Thursday, July 12, 2012


It's a balancing act, really.

Cancer kind of simplifies life in a way.  You get down to the basics.  And it complicates things.  You have to learn new tricks. Tricks they can't teach you in a manual.  You have to think differently.  You have to talk to people differently.  Delicately.  You have to weigh your options.

To live like I am going to die, or die like I am going to live? 

Most people are not comfortable with me talking either way.  I am not exactly comfortable with either.  I guess the easy answer is I might die soon.  I probably will. But what does that future do to the present?  It all seems a little warped.  There must be a middle ground that can satisfy both options.  I pray to find it everyday.  I try to find the right words to say.

But there are no words.  There is nothing right about this situation.  It doesn't feel good.  It's not fun to talk about.  It's not easy to think about.

It doesn't fit me.  Especially, it seems, around the neck.  And so I am always tugging and pulling.  

I have struggled with the brain met issue.  This is not something I can ignore.  Can't leave it out of the equation.

When I was first diagnosed with stage IV, I asked, "So, how does melanoma actually kill you?  Does it get so big in your organs that it causes them to fail?"  The Dr. said death usually occurs because of uncontrolled brain metastasis.  Thank goodness I didn't have any of those, thought I.

I felt, I have to be realistic at that point (the 25 brain mets point).  We were very up front with the kids.  Luke kept telling me, "Mom!  Don't tell your kids that kind of stuff!"  And maybe I shouldn't.  But I would hate for this to come as a super shock.

I seem to get a little peace out of working out a plan (the nanny idea did not go well with the boys, we have finally worked out what we think is a great arrangement, should Something happen).  I guess I would rather be prepared.  Trying to, again, walk that line between realistic hopes I'm typing this I'm wondering what 'realistic hopes' are. 

The thing is, I am also prepared for a miracle.  No work required there (or do I need more faith?).  A heart is always prepared for a miracle.  It would be so easy to fit into this story.  It goes along with everything I said, and believe.  It matches everything I wear.  It would be the most becoming addition to this pretty existence. 

So, when the kids still pray for all Mom's cancer to go away,  I let them.  Let them lean to that side. 

And besides, my tumors continue to shrink.  Like crazy, even.  I realize it is most likely the workings of the chemo (temodar), and its effects are short term.


It does seem at the end of a day (especially a summer day)  I find myself loving my life.  Despite the bad parts.  It is not to scale.  The good, every time I think about it, outweighs the bad.  The surplus is astounding.  I love the very body that is attacking me.  The things that are breaking my heart I cherish above anything.  The kids that have to hear and consider some really hard stuff...they are thriving.

The world is a beautiful place.  And here I am.  On two feet.


  1. ...Two feet managing graceful equilibrium, really... What an eloquent, forthright, and moving set of words...thoughts... feelings. Thank you so much for sharing them.
    -Laura (Cashew's mama)

    P.S. I hope you won't mind me posting... #812 (no doubt, a re-read for you):

    "A Light exists in Spring
    Not present on the Year
    At any other period —
    When March is scarcely here

    A Color stands abroad
    On Solitary Fields
    That Science cannot overtake
    But Human Nature feels.

    It waits upon the Lawn,
    It shows the furthest Tree
    Upon the furthest Slope you know
    It almost speaks to you.

    Then as Horizons step
    Or Noons report away
    Without the Formula of sound
    It passes and we stay —

    A quality of loss
    Affecting our Content
    As Trade had suddenly encroached
    Upon a Sacrament."

    -E. Dickinson

    P.P.S. Ginger is home...?

    1. Always something new in her verses. Thanks for sharing Laura!

  2. This post makes me cry,you have such a beautiful way of writing! You are such a beautiful, amazing person. I can't imagine what you are going through and what it feels like every day to know what you are dealing with and what the outcome might be and how to talk to your kids about it, but yet you seem to do such a great job at it and handle it so well. You look past the cancer and see the best and still LOVE life. You really are amazing and Heavenly Father needs to make a miracle happen cause we need Amazing people like you to stay here on this earth :) You are truly an inspiration to me and make me want to live my life different each and every day!

    1. Thanks Chandy! We will invite you guys to our miracle party when this is over and we can meet!

  3. Alisa
    This is such an heartfelt post with a such a raw honesty and beautiful perspective that clearly reflects what an incredible person you are. I don't know you, but have been following and praying for you for some time. I have never commented before because it felt like an intrusion on the most personal of territories. But after reading this, I just wanted to say that you are grace personified. Continued prayers.

    1. This is so humbling to read. Thank you for your prayers, truly.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts. We think of you and pray for you daily. Today, in fact, I was wondering how you deal with the "what ifs" that are right there in front of you, and still hope for the miracle that could also happen. So I appreciate your answer. You give me a better perspective on life and motherhood. Thank you! We love you.

    1. Thanks Jen. It was fun to see Paul today. You guys are too cool.

  5. you are amazing, you are inspiring, and you make me cry every time I read your blog!!! miracles do happen and I will keep praying that you will get some more!!! lots of love and prayers.. the robinson family:)

    1. Thanks guys! Miracles do happen!

  6. Thinking of you, and keeping you in my prayers. I am at a loss for words, but I wanted you to know that I think of you everyday. You are astounding and beautiful. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Teri, my brother Matt was just talking about your daughter. Alisa is a good name, I'm thinking.

  7. It is very humbling to read your perspective... Thank you for your honesty and example. We continue to have you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love, the Huish family

    1. Thank you so much! I feel the effect of peoples prayers daily.

  8. Hi Alisa. Although I've never left a comment before, I'm one of your faithful readers. After your dad spoke at our regional multi-stake conference in January, your family's experiences have been on my heart and mind frequently. Because I don't know how to email you, I posted a letter to you on my own blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    1. Wow. Thank you so much. I love this letter.

  9. (tears)..... Your strength is so inspiring! This post reminds me of what Admiral James Stockdale said of his experience as a POW in Vietnam,
    "you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, wich you can never afford to lose, With the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
    You are doing the impossible! Alisa we will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers, your faith in the end of the story and willingness to confront these mean and brutal facts seem too difficult to do. But, you are doing both of them beautifully! I am awestruck!

    Stephanie Ingram

    1. Love you Steph. Thanks! Come see me if you are ever around Utah. Promise?

  10. Beautiful post - beautiful thoughts, Alisa.

  11. You have such a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts and emotions. I always find myself crying reading your posts, half because I can relate to the same sentiment, but also because you remain optimistic, hopeful, and indeed faithful...You are truly an astounding and beautiful person.

    Miracles do indeed exist! God has a plan for you and for your family and I just know that you are touching so many people with your story, your attitude, your perspective, and your spirit. Keep fighting, keep holding onto hope, and keep enjoying life! And you are right, the good always outweights the bad. ALWAYS.


    P.S. I want you to read my speech that I just gave at a Relay for Life event this weekend. It is titled, What a Survior Is. I thought of you often when I wrote that speech. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

    P.P.S. Can I write about you/share your story on my blog? I would be so honored...

  12. Sweet Alisa,

    Reading this is so emotional for me. You express your thoughts and emotional so poetically, so elequently. As much as your words hurt (because we all love you so much and hate to see you suffer), they also heal. The bleakness of the situation is so stark, yet you find so much happiness and beauty in the everyday life you are living with your sweet boys and adoring hubby. My heart mourns for you, but it is also so hopeful. You are young, healthy, beautiful. Cancer shouldn't compete with that. Go away cancer, go away...

    1. Thank you sweet friend! Go away cancer so Steph and I can play!