Saturday, January 8, 2011

Singing in the Rain




Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

A kind stranger emailed me this anonymous quote.   I have been thinking about what it means quite a lot.  

I was blessed during the days I spent in hospital by some suprisingly acceptable television.   A few Hitchcock films, some Grey's Anatomy at 3 am and then this, my favourite film, Singing in the Rain.  When was the last time you stood in the rain like this?  I hardly ever did it, mostly from vanity to stop my hair going frizzy.   Well, soon enough I will have no hair, so standing or singing in the rain will present no vanity issues at all.
 


So two operations (with Christmas in between), a New Year's Eve in a hospital bed, countless scans, x-rays, tests, and lots of poking, prodding and painkillers and a full 8 days in a small room later, I am back home.  And in case one needs any proof that home is better than hospital, here goes:





(gardenias from home by my hospital bed, which did scent the room very nicely for days)

(the real thing on our front verandah)

(chair and window in my second hospital room.  You can just see the corner of the Chinese water torture style ticking clock which my husband had to remove from the wall on the shelf)


(chair and trees at home) 


It has occurred to me that we spend a lot of our lives waiting.  Waiting to finish studying, waiting to meet the right person, waiting to fall pregnant, waiting to get that perfect job \ promotion \ deal \ opportunity. 

For me, I will try living in the now.  Within reason of course. It is absurd to suggest that you cannot think of the future, or plan or look forward.  If I were to only live for this minute, I would be very overweight, and possibly an alcoholic. 

But you can go to extremes.  Part of my old life was full of lists, plans, projects to manage, things to do, tick off, complete, arrange, sort out.  I would lie awake at night thinking of the things I had to do the next day.  I don't think I was stressed about this.  But I liked to have things clear in my head and it was becoming a dreadful self perpetuating habit, which meant that I was over thinking absolutely everything constantly.   I still have this habit.... But I am hoping that my brain can be trained to calm down.  

I have received some amazing things from generous friends, aquaintances and complete strangers.  Your words and thoughts have buoyed me.  Which is strange, because as I have said to several people, I don't particularly care what most other people think.  So who would have thought that so much positivity could help me?  But it does.  Interestingly, in one of the many guides to cancer I have received, one of them is a little pamphlet to help friends and family.  One of the things it advises friends and family not to say is 'be positive' because it may make one feel as if one can't complain or articulate how one really feels.  I think this is a bit extreme.  One of the problems with a diagnosis like this is that it can be tempting to obsessively think about it all the time. That cannot be healthy. And if you have to think about it, think about it, to the extent you can, as a challenge and opportunity.   That, I think, is good advice from anybody. 

So, thank you all, again.

(this arrived from Seymour, a country town north of Melbourne, from a friend of my mother's)

(this turned up from a friend in Paris) 

(this was part of a wonderful bundle of things from Maxabella)

(this came with many other items from Jennie at Posie Patchwork)

I re-read this book over two days last week.  



Of course when I last read this book I shuddered at the chemo and surgery descriptions and thought thank God that will never happen to me. 

This time around I read it with an eye to tips, coping mechanisms and some perspective from the great survivor himself.  When Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, he was toast.   Even his doctors, giving him survival percentages of 40% privately thought those odds were generous.   It is tempting to think his extreme fitness helped his fight. Or his determination.  But as he says, brave and positive people die from cancer every day.  Whilst not so nice negative people survive to complain another day.   Go figure.  Life is a great lottery.   The being positive I think is perhaps not so much about survival, but about making the experience more manageable, and giving one skills to deal with the post treatment phase, which I believe can be just as challenging as chemotherapy.  

Lance's foundation, Livestrong, fights to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.  Looking at this very well resourced and clearly set out site, it is quite amazing to see how far it has come since it was first established in 1997.  

Every day I learn about the amazing people, volunteers and professionals, who work to help cancer sufferers.   It is a whole new world for me but one which is not dark and grim, but life affirming and uplifting.  








62 comments:

Deb said...

I learned about you from MMMC. You have been in my thoughts and prayers every day.

brismod said...

Jane, it's good to hear you're back at home. There is no better place, is there? You are still very much in my thoughts and I wish you lots of love and strength for the next stages. And if you'd like to sing in the rain, I would recommend a visit to South East Queensland. You'd be singing for months and months. xx Anita

Just Martha said...

I read a quote once talking about the path of life being winding but that it can also be well lit. I take this to mean with love, friendship and hope and support. I agree whole heartedly with your last sentence. It can be an amazing experience because people are so real.

Megan said...

