March 31, 2023

Get a Hold of Yourself


I was on myplanet today and read a member’s status “I am trying to get a hold of myself.” I think we can all relate to this if we are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, chemo, radiation, waiting and watching, or another illness, or any kind of life fiasco, such as unemployment.

I spent two days on the Yakama Reservation with young adult cancer survivor Holly Anna DeCoteau Pinkham. (Some of you know her from Planet Cancer and LAF too.) I included the juiciest parts of our conversation in my book. Here is piece of HollyAnna wisdom that really stands out to me when I think about getting a hold of my life:

“Sometimes when I’m starting to crash, I go to the mountains and watch the water. Water doesn’t fight its way down the hill. It takes the path of least resistance. Still, there are rocks in the water, and that is how I look at cancer. It’s a rock. I’ll go around it, over it, under it if I can. I’m not going to fight it. Instead, I’ll let it figure out how it is going to guide my path. You have to figure out how to work with the momentum cancer establishes in your life. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself nuts. So I have to go up to the mountains, and I remind myself that I’m like the water.”

“Fight” has become the mantra of the cancer world. I love that HollyAnna steps out of the boxing ring and ditches the “fight” while remaining an empowered, intelligent, and all together kick-ass patient.

Where do you go when you need to get a hold of yourself? (I love being a big imposing library, getting lost in it all.) What centers you or calms you? Do you have metaphors like Holly Anna’s water that get you through? Have you ever thought about not fighting? Does that scare you or give you more energy?

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  1. Matt Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    I love, love, _love_ this quote. It’s such a different perspective than most of us have about our cancer. Very refreshing. Thanks!

  2. Daria Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 5:49 AM

    I don’t really like the word ‘fight’ either unless I’m in active treatment … that is when it is most appropriate for me.

    I think blogging for me has been most calming and helpful. I have found amazing support from others not just by the comments and emails they send but by the real life stories they share. I am inspired and rejuvenated by them.

  3. Daria Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 10:27 AM

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes I do think it’s important to blog during the good and bad but sometimes I think it scares/hurts people when I write the bad stuff.

    Yes I will put your blog in the blog roll but could I ask you to add yourself as a follower. I would appreciate the support.

  4. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    Sure it scares/hurts people when you write the truth about what you are going through, but cancer is scary and painful stuff. If people don’t want to read, they can skip ahead, and catch you on another day. I think you will find just the opposite reaction though. I know I have with my book: people gravitate to it because it is very real.

    So many of us have scary times and feel really isolated because it is hard to find others willing to talk about the lows. When I wrote my book Everything Changes, I made a choice not to edit out the hard stuff from the interviews I did. I don’t write gory medical details, I don’t dwell or ramble with despair, but I do show both sides of the cancer equation. Otherwise, how will anyone know that it is okay to be depressed, have days where we don’t want to fight, have weeks where we don’t feel inspired?

    To me the inspired stories are not just people who got a diagnosis and found a way to have meaning in their lives, but people who allowed themselves to hit the lows and figure out how to come back from that place of fear, anxiety and being in the dumps, and keep on living and moving forward. THAT is what I admire. THAT’S what I want others to know about.

    And of course I’ll add myself as a follower to your blog! It is a great one!

  5. krissy knox Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 10:15 PM

    Hi Kairol. Thanks for stopping by my blog. What a beautiful complement about the love of my husband and I. We even married knowing something was wrong. We thought it was the return of his first cancer — Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. Instead if was the beginning of a second cancer — bone marrow cancer (MDS). But I married John one month before he was officially diagnosed. And I would do it all again.

    If you would ever like to interview us (John said yes, he would like that, I just asked him), you can email me and let me know. Not sure if you’re interested as we’re in our forties, but thought I’d offer. he got his first cancer about 10 years ago at 36. He got his second cancer — I’m not sure — but was diagnosed about 3 years 9 months ago. So you’re welcome to email me. And if you have any advice on how to write a book, or any other way to write — we’re both interested in writing…

    krissy knox :)
    visit my main blog: Sometimes I Think
    follow me on twitter:

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