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  • Writer's pictureChrisCutler


Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Pressure does two things – bursts pipes and creates diamonds. ~ Brian Cook

It can happen quite quickly as you're driving down the road: A vehicle in front of you rolls over a pebble, and the little stone attaches itself to the tire long enough to become a projectile that hits your windshield at just the right speed and location to chip the outer sheet of glass. Pressure stresses the bullseye, and more little cracks spread from its epicenter.

That's a long way of introducing the fact that, after five months, my reserve finally cracked last week. For some reason, touching my bald head just as the theme from Camelot (the movie my husband had started to watch) swelled over the opening credits set me off.

"I'm going to lie down in the bedroom," I said to Mike and walked the 35 or so steps from my recliner to my bed where I broke down. I cried like I have not cried in years. Ugly crying. Sobbing. Water gushing from my eyes. I understood, I said to Mike, how some people want to end it all after feeling so sick for so long. I felt it.

And the guilt hit me again for feeling sorry for myself when there are so many more people fighting a more difficult battle than I. . .when there are so many fighting COVID. . . when there is so much suffering. The nurses tell me that I should not feel guilty, that everyone going through this suffers in different ways, that I need to concentrate on getting through my treatment.

I wonder, at times, if all of this would be as difficult as it is if we were all not fighting this pandemic. It is so much more dangerous for anyone with a compromised immune system to go out because of COVID. Would life feel different if we didn't have to worry about the virus in addition to everything else? Would we feel safer if we didn't have to worry that the behavior of others put us in danger?

It is such a vicious circle.

My last chemo infusion is Monday, and while I am happier than I can ever tell you about that, I am also more anxious than I have been for the other three since I know what is coming. I try not to think about it and instead concentrate on the fact that in one month, I will not have to worry about another chemo treatment and will hopefully feel better.

Radiation will follow chemo, so in 10 days, I meet with the radiation oncologist to decide when that starts. I face the decision again as to whether I should stay here for that treatment or go to Moffitt. My heart pulls me one way (and probably part of the reason for my breakdown), and my head pulls me in another (also part of the reason for the breakdown).

Here's the bottom line: I don't want to make any more decisions. I don't want to have to worry any longer. I want this over. I want to feel normal again.

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Aug 10, 2020

Not a single reason to feel guilty about “feeling sorry for yourself”, you are going through hell on earth! Wish I could wrap my arms around you and squeeze until you felt strength flow from the pressure! People good at Reiki don’t have to use a lot of pressure. Do you kniw anyone who practices it? Anything life changing is so difficult to deal with, especially health crisis! The flagrant bullshit the entire country is dealing with only seems to deepen these wounds. My hope is that like a horrible bedsore, it will serve to debris the wounds so that true healing will happen, finally! I had a hysterical moment like that in Cleveland right before my hip surgery last…


Aug 09, 2020

Often I have no idea what to write back to you, to offer support. Your writing is so raw and real. In the middle of this difficult time, writing helps you, but I believe that you are helping others so much more.

You are in my prayers to have the strength to keep on keeping on. Because you are a gift to so many .........your words, your strength, and sharing when you do not feel strong. You are obviously way stronger than you believe.


Aug 07, 2020

That moment of total breakdown and vulnerability is not easily forgotten but it’s in those moments I found first despair and then giant relief that I allowed it all out. I chose the shower with music on so that Jim couldn’t hear me. In that despair I added many other things that I was upset about and I gutterally cried out for my mother. Over and over until I had no energy left. Unfortunately, the clarity and resolve I was hoping to garner from the outburst took some time and more guttural despair to come, but it was a process I had to go through.

I will pray that you have the courage to face this last treatment and peace…


Aug 07, 2020

I don't know how you manage to write so coherently even as you describe breaking down with such precision. I hope (and suspect) the writing helps.

I once read that people who are trained to deal with hostage takers break down their resistance to giving in by presenting them with a lot of decisions, many of them small and others not so much. I don't even know if it's true, but I understand the feeling of the responsibility of having too many decisions to make, when they all feel huge and all have consequences. I agree with you that with everything you are going thru, COVID-19 certainly adds to the tremendous uncertainty and overwhelming burden.

ANd wouldn't it be nice…

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