Still Standing on my Original Two Feet

August 29 – My Coma Day August 29, 2013, is the 40th anniversary of my Coma Day — the day I spent in a coma while my doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me.  Turned out it was Type 1 Diabetes, and they were able to bring me back to consciousness the next day.  Every year on that day, I celebrate another year of surviving and thriving in spite of all the dire predictions I was given by the medical community during my slow, painful progress back to a point where I could be released from hospital (I think it was a few months, but it was so long ago, and I was so young, I think I have skipped over that in my memory to a great degree).  In a nutshell, it went something like this: You will never:             live past 40             have kids             be able to participate in sports             be healthy             be normal             be able to manage a challenging job You will:.             have your feet and legs amputated             lose kidney function and need transplants and dialysis             have heart disease and multiple heart attacks             go blind             spend a lot of time in hospital             die young …and so on…. As this milestone [...] continue the story

The Photographer

A young man sets out on a quest to capture the perfect photograph. In the summer of 2005, I was involved in a severe car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Upon waking up in the ICU, one face was staring back at me; my father’s. For the next month, my father had the nurses on duty wheel a chair into my room every single night, and that’s where he’d be until I opened my eyes in the morning.

Seven years since that fateful day in June, my father remains my biggest supporter. After more than two years in a wheelchair, I finally defied the odds and became vertical once more. I know deep within myself that this improbable recovery has a great deal to do with my father. And ‘The Photographer’ is my way of expressing  my gratitude. My father, the most reliable human being I’ve ever known.

Ara Sagherian

Writer and Director of the short film ‘The Photographer’ (2012)

Acceptance

By Michelle Lemme

Approaching the one year anniversary of my “descent into hell”; and where am I today?  I am pleased to say that I am healthy and, for the most part, happy.   I’ve learned enough to mostly manage (live with) my troublesome anxiety and obsessive/compulsive behaviors.  Frankly I can’t really wrap my head around how my “OCD behaviors” are linked to my depression, having said that, I do find that doing the behavior is soothing, I guess because the act of performing certain behaviors consumes all of my focus and attention, which is sometimes a huge relief.   My compulsive cleaning is under control (most of the time), but, I simply cannot leave my face alone, touching, picking and making a mess of my skin – who wouldn’t pick at their face if they were always peering into a 15X magnifying mirror!!  Obviously, I still struggle and know that I still have things to work on, which is why I continue to see my therapist.

I continue to struggle with the whole “not working” thing, which I was thrust into when I got sick.  If I am honest, I know that I have allowed myself to believe that my “value” is and [...] continue the story

Scarred for Life

There is one last lesson I’ve learned throughout this experience, and I could have added it to my last post, but it really warrants its own post. The whole idea of what we are trying to do with These Are My Scars was inspired by the events that took place within my own cancer journey.

During treatment I was so focused on just staying alive and getting through it, I never gave any thought to how I would be affected by the after effects of treatment, including surgery. I have never been squeamish about surgery, I actually wanted to be a surgeon at one point in my life (damn you chemistry), but once it was over, part of me just wanted to bury what had happened.

It’s strange that people will say “you’ve scarred me” or “I’m scarred” but it always has such a negative connotation. I’ll admit to buying into the negativity, after all it’s something that happens to you. No one really chooses to become scarred, so I suppose it can be seen as an invasion. I thought so too!

After my Lobectomy, I was left with a large red J shaped scar on my back and side, it looked like [...] continue the story

Reflections on My Three Year Cancerversary…Lessons Learned

I should start by saying that on my actual Cancerversary (April 15th) I was so preoccupied with a doggie crisis that I spend all day at the emergency veterinarian’s worrying about my dog that I forgot all about what day it was! Needless to say, in the days that followed I did a bit of reflection on what surviving three years means to me.

I remember shortly after I was diagnosed, a friend of mine told me about her mother who was also battling cancer at the time. She mentioned that her mother had been fighting for three years. I thought, wow, what a long time!! In hindsight, it seems like no time at all!! It’s strange, I barely recognize myself or my life anymore, but I love who I am and I certainly love my life…cancer and all! I had always thought I knew what I wanted, but it took cancer to show me what was really important, and it wasn’t what I thought it was. Cancer has been both a blessing and a curse, and along the way, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share.

I’ve never felt so loved or so alone in my life

It is [...] continue the story