Being “out” about Cancer

March 7, 2013

When I first started dealing with symptoms of cancer – but before I knew I had cancer – I made a decision. That decision was to be “out” publicly about my situation. That means I wrote about it on my blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I made this choice for a couple of reasons. The first is just because it seemed natural for me. The second was because if I came out with a positive attitude to go along with my positive prognosis I would set the tone for how people would deal with me. And I wanted people to be positive towards me and share their upbeat stories while not sharing those stories that would bring me down. It worked, too.>

Contessa & me at El Recreo Photo credit Contessa

Today I read the article “Living With Cancer: For the Birds” in the New York Times.  The author, Susan Gubar, is battling ovarian cancer and has been writing a series of articles about her experiences.  This article struck a chord with me as she names the various types of people (birds) who are less than welcome conversation partners.  For example The Crows share their “predatory pre-grieving” and The Ostriches keep their heads in the sand and comment on anything EXCEPT cancer.  I feel so lucky that I have NONE of these birds in my life and I know part of the reason is I came out right away setting a positive tone.

Margaritas at Stone Island

I read the comments on the above article and got a charge out of two commenter submissions: THE OWLS (those who truly give a hoot) and THE LARKS (who sang when the first phase of treatment was over.) I am so very lucky with my friends here in Mazatlan and my family, too.  My life is full of Larks and Owls, for sure.

Pedro Infante is too cool!

I’ve been having a ball these last couple of weeks as my sisters visited to see for themselves that I was ok.  And of course, I am!  We had so much fun playing with the dogs, cooking meals, going out to the theater, art openings, and surfing competitions.  We went to Stone Island, walked on the malecon, ate a ton of chocolate raisins, and laughed our heads off.  Paul reveled in having a house full of Dardarian sisters, too.

Is she looking at an email from work or a funny picture?

The weather while they were here was almost perfect.  It might have been a bit cool in the morning a couple of days but they both got plenty of sun as they escaped that Northern winter weather. We are already starting to think about our next extended get together – using a private group on Glassboard instead of endless emails.  We also like to use  Google hangouts so that all three of us can video chat.

I know they're both missing Henry & Coco

I have most of a week yet before my next chemotherapy, I had better get busy on my latest knitting project, work on my volunteer chores for El Recreo and have a little fun with my puppies and Paul.  Hasta pronto!

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Hello. I just wanted to say your pictures and attitude are wonderful to see. I came by way of knitting/Ravelry/and looking at places in Mexico that we might like to retire in. You are lovely! all the best, Victoria in upstate new york

    1. I noticed right away what you were doing. I have also had cancer and gone through chemotherapy and had to decide how to deal with the whole thing in terms of other people. I had to do what came naturally to me. I was positive and upbeat and I attracted that energy. I was thrilled when I saw how you were handling everything. Kudos. I have been enjoying your blog for many years now and this post was the one that made me want to comment. Always felt a kind of kindred spirit with you. I am also half Armenian. Wishing you the best. Selina

    1. I would handle it the same as well, I think. I’ve always been an open person and feel life deals us stuff and we might as well find the fun and funny in it. You do look wonderful, by the way.

      I need to plan another week in Mazatlan with my sisters.

    1. Nancy, I think you are an inspiration and a wonderful model for the rest of us, because there but for the grace of… one never knows what lies around the next bend.
      And yes, Marty, it makes me miss my sisters, too.

    1. Laughter is, indeed, the best medicine. How wonderful that you have all of your sisters, both blood-related and the women who surround you with love every day, by your side! I hardly know you, but you inspire and motivate me to live my life with gladness and gratitude every day. Rock on, Nancy D! You are spectacular!

    1. Count me in with the owls. I give a hoot and I’m thrilled you are handling this so well.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA

    1. Hi Nancy! You and your SISTAHS are an awesome trio. You are most definitely blessed. Sounds like you are knocking out each round of chemo like a champ. Continue to be well!!

    1. Where I come from, people would say of you, Nancy…”That Nancy, she’ll just cowgirl-up and git ‘er done.” That’s about the highest praise you can get in my part of the country.

      1. Thanks so much for all your support and kind words! I appreciate all my OWLS big time!

        And Les, anytime I feel less than happy about the chemo I am thinking of your words. I’ll just cowgirl up!


    1. It was so great to see you at the play reading and to meet your sisters. They are so full of energy, just like you. I do love that photo of the three of you, you are perfect without the dark glasses.

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