Today, I’m publishing a poem by my talented friend Dianna Bailey. I asked Dianna to write a bit about her background with chronic illness and how she came to this point. She feels she is still searching for her purpose in life, but believes that it is to help others get through things and understand them better by passing on what she learns through her research. No doubt about it, from getting to know Dianna through her posts in various Facebook forums, I can attest to the fact that she is both knowledgeable, proactive and caring, but here’s what she has to say about herself …
I was born in Pennsylvania but have lived in Virginia since 1972. I’m a single mom who is very creative and I enjoy activities such as belly dancing, sewing, gardening, music, crafts, etc. In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was given a lumpectomy and radiation. This was followed in 2006 by a diagnosis with invasive breast cancer in the same breast at which time I got a second lumpectomy with radiation therapy AND chemotherapy. In 2010, I was diagnosed with invasive cancer in the other breast and got yet another lumpectomy and radiation.
On May 9 2010, I experienced a turning point as my daughter, who is vegetarian and very much into leading a natural lifestyle, convinced me to go gluten-free because I was losing energy from radiation treatments. I was amazed that I gained so much energy and so were my doctors. I also lost joint pain, fogginess, nasal congestion, and more. I searched for a local gluten-free support group and found one. Cindy, the leader, had just had surgery for thyroid cancer. When she described her symptoms of Hashimoto’s, I realized I had most of the symptoms and went to my primary care doctor to demand more thorough testing. That is when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in March of 2011 and met many people in the same situation by searching for Hashimoto’s support on Facebook.
Diana’s poem includes what NOT to say when you don’t know what to say to someone with cancer. As she puts it: “I’ve had so many people not know what to say and blurt out the people they knew who died while I was trying to survive! Then I started telling people who would start to tell me about someone they know who also has cancer: ‘If it doesn’t have a happy ending, I don’t want to hear it please.’ Then they would change what they were going to say.”
Dianna asks that you please keep her name with this poem if you share it, but of course this applies to all writing on Butterflies & Phoenixes, as you can see from the Creative Commons conditions at the bottom of each page.
Cancer made me feel alone
Nothing else could set this tone
The news that hits; an icy blast
The devastation that tends to last
The news of which I can’t prepare
The scattered thoughts that linger there
Confused and overwhelming fear
Is the end of life too near?
I search and search for answered prayer
I need God to really care
The wonder of what will I lose
What medical options should I choose?
I browse through the Internet
And find more than I care to get
The increased fear and info search
The contact of supportive Church
God works through people I am told
I ponder on this thought I hold
The mixed emotions I endure
Are doctors soon to find a cure?
I pray, I cry, I want to shout
“Why me, God?” As feelings doubt
My faith is tested as I hope
To find the strength of how to cope
My purpose here I want to live
My own existence of what I give
The friends who know not what to say
And many others who back away
Good intentions but words said wrong
Of someone attempting all along
To make it better but their words fail
With lack of knowledge of what to tell
“I once knew someone with cancer, too
They died, of course, but not that you
Will also meet that same fate
Medical advances are up-to-date”
I know they meant to say it right
But words failed, somehow, to make it light
“I need you just to be with me
And spend some time and you will see
No words need said if you don’t know
The words to say or how to show
Compassion, companionship will do
That’s what I need right now from you
And all the prayers, I welcome, too
And sharing just a part of you
Just to know that someone cares
Enough to include me in their prayers
Support through treatments, and to say
We just got through another day
I’ll have bad days, and some good
Just share your time, please, if you would”
“God, be with me everyday
Help loneliness and fear to go away
Please help doctors a cure to find
Support from friends and Peace of Mind”.
Great and very powerful poem!
I really like the “no words” are needed part,
compassion goes a long way even when silent!
Good friends and support to you always!
Thanks, HD! Isn’t it just an inspiring poem:-). I’m sure so many people who have experienced cancer can relate to this.
Beautiful and powerful poem. I am working on an awareness design for breast cancer and will be posting it soon. I would love to link to this very moving poem when I do.
Blessings to you Dianna! Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem.
Glad you liked Dianna’s poem. You are more than welcome to link back to it with your awareness design – perhaps I can also link to you with a bio about your jewellery business or something similar. Are you planning on bringing out several awareness designs?
I’ll let Dianna know you both commented:-).
I will let you know when I post the link. I have been planning to do this for quite some time. It has taken longer than I planned but finally have all the specialty tools needed and picked up some sheet metal today to get going. I just now finished the first prototype. I have to do a little tweaking and probably will be ready tomorrow or the next day. I plan to do similar for other cancers, as well as thyroid disease and autoimmune diseases. As I have written in the info section of my page, I plan to donate a percentage of sales to three main organizations, including the “American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), “Avon Walk for Breast Cancer”, and “American Cancer Society”. That would be lovely of you to linked back to me. Of course you would have to help me write something, as that is definitely not my forte 🙂
Wow. What a great venture, Lori. We can certainly sort something out. I’ll help you write a guest post with your background and how you plan to raise awareness. Your creations are gorgeous, so I’m sure people will be quite interested.
What a great poem, support, care and love in it… Blessing from me, dear, Dianna. I stand by you!
Thank you for your comment, Nataliy. Every time I read this, it makes me cry because the words are so very true.
What a powerful and sweet poem of what you endured, Dianna. It is beautiful. <3 XO
Thanks for commenting, Leigh. Dianna’s poem really is amazing, isn’t it?:-).