Great insights and reflection Jane. That was a wonderful post to read. How many times do we worry about stupid stupid things and why would we live our lives differently if we were sick?? Keep up the good work, you are doing great.
I am a Nurse, loved your perspective with the hospital photos. There is no place like home.....

Jenny said...

Hi Jane, so good to hear from. I hope you managed to find some joy over the Christmas break. Enjoy being at home with your family - it will most definitely make you feel better. We will all be singing in the rain with you and thinking of you on your journey. Thank you for the update and best wishes. ;-) xx

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Yes, it's coming down, here, in buckets Jane!

Each drop is a tear of joy that you're home with your family!

So brilliant to read you again ... you're in my thoughts everyday and we're all going to kick this thing, with you leading the charge.

Tricia Rose said...

Over-thinking is like sawing sawdust!

I'm delighted for you that you are home again - what a difference it is. Heal and grow well~

Thisisme said...

It was lovely to read your post, Jane, and know that you are home again. We have all been thinking about you and sending lots of healing vibes your way. Don't forget, "one day at a time." xx

Virginia Blue - Director Blue Fruit said...

Just wonderful to be back at home, isn't it? Amazing how sometimes a complete bolt from the blue {which is of itself awful, awful, awful} can be the very thing to spin a complete change of perspective of life and what is REALLY important. Life-changing, but more importantly, thought-changing. Very relieved to hear that you have already begun this process. I always think there is a silver lining in every cloud, if one squints just the right way.

Kerry said...

Hey Jane. Good to hear that you're back at home and looking at life in a way that sounds to me very positive (can I say that!!) And I'm also hugely relieved that you still have the ability to crack me up with your comment about being overweight and possibly an alcoholic if you lived only for the moment...that was gold! Not sure what else to say except thinking of you :)

Simone said...

Lovely to hear from you Jane, you have been on my mind and I wondered how things were going.

I am glad you are home....

I watched "Singing in the Rain" over the holidays too, haven't seen it for years....I watched and loved it. And now I have a crush on Gene Kelly!! Got to love a man who can dance - and smile - like that ;)

Thinking positive thoughts for you and sending lots of love xxxx

A Farmer's Wife said...

I am so glad you are home.

At least you can now feel like you have completed some steps of the journey you are on... and have done it with courage and style by the sounds of the above.

Take good care.

Tina said...

Sweet Jane. To hear that you are now home with your family is wonderful! This alone must make a huge difference to you, no more water-torture clocks! We are all here for you to express how you really feel (sometimes not knowing people in real life, allows you the freedom to do so, easier than with those you are more close to) and we are also here to be positive for you:) Enjoy being home with your family. Always in my thoughts, sweet Jane. Gentlest of hugs to you ~ Txx

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Jane
I am happy beyond measure to see you posting and know you are back in the comfort of your own home. You have been on my mind often these last few weeks and here you are writing with such beauty and insight and still a bit of humour!! I think we all need to live in the moment a bit more and stop waiting for things to be perfect ... I know I need to ..perhaps it's a condition of our culture.

That book by Lance is brilliant.. I too read it many years ago and if anyone can be a positive role model I think it would be him.. and you!! Much love to you dear Jane...thinking of you often.. xxx Julie

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Jane you and your family have been constantly on my mind. I am so happy to know you are back in your home, around your children.
Lance Armstrong is truly an inspiring person. We were huge fans of him because of his cycling but it was his journey with cancer & what he's done with his life since that is to be admired. I'm a strong believer about attitude when faced with a crisis, especially health. I would not presume to grasp what you are going through; I only have the experiences of my family members. But, I want you to know that you will always be in my prayers. Since we met via blogging I have admired your intelligence, strength, humor and kindness. All these & a plenitude of your other great qualities will help you in your fight. As for me I mad, mad as hell that you have to go through this. Mad for anyone that has to go through this.

Jane sending you much love,
Deb

Sarah B said...

I am so pleased to see you back Jane. I have been wondering how you have been doing.
I love that quote at the beginning of your post and must say, some of those books look great. I have no real advice for you, but know that we all really care :)

Paula said...

So glad you are back home away from annoying ticking clocks, hospital food and a hospital bed. Hope you are now comfy enough to be getting some sleep? Thought about you alot over the 'break', as others have done ..those inbetween moments when I'd wonder how you and your family were going. Thank you for keeping us updated Jane and for your gorgeous strength and humour.

Cate said...

Dr Seuss calls it the 'waiting place' - I try to stay away from there too :-)
xxxCate

Jacqueline said...

