To What Will I Belong?

    Not sure that that I have time left for games and trifles, and yet nevertheless that’s what I often seem to do—engage in things as distractions and indulgences, as if I did not value myself and my particular gifts and potential to make a distinct mark and contribution to this world. I haven’t done it. I’ve written a novel this year, but it’s another distraction. It’s a mystery novel of no particular virtue, and no particular offering other than a weak allegory to my own suffering and interrupted life and, my sense of lack of control. It's an interpretation of myself as a victim of disease, traumatized and struggling to rebuild. So much weakness and vulnerability, and, dammit, I should admit it: humanity. I disappoint myself. 

    Although the chemo was a supposed success for the second time, the oncologist hopes that a referral to Canada’s major centre might yield my participation in a clinical trial that may help to ensure I make it to six months-plus without progression of disease. I've had ovarian cancer in the neck, in the brain, in the para-aortic lymp nodes. It's never looked good. Still. I have trouble accepting that the point of my lovely doctor's current minimalist goal is simply to be able to re-use platinum-based treatment again in the future. 

    This is supposedly happy news.

     At this point, I should be used to these conversations. I should be resigned and accepting of the fate that has befallen me. And yet, if I wax romantic, I would express the yearning and the sadness that arises in me. It comes up like a spring from deep within, from this place where I have become numb and yet which somehow seems to be a gorge for powerful eruptions, of feelings of regret that I have not been able to better use the potential I might have had to make my mark. 

    I feel like I have not done anything particularly lasting or important. I’ve done nothing more than learn how to be myself, and at that only poorly, in my view. I’ve spent so much time in distress over what others have thought of me, or distraught about what I ought to be doing, where I fit, what path was the right one. I’ve dithered and changed my mind multiple times about all sorts of things, committed and then reneged, excelled and then abandoned… I’ve been like a puppy with no attention span. To have gotten to be over forty… and still be like this.

    In spite of this, I don’t acknowledge in that little vignette the marriage and the life I have made with my husband. Our shared life is comfortable and nurturing. It is safe and tight. We are partners and best friends. We have made something that is ineffably good, unique to our characters, and, although I have no destiny left to fulfill what I might have become, I have left my mark perhaps on Blaine. Perhaps all my hope must rest in him and in his potential now. 

    Maybe it is through this man that I will leave something for this earth.

    Humility is what I am learning in this life. I have had such a giant ego. This has been a very useful trait, as it has been a protective casing against many forces and so I am grateful and I treasure this strength. Hidden within it is this softness, too, which I also treasure: I know I carry a gentleness that sees the needs of others and reflexively moves to make space for them, even to fulfill them where I may. Inclusion and recognition are values I hold in social settings. No one should be denied, no one left out. No one in tears, no one in isolation wanting to belong. I have been in those places; I know what it feels like. That sense of feeling like I didn’t belong was perhaps the most impactful experience of my childhood and the most motivating force of my character later in life.

    So, now my fate is to wish that I belonged to the next fifty years, however much I evidently don’t. In the remaining months, maybe one or two years, of relative health, to what will I belong? Where will I fit? Where will my destiny take me, or am I already here?


4 people threw a punch at your cancer.
Sterling sent you a prayer.
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There are no words. Know that you are loved.
1 Very Palpable Hit, Liane like this comment
Thanks, Helen. xx
Palp - I admire very much your eloquent and profound observations and commentary. Every time that you post and I see a notification in my inbox, I pretty much interrupt whatever I'm doing and take the time to read it. You are an exceptional writer and a beautiful human being.

Looking forward to your next post.

What encouragement, Jenn. Thank you! That must be every writer's dream. :)
Is your Ovca the LMP type? I know of a woman, Stage 4 at dx who lived for 20 years with this type. I don't know if this counts, but you've made an impression on me and obviously many others here. My intention is not to sound like some visionary or wise old sage, and though most likely young enough to be my daughter, it's you who are the wise sage. You'll figure everything out as you age. This reminded me of the poem I read at my Stepfather's funeral, "The Dash". Maybe you know it? 😘
Laurie likes this comment
Hi Marcia. I'm sorry, I don't know The Dash... also, I don't know what LMP means (so I guess that suggests it's not my type). I have serous epithelial ovca. That one is the most fatal... but also the one the researchers are focusing on the most, too. So, the trouble of course is living long enough to age into wisdom. But, meanwhile, I go to my sources of wisdom literature. :) Thanks for replying and sharing your strength!
Marcia likes this comment
Low Malignany Progression. I will google your type though and read about it. I'm so thankful that they are focusing on your type! They should do that for the more aggressive types 👍🏻. I like when I see you have posted! I send two hugs; one for you and one for your hubs. 😘
Ha! I definitely don't have that type... ;) very aggressive, very malignant.
You certainly have a gift for writing !

The past is done and out of our hands.

The future is indeterminate.
Some "healthy" people pass unexpectedly. So nobody knows the future. If people were able to predict the future, there'd be a whole lot more billionaires.

So as long as your doctors haven't given up... there's some hope.

You do sound like you are blessed with a supportive husband.
Lean on him and let him know how much he means to you.
That could enrich both of you.

Anybody who has been diagnosed with cancer understands your feelings and supports you.

Meanwhile, please don't let your gifts go unused.

Peace to you.
1 Very Palpable Hit likes this comment
These are sound and helpful observations, Sterling. Thank you.
You amaze me.
Such profoundness from someone who has been gifted with a beautiful sense of humour drives home the point how we all are trying to put up a brave face to our impending death. Fortunately my culture allows me to die peacefully even if I have not made any difference to this world, because we are all but puppets in God's hand, he created the circumstances and gave the strength and fortitude to face them. We have control over our thoughts and actions but not on the consequences, so even when despair hits me (to be abondoning my kids even before they get married) it does not last for more than an hour or two. You write so beautifully and give expression to many of our emotions, hence remind yourself that your posts do make a difference to your friends on the net and in this forum. I too am in a clinical trial to check the equivalence of Indian drug to that of Belgian liposomal doxyrubicin for platinum resistant recurring ovarian cancer, so even by enrolling in a trial is a significant contribution to the society and however short the extension be, it offers an oppurtunity to do things differently. As long as our body tolerates the chemo, I guess we have to endure!
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Vital Info


July 10, 2011

Ontario, Canada

June 15, 1976

Cancer Info

Ovarian Cancer

June 28, 2011

Stage 4

over 6.1

Grade 3


The losses of my future and a good deal of my present.

You are as much about what you don't do as what you do.

You all do it. :)

Complementary therapies of massage, acupuncture, diet, meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, and naturopathic medicine.

supraclavicular (aka scalene) lymph nodes, both right and left; pelvic, abdominal lymph nodes; fallopian tube. Brain 2016. Para aortic lymph nodes 2018.

They all want my tissue.

The gift of your presence is especially important.

Seek out all possible solutions.

Accept all the love and support that comes your way and marvel.

November 23, 2011

April 11, 2012

Twice so far.

I found a lump in my neck above my collarbone, and I had been having shortness of breath when speaking and exercising. Also tightness of upper chest when exercising.

TBD, Feb 2016 - Brain

Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope


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