Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Manifesto

Self Pity
I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself

This isn’t a post that I really know how to make. It can’t have been lost on you that I am an intensely private person. Even with my family I try to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on – much to their frustration and consternation, I know. I also know that they love me very much and tolerate if not forgive my fierce independent streak. I am an eldest child, it is my job to take care of others, not the other way around. You can’t erase a lifetime of duty just because life chucks you a curveball.

I quote D. H. Lawrence above for a very important reason. I do not have much patience for pity, much less self-pity. Painted at the top of my stairs, the first thing you see when you walk into my home, is the line “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.” It’s true. Those creatures who live closest to God do not bemoan their fate. They live every moment of their lives instinctively, vibrantly, freely.

In November of 2006, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with a high-grade, malignant, sarcoma of indeterminate origin in my left forearm. It is very much my style to develop a zebra disease rather than an oatmeal one. I do hate to be boring. I named my tumor Fred and waged war against Fred emotionally, medically, allegorically, psychically, psychologically, metaphorically, and spiritually. And they cut Fred out and Fred was dead, and life was good. But Fred left Fredlettes. In August of last year a small rebel colony was found in my lung. And they cut it out. And life was good. Last Friday, Good Friday no less, they found another rebel enclave in my lung and now I am back under the knife.

I tell you this because it seems hugely deceitful to continue blathering about poetry and fashion when there’s an elephant in my living room. I can’t ignore the elephant. The elephant necessitates scalpels and hospitals and evil nurses and bed rest and time away from you, my darling friends.

I won’t pretend that there aren’t moments when I feel angry, but I try very hard not to give into them because there are people in the world who have much harder lives than mine. There are people in pain, without homes, without food, without family or friends. I have a beautiful life, surrounded by warm, loving family and friends. I have a husband without equal who fills my life with laughter and unconditional love. My life is good and I thank God for every second.

So, having acknowledged and introduced the elephant, know that I do not feel sorry for myself, that I prefer to live as normally as I can, that I detest being molly-coddled or patronized. I’ll keep you posted, but this isn’t going to become a blog about cancer. It’s about me and there is much more to me than the elephant.

My heart is a wild thing that lives and loves instinctively, vibrantly and freely.

For more information & inspiration about living with cancer , I highly recommend Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer Blog


Liz said...

As always, your writing leaves me with my jaw on the floor. Beautifully written, exactly true.

You know I love you. And to quote you, "I write this here because I know you cant ignore it."

the mother of this lot said...

I don't know what to say. No pity. Just sheer bloody admiration. I'll pray. We all will.

Maggie May said...

I am so sorry about your cancer, which I had no idea about. You are so young to have this problem. Its bad enough to see my husband battling his cancer, though he is nearer 70.
You will definitely be in my thoughts & prayers & I am sure you are a very brave lady who will fight with all you've got. Give Fred HELL!
Please keep us posted. I will bookmark you!
All the best.

Anna Lea said...

Angie, my dearest sister, I look up to you now like i never have before. You are the bravest, coolest, most well-spoken, honest funny amazing person I know. And you rock. I ALWAYS thought you were the best, and know i KNOW you are. Leave it to you to say something in such a way the whole world would understand. I only hope, I can be as amazing as you. You are my blesssing and I love you very very much. And Just remember, I might be the smaller and younger one of the two of moms kids, but i'll kick your ass if you mess with my mom or my sister. You always were the coolest, i just didnt realise how cool you really were. :)

Jennie said...

Thank you for introducing the elephant, it means a lot for the glimpse into your life, even though it cannot have been easy to write it down.
I have no idea what to say, so I'll just keep it buttoned in case I come out with utter rubbish as I am prone to do. I shall just say I think you are marvellous, always have, even before the elephant came and sat in the room.

Casdok said...

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
I have never heard this before, it is so true.
A very thoughful and well written post. Im sure a positive way of thinking helps to combat elephants.

Linda said...

Gosh, what a surprise. I certainly do think you are going up against Fred with the right attitude. I too will pray for you and light a candle-sort of send good thoughts and prayers out into the world.

Haydee said...

The last thing I expected to read here. Thank you for such a beautiful example of living life with gratitude and grace. And as always, your writing is perfect. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michele said...

You don't know me- but I am a dear friend of your sister, Anna Lea. She's told me of you and your journey numerous times (and she's also shared the alien story!). I have an older sister (8 years older, to be exact) whom I love to the moon and back, and can feel the pain that a sister would go through if faced with your fight. I applaud you and your strength- and I'm honored to be friends with such a wonderful person that you have the privilege to call your sister. You are never alone. -Michele

Renae said...

Dear Mrs. Fox,

I am not a regular reader here, so I have no idea if you believe in God or in the power of prayer. But I do believe in it, immensely. I hope you won't mind if I say a prayer for you here:

Dear Father,

Please be with 'Mrs. Fox' during this difficult time. I pray that You will make Yourself known to her through healing, through unexplainable peace, and through Your love. I pray that You will draw near to her family, and let them know how much You love them. And Father, we do ask for her complete healing.

In Jesus' name,

Feathering My Nest said...

Mrs. Fox, I am speechless. I am in awe over your well written words, and sad sad sad about this cancer you are dealing with. I'm praying right now and will keep on praying. I'm adding you to my prayer list. I can't stand this, but I am impressed with your faith and spunk. You have a great attitude. Hugs and prayers, Kathi