Hi there Jane,
I'm just about to wrap up your parcel of laughter so, look out for it. It must be great to be back home....your photographs definitely prove that !!
I know that everyone has said all the things that we say at times like these , including me, so, I believe it's all about looking forward and trying to be as normal as is possible. I've always been a 'Singing in the Rain' sort of person ( although, I haven't had such a downpour as you are having at the moment !!) One of my early posts had that vey quote in it.
It was so lovely to see your post and to see that 'normal service', as much as it can, has been resumed. With much love and here's to getting back to as near to normality as is possible for you and lots of singing in the rain.I know that the downpour is about to subside and turn into a light shower, then a drizzle and then pure sunshine. XXXX

24 Corners said...

There's no one like Lina Lamont to bring a kick of laughter to any situation, and no movie so full of cheer and goodness as S.I.T.Rain to bring happy smiles and thoughts of singing and dancing (Donald O'Connor!) in any weather (or situation), stormy or fair!
I'm so happy that you're home Jane...you and your family have been on my heart constantly. You sound so good. I know out of this whole experience your strength will grow into a calmer, yet stronger version of itself, and be a gift to others, as well as to yourself...actually, I think it already is.

Continued healing dearest...hang in there...many prayers & thoughts are with you always.
xoxo Jessica

PS - Here's to Gardenia's and quiet clocks being manditory in hospital rooms!!

Anonymous said...

Hi from southern Oregon! Am so happy you are back home and on the mend. Thank you for each and every post. My best to you and your family.

Linda

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Jane, You made it through the worst and are home now where you can recoup. Physically, mentally and spiritually. Having been around this disease in many ways the past thirty years I'd say the mental and spiritual is most important. The doctors will do everything they can and ar fighting for you as you know. Others are working to support them. My daughter ran 60 miles in the Susan Koman marathon in Nov. in Dallas. We all are rooting for you and surround you with love and thoughts of wellness. God be with you every moment and may you feel Her/His presence. Love and prayers for a whole recovery. Jenny

Posie Patchwork said...

Pleasure babe, enjoy that Handmade Living book & goodies, sent with love.
I'm just going to comment on the obvious - welcome home!! Then not worrying or caring what people think is completely different to accepting the love, wishes & generocity which is directed your way. It's like picking, choosing & welcoming only the nice stuff in life. Clearly well deserved, good things darling, GOOD things come to good people. Love Posie

Tara said...

Jane,glad your back in your comfy home..I was given 5 years and that was 19 years ago.I'm a huge believer in positive thinking..Keep strong and believe in yourself...xx

monika@stylemadesimple said...

Dear Jane, I am so glad to hear from you. I can not agree with you any more that there is no time for waiting in this life. I wish you and your family all the best! xoxo, Monika

Jeanne said...

Jane..prayers and well wishes to you from this corner of the world. I have put your gardenia above my blog roll. I hope each click sends postitive energy your way. Keep well dear Jane.

Jeanne xxx

mise said...

It's wonderful, Jane, to see you here, still your pragmatic and thinking self. I was reading 'Smile or Die' lately, about how people are bullied into being positive in the face of adversity, and it seems to me that normal positiveness suffices, while manic positiveness is a waste of energy. Welcome home and very many good wishes, as ever, more than ever.

emmaonafarm said...

what a wonderful perspective you have...if only we could all live like this...I'm going to try..thanks xoxo

Ann said...

Glad you're back to the comforts of home... and finding pleasure in reading and enjoying too the pleasures of the every day. I like your advice to live in the moment and laughed at the thought of fat and alcoholic Jane. If you fancy dancing in the rain we have a very reliable supply here from June to November.... A x

Engracia said...

Hi Jane, so good to hear that you are back home with your family and glad to see your wit hasn't suffered as a result of this setback. You know, I too don't care too much what people think about me, but I think this is different to accepting the goodwill and wishes of people, especially when life deals us a bad hand. It is always nice to know the world at it's heart is full of goodness and positivity.
Engracia xx

Bianca said...

JANE, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR IN THIS PROCESS.

(I recently found your blog about 2 weeks ago & have pondered on what to say). You have been in my mind daily despite not knowing you personally. I too live in Melbourne and our family life has been living with a similar thing to what you & your family are going through right now. Only it was my husband who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 33yrs old. We have 2 girls (now 4 & 6yrs).

Exactly a yr before my husband was diagnosed, my cousin 28 at the time was diagnosed with Hogkins Lymphoma. He said something to me that has never left my mind and what helped me and my husband get through the process when our time came. "Chemo is perceived to be something scary and horrible. When I found out I needed to have chemotherapy I was absolutely frightened. I then learnt that Chemo was actually my bestfriend and would be what would make me better and full of life again"

4 years on he looks & feels fantastic, taken ownership of a fabulous restaurant in Richmond & has started a family.

