Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Citrus in, bad energy out.
Yesterday I had a lovely massage.  I have been seeing Bridget every three weeks since the beginning of treatment, and before that, I had been going to her on a monthly basis.  When I went in on Monday morning, we sat and chatted for a bit before starting the hour of happiness.  She asked me if I had given much thought to any changes I would make after all of this vicious treatment was over (aside from eliminating plastics, switching my personal products, and eating organic).  She suggested rearranging furniture (which we'd already done in our bedroom, thanks to the chaise), bringing in plants (no cacti), and strategically placing bowls of lemons and limes in different rooms (to absorb negative energy, of course).  It made me think that there are plenty of things I can do right now to make a difference in the way energy flows through my house.

So although I was a bit light headed, and my tummy was continuing to fight its losing battle with food, after dropping off Judah at school, I headed to Whole Foods (our home away from home) and did some food shopping. 

I came home with my citrus fruits and placed one large bowl downstairs and one smaller bowl upstairs (between the bed and chaise).  As I went about the house, tidying up, changing bedsheets and putting away clean laundry, I hoped the lemons and limes were busy doing their thing as well.  With the sun shining through the blinds and a lovely breeze blowing through the rooms, the only thing bringing me back to reality was the clock.  I had to go pick up Judah from school. 

I've really tried, especially on crappy days, to limit social interactions with people I'm not terrifically close with (read: if I have to put on a smile when I don't feel happy, I'm not interested).  And to be honest, even on the phone, I only want to talk to 5 or 6 of my friends and relatives.  While writing about my feelings is often cleansing and therapeutic, verbally discussing my treatment and emotional condition is not easy.  And also not something I am desirous of doing with just any rat on the street.

So while I know (and am heartened by the fact) that there are MANY people who care about me, my condition, my family, etc., I am simply incapable of dealing with the pitiful looks some of them give me, I think (hope?), in an attempt to be sympathetic.  My worries and tears hover right on the edge most of the time,  thus the tone of voice that says, "I can't bear to see you looking like this," is not helpful.  It can't be my job to help others deal with my illness.  I've always had high standards for those I surround myself with, but now my expectations have risen even higher. 

When I go out in public, I am taking on the world.  I am feeling ambitious and I probably want to buy something.  I avoid almost all eye contact (except with sales persons, who are frequently helpful and do not make me feel like a leper).  Because, I have discovered, there are two kinds of strangers.  Ones who stare and glare, and ones who smile.  I can't figure out why some can't take their eyes off of me (seriously girl in the deli on Atlantic Ave. in Ventnor, take a picture, it lasts longer), and others seem to want to hug me. 

Let me say, I do not write on behalf of all of us afflicted with cancer, but simply for myself.  I'm sure there are some cancer patients out there who enjoy milking those pitiful looks or who are able to handle the Spanish Inquisition.  But me?  What do I want when I venture out into the world beyond my doorstep?

I want people to make me laugh.  Make me pee in my pants, begging you to stop.  Distract me.  Point to a butterfly, or my child's artwork.  Talk about the weather or your daughter's wedding.  Tell Judah how big he is and ask him what he learned in school today.

Please don't ask me to talk in depth about my treatment, or tell me how I'm handling all of this with such grace and strength (bwah ha ha!).  If you do, you run the risk of unleashing the tears, and then we're all awkward and uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong, I do want people to join Team Mia and visualize healthy days ahead right along with the rest of us.  We are an all-inclusive, no-cut team (a little like Glee!) and we're happy to have you!  It's just that it's taken about all I have to get up, get dressed, fill in my eyebrows, and eat something, plus get Judah dressed and fed (and pottied), that I don't have the energy to smile while discussing cancer all the while pretending everything's grand. 

Truly, I do appreciate all of the support that people have given us.  From dinners to goodie bags, to wishes fulfilled (to people who keep checking for new blog posts), I feel so lucky to be in such good company.  I am reassured on a daily basis by the choices I've made in the past, to surround myself with only wonderful people who live up to (and on glorious occasion, exceed) my sky-high expectations. 



  1. It's obvious none of us are ever prepared (enough) for the diagnosis of cancer, whether it is personal, a loved one, or an acquaintance. There are so many reactions and responses, and each one of us copes in our own personal way. You've suggested strongly that no matter how we cope best, we need to cope in a way that expresses the most sensitivity to those in the fight. I'm so thankful for your strength, for your love, your honesty and your ability to express it all.

  2. Mia, start collecting bowls for citrus. We have a huge lemon crop coming in.

  3. Yummy the smell of lemons and limes....it's just such a clean and refreshing smell :)

  4. There's no doubt that it's easy to offend even when you have the best intentions. Everyone is different but it's great to have some guidelines for what makes a person in the midst of an epic internal body war feel even a smidge better. Five down, one to go.

  5. You are developing more power, insight, openness, directness and sweet-and-sour humor and pathos in your writing over these months. That is a great accomplishment; it could be laying the pathway for exciting directions for your future in the world. These last three in particular are consistently excellent!

    Still, to me, who has so closely identified with you and your well-being since prenantal days when we called you Bonzo, you are also developing even more important dimensions of yourself. That is the ability to reflect deeply and meaningfully and to use that process to gain in self-support and insight. When it comes to how you are going to come through this ordeal, in the end, even with all the wonderful and absolutely essential support around you, you must rely on yourself to resolve and move on from inner and outer blocks, challenges, pain and negativity in a therapeutic, positive way. You are a terrific model of using those inner resources, IMHO.

    To endure these trials while continuing to develop yourself in these ways, with great effort and determination, and to weather it with grace, love, forgiveness and humor... you are quite a mensch, my dear.

    Love, da