Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cancer Opens Doors...Apparently

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Over the past few weeks, since the diagnosis, I have truly been awed daily by the outpouring of support that I have received. Here's the thing, it's not just dear friends and family that have stepped up to do all they can, it is truly anyone and everyone that hears the news. It's enough to restore my confidence in the human race! :) I have heard from people I haven't spoken with since high school graduation, I have heard from parents of friends, I have received cards from friends of parents of friends...the list goes on and on. Let me share with you the most distinctive and truly hilarious card I have received from one such person. Also, let it be said before you read this card that I truly appreciated this card...let NO ONE say that I don't have a sense of humor about this. Folks, cancer is funny if you let it be funny! :)

The front of the card reads:


Open the card and it says:

"It just f***ing sucks."

The sender then included a lovely message of her own which was very nice, but I must say, Joe and I laughed for hours about this one! A big thanks goes out to Sharin! You absolutely know my sense of humor!

Okay, on to the opening of doors...

As I said, the outpouring of support has come from all directions, including on the career front. I am in the unique position of having access to a number of high profile individuals in the Kansas City area through my House of Representatives employment. It makes it very easy to make connections. This week, I had the opportunity to make a breast cancer connection that may be so helpful in coming months as I begin the "survivor" journey. Obviously I will have to experience this five month cancer journey first, but I see nothing wrong with looking ahead on to the next journey (this one will be lifelong).

A lovely couple from the Kansas City area started a nonprofit organization for breast cancer survivors not too many years ago. The organization is called Back in the Swing (it's a great organization...check it out here). It has spread to include chapters in cities around the country.

So anyway, they came in to meet with my boss about the possibilities for legislation and federal funding for breast cancer research. It was suggested that I sit down with them for a meeting as well--just a short visit for 20 or 30 minutes. They are kind of the "it" people in the area involved in breast cancer non-profits and they'd love to sit down with me when I'm cancer free. I now have a great volunteer opportunity starting after July. Cancer opens doors...apparently. On top of the volunteer opportunity, I was able to talk to them about their experience in dealing with breast cancer as a husband and wife. They provided insight and it appeared that they dealt with the journey with positivity, humor, and optimism, just as Joe and I are attempting to do. It was a really great experience brought to me by my job!!!!

I must say, I feel almost bad--guilty maybe is a better word--for so easily finding the silver lining. For example:

Hair Loss = A solid 30 extra minutes that I can sleep in the morning due to the fact that I don't have to wash, dry, or style my hair. I get to pull a Britney without anyone accusing me of being crazy!

Cancer diagnosis = Instant networking opportunity due to the fact that, " estimated 182,460 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2008 alone" (taken from Susan G. Komen). Also, there are millions of breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Job + Cancer = Easily make local area connections and find volunteer opportunities for the future.

I suppose I'm just intellectualizing the situation (since that's just what I do) and that has resulted in me trying to find the perks in the experience. My guilt comes from the fact that it hasn't been hard for me AT ALL to find perks. By no means am I saying that I'm glad to have this opportunity. I'd still pick NOT cancer if given the choice, but I suppose I may as well take full advantage of the perks if I have to go through it. Right? Thoughts?


  1. Might as well take full advantage of the situation you have been presented. And as to hair: it's totally overrated. The more I lose, the easier (and cheaper) it becomes to take care of. Makes things so much easier.

  2. Alison SilveiraMay 2, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    Megan - I've just come across your blog and am wow'd by your strength, wisdom, and continued humor... and I love your intellectual approaches to life's littler (and bigger) changes! as always, you're not one to get dragged down into cliches... so i'll do my best to avoid them. but i want to send all my love and thoughts in your direction! i know we haven't seen eachother since we left feinstein's office, but i miss and love you all the same. next time we're in the same town, i think i a political softball game might be in order (or perhaps we can tailgate someone else's? exercise is seriously overrated...) --much love, alison