Where have all the flowers gone?

Flowers mark life for this cancer survivor.

I’m still here as the spring flowers are starting to pop up in my garden.  With a smile on his face, my son dragged me outside to see the crocuses peeking up throughout the garden when the snow began to melt away.  They are here!!!  Spring is here!!!  And….I’m still here!!!

I know I’ve been living this way for many months, but it’s still very strange. I never know if I will be here next month, next week or tomorrow. When I was hospitalized last month, my oncologist stopped in to see me right before I left and I asked him if he was surprised that I was still here – in this world. He hesitated a little before he answered. He was honest – he said yes. 

I began on Hospice care when I left the hospital. I really believed I wasn’t even going to ever leave the hospital. I was pretty sure this was it. Even though Hospice cares for people for many months before they die and has tried to extend their image that they go beyond just end-of-life-care. No one seems to believe that. I tried to become the cooperative Hospice patient and ordered a bracelet announcing my DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) intention. I couldn’t think of any hospital equipment that I needed at home to help my stay during my last few weeks.  So, I ordered a shower chair. Then I invited my sister over to take showers in my house so she could use the chair. She thought that was very funny, but wasn’t interested. Neither was I.

And so, I didn’t die.

So, I canceled the bracelet and sent back the chair. Slowly I began to feel better and began walking 1-2 miles a day again. I guess it’s not my time yet. I am afraid we might be getting a bit relaxed and forgetting that I still could go any moment. I don’t want us to be shocked by reality. 

Man Makes Plans, the Universe Laughs. 

Family members and friends are becoming fully vaccinated and want to visit so we are setting up plans. As I make menus and plan activities for all my visitors, I am becoming afraid that I might be tempting fate or the universe. What’s that old expression? Will the universe laugh at my plans? So, I started helping my husband plan my funeral. I hoped that funeral plans balance party plans to keep the universe happy. The funeral sounds like a fun event. Somehow I’d like to be there!

As a forever planner, it’s a bit strange to not make plans for all my visiting guests. But, I am not making too many party plans. I’m keeping it simple. It feels important to me that I remind myself that anything can change in a flash. I feel much better in the safety and comfort of my own home. I need my stuff around me. I need my routines. I compare myself to my grand-daughter. We like to be close to the people and things that help us feel safe. Fun is good, but in small doses, a little at a time. In the meantime, I’m back to living again. In just small doses!


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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.

4 thoughts on “Where have all the flowers gone?”

  1. Each day, whatever size the dose of Kathy Braier you portion out, is wonderful and perfect. I am thankful and blessed by you. You bless so many people. Love always, Mary K

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so wonderful to read this Kathy. Your upbeat natural ways are like the spring itself, beautiful, refreshing, clear and real. We are so happy to hear you are enjoying daily walks, the spring blooms, and making plans to see friends and family again! Knowing that you are able to enjoy these blessings is huge, whatever the dosage! ❤️ Hugs and love to you! Mary & Avery

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love you so much and will look at spring’s arrivals in a new and simpler way due to your perspective. I can’t imagine you not in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You always remind us how to be full of grace, self compassion, and how to love the simple joys. Your writing helps me to better understand your process of living with a terminal illness. Enjoy all the little surprises Spring brings. Love you, my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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