Voices: Winter Reflections

Winter Reflections | Dee Sparacio

As I sat at my computer looking out the window at more than seven inches of snow in my yard, I began thinking back to the winters when I was in treatment. I remember how stressed I was that Mother Nature might cause me to miss a treatment. I used to worry that the snow might start during my infusion and I would have to figure out which way to drive home to avoid the steep hill. Thankfully, we only had snow one time on a treatment day, and it wasn’t even deep enough to cause me to change my route driving home. It is easy to enjoy the snow when you don’t have those stresses, but I know women in treatment who do have those stresses, women like those who attend the support group at my cancer center.

It was a very cold evening in January when our support group met. With my fleece sweatshirt wrapped around me, I listened to the other women introduce themselves. Most were relatively new to the group. Then it was my turn. “I am Dee and I was diagnosed in 2005 with Stage 3B ovarian cancer.” And then it hit me. I was the last woman from the initial group meeting in 2007 who was still coming to meetings. I continued with an abbreviated version of my story and ended with “I am NED and my next visit with my gyn-onc is in February.”

The rest of the night I was quiet. I don’t think anyone noticed because everyone was busy supporting and sharing information with the women currently in treatment. I was reflecting on how I fit in to this new group of women. Right now my story is not as closely linked to theirs as it had been. I am NED and they are not. I have neuropathy and hair. They have neuropathy and no hair. They are in treatment and I am not. I was distracted and sad. I was missing the women in the group, my friends whose lives were lost because of a gynecologic cancer. And I was feeling out of place. How do I make the women in treatment feel? Maybe I shouldn’t go to the group any more?

After the meeting many of returned to the same parking deck. As we walked to our cars I talked with one woman’s sister. She turned to me and thanked me for attending. I told her that I thought my being there might make the other women feel badly. She turned to me and said, “No, you give them hope.”

There was my answer. I’ll be at the next support group meeting and the one after that and the one after that.

Every Day is a Blessing!