My husband now 35 has no lge bowel, regular monitoring still, still working and loving life. But it is a process for the patient & family.

Jane, I cannot take away what you are going through but sometimes hearing about other ppls experiences are comforting as you are not alone. I wish you all the very best in this whole process and remember 'allow yourself to feel what you feel' - sometimes ignoring it can make things harder.

Baby steps are also great as you can tick that appointment, treatment, procedure, meal, all the little things off your list. This can make things go quicker by looking at the next step rather than the whole picture which can seem overwhelming.

Please excuse my essay, maybe i should have written little comments over this past week rather than a huge one.

Thinking of you.

Bianca

Danielle said...

So wonderful to read your voice again!! :) And what a fabulous quote to live by...so true. Life is strange for sure and I know what you mean about not caring what others think, but I feel words truly have the power to heal mind and/or body. So again I am sending more well wishes your way...they may take a few hours, as I am on the other side of this gorgeous planet of ours!! xx Danielle

Katrina Chambers said...

I've been thinking of you lots Jane. I am glad you are doing ok and you sound positive. My thoughts are with you and I am here if you ever need anything.

Bec Hem said...

Yes, plenty of rain up here in Qld to sing along to!
I, too, am an obsessional list maker. To let go is hard, but worth it in the end...
Here's to a spontaneous (and healthy) 2011!

Maxabella said...

Oh yes, home is infinitely better! I am so happy that you received so much love and good thoughts from here there and everywhere. You deserve them, Jane.

Looking forward to a good, thoughtful year, Jane. Your experience has been a lesson that has shaken many of us to the core. We are all trying to be grateful for the little things and to live in the moment, rather than the 'when I's. Thank you for that. x

Pat'sAdditon said...

Attitude is everything and hair grows back. (But it may be of a different texture.) Rest up in amid the trees at home.

Amanda said...

So nice to see you here again Jane and great to hear you are back to the comfort and familiar surroundings of your home. Have been thinking of you lots. Take care xx

Thea said...

Hi Jane, it's wonderful that you got through your first battle and have had time to reflect and inspire us all to be a little more real about what matters. Will keep praying for you.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

So glad to hear you are back in the comforts of your lovely home Jane. Have thought of you many times over the last couple of weeks, and so i'm so happy to get back home and read your post.

Power on; and loads and loads of strength to you.

julesxxx

Karen said...

Great to hear from you, sending you positive energy to help you through this phase of your life - sounds like you have a strong foundation - one foot in front of the other - Enjoy your sanctuary of home and the love of your family.

River-Rose said...

You are an inspiration and a source of beauty! So happy that you are home where all of your comforts are. My thoughts and prayers are with you that you are receiving much love and support! xoxo

Millie said...

Darling Jane, only you could pen such a beautiful post - welcome home. I know hospital rooms need to be functional but I reckon every hospital administrator uses that to avoid enacting much needed makeovers of those dreary, uninspiring rooms. I feel a hospital room renovation revolution coming on, I'll be right with you at the barricades. We could start a worldwide movement for change here girl! I'm sure the patient recovery rates would sky rocket.
Millie & MOTH xx

Jane said...

So brilliant to see your dry wit and turn of phrase here again, Jane. And pleased you have the energy and headspace to find some time to fill us on how you're going - thanks. You must have so many other thoughts preoccupying you at the moment. Sending you Hobart ♥♥♥ tonight. J x

Ange said...

Jane, Hourrah! I saw your comment over at Anita's and was thrilled, so I raced straight over.

When I read your last post I wondered how you would react to 'positivity' and realised I was completely lost for words. Respect and joy for life and living 'now' seem to be inherently natural for me. So much so that I would grab your arm and dance in the rain with you. Yet I was really worried about sounding disrespectful or trite in even speaking that way.

But what true other way is there? Where there is positivity there is hope.

May you heal and find a new balance, Jane.

And yeah - bring on the hospital decoration revolution!!

Much love, positivity, and hope.

Vicki Lane said...

I've been thinking of you and am glad to hear you're at home. All best wishes for continued discoveries in your new life!

LouBoo said...

Jane...I'm here with some good news; a small consolation in amongst your bad news I hope. You won my book giveaway; I am delighted it was you, especially as you said you never enter giveaways. Fate must have felt that you needed some Scandinavian input. Aside, I am so stunned when I read your blog at what you've been going through...such a shock and a complete re-evalation of life. Your braveness shines through. Lou xx

Pamela said...

