Monday, February 15, 2016

heart bones

In my last post I wrote about a close friend and the unfortunate intricacies of human emotion. We must all be allowed to mourn-- to rob someone of that right is selfish and inhumane. My reason for finally opening up about this deep wound I've been concealing is as follows: this is a confessional blog about young adults with cancer, and this is something we all go through yet never share. I've watched many of my brilliant friends die unfair, painful deaths at a young age, and I know I await a similar fate. Each person/family deals with trauma in an entirely different way. Some need you more, and you feel guilty for not being able to be there enough. Some push you away out of misplaced anger, or due to a coping mechanism, or simply to conserve energy. With such a delicate and confusing subject, you try to take cues and read between the lines-- you try to do what's best for your loved ones. Sometimes you get it wrong, sometimes you never know. Sometimes there is no closure, or their family denies you closure. The key is communication and empathy: the feelings involved in end-of-life decisions are never easy, and all of them are ok. We must be mindful that everyone mourns in their own way. Even anger and irrationality play a part in the mourning process. However-- it is not ok to deny someone the right to love, mourn and find the closure they need. Don't let anyone bully you into thinking you've no right to mourn: it is their own irrational & misplaced anger, not any fault of yours.

Throughout the past 8 years I've realized that there are so many variations to how the story ends. And also that it never really ends. Through the blur of pain we must keep our focus on love. I feel sorry for the people that succumb to anger (especially the ones that endeavor to cause others pain just to relieve a bit of their own) but I will love them just the same. We're all in this together.


Chemo update: I'm on my 5th cycle of 12. It is the hardest thing I've ever had to do-- go through this intensive chemo alone and still manage to take care of myself. As the years go by, the more chemo I take, the more my body just disintegrates from the inside out. Every new relapse is harder than the last. I need a blood transfusion after every cycle. I'm too weak to get out of bed most days. I've fallen behind with friends, keeping up relationships is impossible-- I think of them daily but don't have the energy to visit or even converse. I sleep a lot. As always, I'm just trying to get through it and praying for another remission.

Usually the last 2 days before I start another cycle are my best, which means I have 4 days a month wherein I'm feeling ok. ish. Let me tell you-- I'm trying to make the most out of those 4 days. I recently took a trip to Washington D.C. to see the National Gallery, Smithsonian collection, and pandas (!!!)... life-long dream realized! I've also resumed work on an art project involving the journey to healing and death that I'd put on hold, ironically, after my relapse in July-- I'll be having a show in June, stay tuned.

Tian Tian!

I know my posts are as rare as my bowel movements as I go through treatment-- follow me @kaylinandres on Instagram for slightly more regularity.


kat1689 said...

Smithsonian is amazing but Pandas rule all. Hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I did 2 years back. Best day ever

kat1689 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
terri said...

miss you and think about you all the time! Hope you know you're part of the reason I stand up for myself and take risks, always pushing myself despite discomfort. wish we could still hang out without all the stress of *the pressnt* love you k-dawg and really hope you've been playing neko atsume!

<3 t-zilla

Needs an Editor said...

ok. you are alone. msg me at tracy _ abeln at the yahoo.
i have time.
yes, we are strangers.
but, i can be around. let me know.

kaylin andres said...

I did!

kaylin andres said...

miss u, email me sometime

Amanda Quam said...

thinking of you always

Anonymous said...

I love you. Aunt B.

Unknown said...

Love to you. Praying you get more good days. ~m

Rick Spencer said...

Thanks as always for your posts, your courage and your love of life. You are in my prayers. When I feel sad about your challenges, I read your comic and end up laughing every time. Rick in RI

Anonymous said...


Tink said...

Always thinking of you & praying for you. I'm glad that you were able to get out & check more things off from your life list 👍 The pandas sound awesome. I've been to D C a couple of times, have seen Dorothy's slippers from Wizard of Oz at the Smithsonian & Kennedy family graves st Arlington (one of my own goals) but never the animals. 🐼

You speak the truth about grief. I think with illness too there is a sense of grief, when disease progresses, as their is a loss of function you once had & while I am a person who likes to be thankful for the things I am still able to do rather than mull over the things I can't; I think it's important to take that time to grieve the loss. I lost my brother almost 18 months ago from the same disease I have (complications of) & it is a contradiction in terms I feel; to grieve his loss & yet still try to live hopeful with my own condition. I'm sure you have been in this case many times with the friends you have lost.

I have lost a few friends to cancer but none so suddenly as a friend with lung cancer. She lived 3 years w/ it (twice as long as the 18 mos they'd told her) & had gone into the hospital on a Friday w/ bronchitis. Normally she would not call us from the hospital, preferring to call when she was out then admitting she was in for a couple days but thankfully she called that Saturday & we had a great talk. She said they had found something on her liver a& would get into it more on Monday. She passed in her sleep on Sunday eve/Monday morn. Though it was sudden; I can't help to be thankful that she did not have to go through the severely ill stage of lung cancer or end up suffocating on her on lungs as so many do. In terms of cancer, she was still relatively healthy & just passed quietly in her sleep. It was a gift that her passing was what she had wanted & she was able to enjoy Christnas a month earlier with the whole family as was one of her last wishes. I think of her often & the joy she brought to all of our lives. 💕💕💕

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kaylin andres said...

Wow tink, thank you for sharing a bit of your story here. I relate to mourning that loss of function (do we ever truly adjust?) and of course the loss of loved ones on a similar path. such rare & complex emotions but it's reassuring to know we are not alone. best of luck 💕

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