit others who are doing the Time Warp! (If you have any trouble with Linky Tools, please share the link to your blog entry in the comment section. Also, please don’t forget to comment on my post here, as I do not have a link to this (my own) post below, but I would still really appreciate your feedback. xoxo


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel May 14, 2013 at 8:36 am

Ah! I had no clue that was the post you were thinking of.

I think this is especially appropriate today with Angelina Jolie’s op/ed, and the fact that we all just need to make our own decisions so we can live without regrets, and screw everyone else’s opinion because they don’t need to live our life.
Mel recently posted..Angelina Jolie and the Big What IF?My Profile

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Kathy May 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

Interesting! I wondered if you would happen to check your blog’s analytics over the weekend and notice that someone (me) searched for 50/50 on Saturday night.

I couldn’t believe it when I woke up this morning and heard about Angelina’s Op-Ed! Apparently we were both moved to write/share about cancer today. Between your Cancer x 3 post last week and now Angelina’s piece today, it does seem very ironic/serendipitous that I happened to choose this Time Warp topic last month for today.

And I agree, I think we all need to make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time and hopefully thus can live without regrets.
Because, as you say, we are the only ones living our lives and that’s what matters. Easier said than done sometimes though…

Speaking of decisions, that is next month’s topic! I wonder if another celebrity will write an Op-Ed about that on the second Tuesday in June?! ;)
Kathy recently posted..Gatekeeping (10th Edition)My Profile

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Em May 14, 2013 at 9:47 am

I heard about this movie a long time ago, but now I really need to see it! Thanks for introducing it to me all over again!
Em recently posted..churchMy Profile

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Kathy May 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

You are welcome Em! Let me know what you think after you see it.

I hope that you had a wonderful and peaceful Mother’s Day this weekend. I know how bittersweet it can be when you have experienced loss and want so much to have more children. (((HUGS)))
Kathy recently posted..Celebrating and Remembering this Mother’s DayMy Profile

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Deborah May 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

Mel is right, the timing for this topic is perfect! I know exactly which post I would want to write about. It’s going to be a busy day, but I’ll try to get to it before the end of the day.
Deborah recently posted..Sick BoyMy Profile

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Kathy May 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

I agree and would love for you to join us! Looking forward to reading the post you choose to revisit and your new one reflecting on it. :)
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Lori Lavender Luz May 14, 2013 at 10:53 am

We just passed the 2 year mark of the death of my MIL to lung (nonsmokers) cancer. I don’t have a new entry for the bloghop, but revisiting the old entry makes me see again what a monumental loss my husband and children and FIL/SIL have endured.

And still, life goes on…May is a lovely month for renewal, isn’t it? (In the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).
Lori Lavender Luz recently posted..What I Learned About Openness in Adoption By Writing a Book on Open AdoptionMy Profile

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Kathy May 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

Wow! Has it really been 2 years already? That feels surreal. Holding you and your family close in my thoughts and prayers at this milestone. These anniversaries can be so bittersweet.

And you right, live does go on and we need to do our best to learn to live without our loved ones who left this world too soon. May is a lovely month for renewal, thank you for helping me to remember/focus on that. xoxo
Kathy recently posted..The Open-Hearted Way to Open AdoptionMy Profile

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