Hold My Hand

“The best thing that belief can do for you is give you a sense of renewal every day.   It doesn’t matter if every dawn brings a new beginning if you are enclosed in the same old self.  By being aware of your most positive beliefs, you see new possibilities.  This is because every positive belief contains possibilities that naturally expand.  To love is to desire more love.  To be a survivor gives you more reason to survive… Positive beliefs are life supporting and they gain their power from your true self, which constantly motivates you to evolve and expand.” ~ Deepak Chopra.

I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. There is nothing (absolutely nothing) funny about cancer, but sometimes I just feel like I should be laughing.  Maybe at the absurdity of it all?  Maybe because I’m afraid that if I don’t laugh, I’ll never stop crying?  Maybe we laugh in order to try and cope with the injustice of the things that happen in this world that seem so crazy we almost can’t believe it.  Sometimes it all makes me question who I am, why I am here, and if there is a g-d (my answer still remains “yes,” despite all of the suffering in the world).

The juxtaposition of my emotions has me feeling labile and dare I say it, a little nutty (although I’m sure it’s all perfectly “normal”). I fluctuate between being super-positive (let’s get in there and zap this freakin’ cancer!) to wondering if I should be writing goodbye letters.  I’m on such a see-saw of emotions that I literally don’t know which side is up and which side is down.  Contact me at your own peril:  I can never predict if I’m going to be telling you jokes or crumpling to the floor.

This is the true face of cancer, I think.  You can go from the high of feeling so loved and connected to the low of wondering if it’s all going to come to an end much sooner than you had ever hoped.  You can worry that nobody will take care of your husband like you would have, or you can actually imagine yourself celebrating your 40th birthday.  I know it must be so crushing to read these words, to go that deep and raw.  Imagine living it.  Can you sit with me even during these emotionally turbulent times?  Even if you don’t know what to say?  Can you hold my hand?

Part of me wants to fall apart, but I’m not sure that I feel safe enough to do so. It’s not because anybody told me that I can’t or that I would look weak if I did.  It’s more because I’m never sure if I’ll be able to put myself back together again.  Humpty-Dumpty forever. That scares me.

And yet the other day, I have to admit, I cried three times. Once at work!  I emailed my friend M “I know this is normal, but I feel crazy.”  But by the time I put my head down on the pillow to go to sleep that night, I felt lighter.  It’s strange:  I’m a crier, for sure.  I love that commercial where the Dad makes her daughter all of these little paper birds out of gum wrappers and as she’s going off to college he finds that she’s kept a whole box of them throughout the years.  But OK, I mean, who’s not going to cry at that?  And yet when it comes to my own cancer, I don’t cry nearly as much as I thought that I would.

I’m told that there is more melanoma in my liver and as I await surgery, I can’t help but wonder what this means for the rest of my life (who wouldn’t?). And then I remember Deepak’s words and I think “To be a survivor gives you more reason to survive.”  The fear still lives, but so does the belief that new possibilities, new hopeful possibilities, are just around the corner.

I will hope.  I will cry.  I will survive. 



4 thoughts on “Hold My Hand

  1. You are incredible. You are such an inspiration to people going through anything close to what you go through and the emotional road that comes with it…and to the rest of us that need a good slap in the face. Your blog makes me wake up and look at life differently. You make me look at life differently. Xo


    • Thanks Jen for your continued support. Although I don’t believe that things “happen for a reason” or any of that other nonsense, I do know that I have learned an incredible amount since being diagnosed. For the first time maybe ever, I am so much more focused on finding the joy in even the little nooks of things. If somebody can feel that way about life just from reading my story, then I would love that. Sending you gushes of hugs. (Can hugs gush?). Sam. xoxo.


  2. Dear Sam, You have been giving the blessing and the curse of facing mortality close up more often than many of us have had to. Ugh! I know you’d give away that option, if you could. It is the human reality from which most of us try to hide. Yet there is a wisdom, a deepening, a bravery, an honesty coming from within you as you walk through all this. I’m sorry you have to travel this path. Where are the magic wands when we need them?! But I’m grateful for your speaking to the fears we all face or will face. In your bravery, in your feeling it, in your sharing it . . . you live out your own beauty, bravery and humanity and remind us all of our own. Thank you for your writing today! Love and admire you!


    • Tracy, you always remind me that living an authentic life is the key to living a happy and healthy life. I remember I called you shortly after I was re-diagnosed and you said “Tons of people are living for decades with cancer” and it gave me such great hope in a time of absolute terror. You sat with me on the phone even though I had no idea what to say or do. You helped me with spirituality back before I knew that it would become such a huge part of my life. You helped me to identify what it was that I wanted, and then soon thereafter I got a job and met my husband. You’ve always encouraged me to harness that inner ally, and I still do. The gremlins live, yes, but the inner ally… She’s a bigger force, thank goodness. Thanks to you. Lots of love, Sam xoxo


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