Hi Jane,
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer last year and with now just 4 more chemo treatments to go, I can honestly say that the time I spent in hospital and having all those scans and tests, was the worst and that things have been much better since then. Hopefully, you will also feel that the worst is behind you and that you can now proceed on the road to recovery.
All the best.
Pamela xx

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

I have just visited your blog for the first time via Lou's, and am completely stunned by the wit and poise and calm of your writing whilst you have been through such a tough experience - and I wish you all the very best for your recovery surrounded by what you love most at home. You are clearly one quality woman!

Anonymous said...

Rather than seeing illness as a battlefield between positive and negative forces, I think it's useful to look at the challenge as you say. I think too that it is important to give grief its due.

Shakespeare was on the money when he said "Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak knits up the o'erwrought heart and bids it break."

It is heartening to read the messages of love, kindness and goodwill on this blog.

Thank you for letting your readers know how you are going.

my favorite and my best said...

you win.

Janette said...

So good to hear from you Jane (I don't know how I missed this post the other day). It is so good to hear your positivity in the midst of everything you're going through and I have no doubt that your courage and grace will get you through this as a stronger person.

I have been praying for you everyday sine you shared the news and I'm so glad to hear that the love and positivity from blogland is making a difference for you.

Thanks for filling us in and you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Jxx

Laura [What I Like] said...

Good heavens I take a few weeks off from the internet and all hell breaks loose! Jane I am so terribly sorry to hear this news, but glad to hear that your treatments thus far have gone well and that your medical staff is good. As someone with too many family members who have gone through this, I can attest that your medical team makes all the difference!! That and lots of flowers and loved ones. Keeping you in my thoughts, and my fingers crossed for you as you embark on your treatment.

Deborah said...

Whenever I see the moon, I think of you. You write so movingly; always have, but especially now. Stay strong. Deb xx

Motherkitty said...

How delighted I am to learn you are home again, and that you are going to focus on living in the now. The present is the only real place to be.

I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. I have no doubt the prayers and positive thoughts sent by so many had a hand in helping you through this ordeal thus far. I wish you all the best. Gentle hugs!

Kerri said...

So glad to hear you're back home - there's nothing better, is there? I'm still looking at the moon and thinking of you, so I hope you know how much support you have here in blogland. You are so positive, it's wonderful to see, and I'm wishing you the speediest of recoveries (not sure if 'speediest' is actually a word!) K xx

Vintage Simple said...

Welcome home, Jane..! I've been thinking of you, and I am so happy to hear you in your writing voice. That seems a strange thing to say, but I am so glad to feel that even though this obviously has altered your life, it has not changed who you are.

I, too, want to try to live more and wait less. Easier said than done. Sending you much love.

xoox,
-maria

ps: you may find this horrific... but your post made reminded me of it...
http://www.hulu.com/watch/195132/glee-singing-in-the-rainumbrella

Heidi said...

Sending you my best wishes and thinking of you.

I've been missing your posts, but thought that if laughter is the best medicine that you might like to have a look at this website when you need a good lift: http://damnyouautocorrect.com/category/best-of-dyac/ It's called Damn you Autocorrect, all courtesy of the iphone. I was literally in stitches over some of them. xxx

Natasha said...

Oh Jane, I am so sorry I haven't been by to visit earlier. We went overseas on a family holiday after Christmas and then came home to the dreaded floods so things have been much busier than usual here. Please know that I have been thinking about you a lot and I am so glad to read this affirming post. I am also relieved to hear that you are now in your fabulous home surrounded by all of those gorgeous gardenias and of course, your beautiful family! Be strong and live strong, dear Jane! We are all thinking of you!

Love from,
Natasha.
xo

Elsa May said...

Dear brave Jane, so so so good to read your post and 'hear' your thoughts and observations. I think of you often and wonder how you are.....I've written and re-written this comment too many times :) talk about over thinking! So I'll just wade right in - two things that helped me immensely - Kris Carr's book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips - a fabulously honest and uplifting book about Kris and others journey (such a trite word). Like Lance's book it is a story of survival against the medical odds; and the other was a quote in the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age "This I know, when the storm breaks some are dumb with terror, some flee, some run and hide, and some spread their wings and soar like eagles". I kept this and other quotes in a wee notebook and used them to refocus my mind when needed. Sending you lots of love and healing vibes. Best, Annie x

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

just stopping in to sau hi jane and hope things are moving along well for you. thinking of you xxx

Ann said...

Hi Jane, very much missing your thoughtful posts on my Monday morning blog wander. I do hope your treatment is going well and you are coping with the ghastly bits. Love to you and the family. Ann x

Bromeliad said...

Hang in there, and thanks for the update.

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