I’m Not a Hero

I’m just someone surviving pancreatic cancer.

I don’t mind being your role model for living with pancreatic cancer or any cancer. My Mom died from lung cancer. And yes, she was a smoker, like so many people in the 50’s and 60’s –  smoking and evening cocktails was a cultural way of life. To me as a child, it was a cool adult way to live and I joined in the art of drinking and having a smoke as soon as I could start sneaking them. But, those activities didn’t work out so well for me and I quit while my body agreed I could quit. 

I still salute my Mom as she struggled with cancer and I think about her often these days. I remember one time that I froze in my chair when she asked the doctor how long she had to live. I was stunned she was brave enough to ask that question. And she didn’t even cry. She had moved into my home so I could take care of her and we developed a very close, quiet, comfortable relationship. My Mom was a brilliant woman who was driven in life; she had an intensity of living that propelled her to be an important glass-ceiling breaker for women in the accounting world. The women who came behind her were very lucky she had traveled that road first. I am so happy that I had such a wonderful role model who lives on in my heart as she helps me today through my own journey.

Thus, I would be honored to be a role model for anyone who travels down the cancer road after me. I don’t want to be a hero just because I am on this road. I am no different than anyone else who has had to face challenges. Every one of you would rise to the occasion, look cancer in the face and do your best to survive. And you would become the role model for the people who come after you!

You are also the all-important support system for those of us already on the journey. Without you, we could not travel along this road. No one can do this alone. So, thank you for joining and supporting me.

The best thing everyone recently did, that was wonderful, was to enjoy my imaginary I’m Still Standing Party! I received texts all afternoon with pictures of people clinking glasses in cheers, sending hugs and blessings in celebration of my party. People enjoyed all the imaginary food and bragged about the great homemade guacamole! I am glad everyone enjoyed the Elton John song playing in the imaginary background! Someone even sent a picture of the snow angel they made in my honor! Some said it was the best imaginary party they ever attended! I certainly could never have had an imaginary 3rd-year anniversary party if you all couldn’t abandon your reality for a moment and join in the fun.

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This is my blog about living my life with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer—End stage. I joked about writing this imaginary blog when I spent a year on a treatment that allowed me only 10 days to feel well enough to live a fairly normal life. (Actually normal doesn’t even really exist for me anymore!) To earn those good days, I spent the previous 10 days living in post-chemo treatment physical hell – that also became normal in a perverse way. I’m also writing to honor those who are diagnosed with Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. You might live longer than you expect and I want you to have someone who tells you what that’s like. There aren’t many role models for people with this because, well, they’re usually gone. So, this is for you. Maybe your journey will be similar to mine. Actually, it will probably be very different because “everyone is different.” Even still, maybe this will still be a bit of a guide.

2 thoughts on “I’m Not a Hero”

  1. Kathy you have always been such a positive force and I’ve always admired you greatly! After your diagnosis you only have inspired me even more. I didn’t know the story of your mother and it’s clear you have her strength. You are so loved by me and so, so many others – but you already knew that :-). XOXOXO
    – Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy, what an insightful story about your mother. I didn’t know anything about her! She sounds like an amazing woman and role model… wow! I can tell you that I have admired you since first meeting you back in 2000. Your attitude, energy, insight, and overall outlook are the attributes that have anointed you with the role model title in my book (even from way back), and they continue to shine through all the ups and downs you have gone through these past 3 years. Oh… and thank you for hosting the 3-yr anniversary party! It was great fun and we were so happy to attend! Sending hugs with loads of love your way! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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