Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I don't eat preserved mango anymore... (warning - long post ahead)

"Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging." ~Joseph Campbell

I ♥ preserved mango... for those of you who don't know what this is, it's mango preserved with spices & sodium benzoate & am not sure what else (I never gave much attention to the packaging)... I haven't had it since early 2009 though. Why? Because it's not healthy for you... it's a long story and really you should do your own research and decide whether or not you want to eat stuff like this but I've stopped. I still love it though... the scent and sight alone triggers instant want. It taunts me from shopping aisles - like yesterday, when I went to the grocery... as soon as I entered, it was there:

K's Red Mango - oh how I crave you. *sigh* ... I've given it up though. I don't believe in partaking of things that are particularly unhealthy for you. It's why I don't understand the major obsession with drinking/smoking/doing drugs that a lot of people my age have - there are already enough diseases and etcetera that can shorten our life span - I don't see why people want to hasten the process... or want to live with health drama in later life that can be caused by unhealthy living. It can be argued that a little bit every so often shouldn't cause a problem - I know myself though... I have the craving for preserved mango... one bite and I'll want it regularly. lol... To each his/her own... every one must know themselves and what they are willing to go through health-wise.

I'm careful, I guess, because of my mom... I've said before that she's a cancer survivor - she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 1996. Since then she's been through radiation and chemotherapy (numerous times due to the cancer returning). If you haven't lived with someone who has a serious illness then you don't know what it's like - just as, I'm sure, I don't know how it is to survive a serious illness. That's how I consider my mom - a survivor - no matter how many times cancer gets her down she'll always come out on top. What I am then, according to Komen for the Cure, is a cancer co-survivor. I can totally talk about [write about? I can talk about it with people I'm on friendly terms with... it's much easier to write about it to the world at large] what that's like... in fact, here's my list:

What being a Cancer Co-Survivor is all about (by moi - so it's really just my perspective):
  • learning at an early age (13 in my case) that healthy people can get seriously ill.
  • providing comfort - whether it be ole talk or hugs or staying up late in the night/morning or going out to do normal stuff (like pedicures... lol) or providing salt water to rinse after severe puking (people going through chemo now - be aware - side effects of chemo 10 years ago? So Much Worse).
  • discussions on wigs vs headscarves vs fine-being-hairless - my mom's lost her hair a few times due to chemotherapy... I think the first time was traumatic... the other times? I don't know... It's always grown back - and is now baby-soft... think how baby hair feels and that's how her hair feels now.
  • realisation of the fact that you can't tell what's going to happen and any moment might be your last.
  • learning to do laundry - all members of my family can do their own laundry. When my brother was younger (before secondary school) I did his and I remember doing my dad's at one point. Now - everyone is responsible for their own laundry - I help mom when needed - but generally we do our own laundry - I think that's worked out for the best.
  • becoming immune to (or at least tolerant of) the sight/scent of blood, bodily fluids and strange-body-happenings - I'm forever grateful that my mom has never been so badly off that she's had to be hospitalised for lengthy periods - she does however, have to do regular bloodwork, she has had to have her lungs drained and she's also had chemo side-effects that have freaked us out (all her nails fell out once upon a time - thankfully they grew back).
  • learning to be appreciative or perhaps trying to remember to be appreciative of the things you have and the things that you can do... this time around my mom's shaky on her legs (actually I remember her being shaky on her legs a time before as well - she was in fact skinnier than I am - which is a big thing when I'm less than 5 feet tall and weigh about a hundred pounds)... so shaky that she's not been driving - I realise now that I'm a driver that that's a big thing - it's a loss of independence and not being able to go where you want to go when you want to go... I want to tell her it'll get better - but we don't really know that do we?
  • discussions about life, the meaning of life, death, if there's an after-death, reincarnation, soul-purpose and other topics of that nature.
  • trying to manage your emotions (and - if you're like me - the emotions of everyone around you) - I don't like it when there are arguments and general grumpiness in my house (though I do contribute to that as well) - chemo can have effects on one's emotions though... this time around we've noticed that my mom is moody (in a gloomy sorta way) soon after chemo.
  • trying (and failing miserably in my case - even though it's been *years*) to keep questions like: 'are you ok?' or 'how are you feeling?' at a minimum...
  • learning to live with guilt... which I think may be my issue... the thing is that I live with my parents... which is really not uncommon for a 20something year old Trini person... I do want to travel and such however - in fact I *have* travelled and such and so therefore I already *know* that a part of me is going to feel guilty that I'm not at home in case (in case something happens... the apocalypse? death? dismemberment? zombies? I don't know...).
  • being supportive - reminding mom (and myself) that exercise/healthy eating is important... or skiving off exercise/healthy food to do /have something more fun.
  • giving love... because ultimately I want my mom around - my life would be less without her in it.
This is probably one of my longer posts - and still it doesn't cover half of what it means to be a co-survivor. If you're in this position or if you're faced with illness or if you're supporting someone that has another illness then you just need to remember - we do what we can... what else can we do?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sent you an email and yes I did see.

Just knowing that it is possible to live and live with..

beats the lilypie blogger.. see my roll