Honored to be Chosen…

as the Advocate of the Month for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Briefly, succinctly, mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs and/or abdomen. It’s primarily a result of exposure to asbestos but can take many, many years to surface.

I wrote a little bit more about Robert and tried to add a whimsical twist to the story. If you know me in real life, you know that I like to tease people that the mere fact that they are tall makes them special. Come to think of it, I think my fascination with Robert and Matthew’s height started it all.

I only have a few memories of life before age 5 — being chased by a goose, my best friend’s family moving to Russia, and Matthew and Robert. Matthew and Robert are memorable because they were tall, so tall in fact that they were the only two people in my whole church who had to duck to fit through a doorway….

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/warrior/advocate-of-the-month-july-2014.htm#ixzz36YvEqxLD

Abigail Cashelle

CPBC: The Fault in Our Stars

Molly and I snuck out tonight and saw a movie. I’d been hoping to do something really grand for the 4th like go to a waterpark or visit some friends. But my hip is majorly hurting me, it was supposed to be storming, and my friends are (mostly) out of town. So a movie it was.

We saw The Fault in Our Stars based on the novel by John Green. It was beautiful, very heartfelt with really amazing acting.

The premise goes something like this: a teenage girl has been diagnosed with terminal cancer… in her lungs which makes it difficult to breathe. She’s convinced that the only point to life is to make her parents happy because if she dies, the meaning of their life will die with her. Her mom forces her to go to a cancer support group meeting week after week where she meets this teenage boy. She falls for him because he’s handsome and smart and kind of dangerous (and oh he also has cancer but he’s in remission.) The story follows them as they fall in love and are destined to live happily ever after until cancer gets in the way of destiny. Something like that.

I like movies about characters struggling with illness because it’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about. The Fault in Our Stars has some amazing jokes about being a chronic patient that are really relatable, like how people always tell you that you are brave for living with illness (is living with an illness a choice?) and you’re strong for saving that this pain is only 9 out of 10 (when all you’re thinking is how is pain quantifiable? and there has to be something worse than this even though you really wish there wasn’t.) The problem is that they tend to have cheesy endings. And usually someone ends up dead. Like A Walk to Remember or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And it’s all about survivor guilt and the legacy that people leave when they succumb to illness. Or Dear John or The Vow where the premise seems to be about letting go of the past you can’t change and holding on to the hope of the future. They make for great movies but rather cheesy realities. Even though some of them are based on the lives of real people.

TThe Fault in Our Stars has its fair share of movie stereotypes. But it has sufficient redeeming moments to make it worth watching.

  • Like the moment when Hazel confronts her parents about their motivation behind her positive prognosis. It turns into a conversation about how her mom is going to continue to live a purposeful life even after she dies.
  • Or when Hazel tells her dad that it’s not fair to Gus to be his girlfriend, and her dad tells her that it’s not fair to be her parents either and that they’re thinking of abandoning her on the sidewalk outside an orphanage and just walking away so they can live the life that they were supposed to live. For reals. Not even kidding.
  • Or what it means when two (or three) broken people support each other and lean on each other and face their fears together.
  • Or what happens (spoiler alert) when someone dies, and it’s not the person that was “supposed” to die. What does it mean to walk in the shadow of death? How does a dying person survive?
  • Why is it that the simple platitudes that are all around us never seem to bring us any comfort? At “that person’s” funeral, Hazel makes a comment that funerals are really to comfort the living, not to speak to the dead. And sometimes that means ignoring the truth and sugarcoating the past because it’s easier to swallow.

Oh, and the best part, egging the car!! Because I’ve definitely like shattering something. (But the stupid chronic fatigue syndrome keeps me from ever actually getting out and being destructive.) And because the last I thought of when he said, Do you have $5? was that that they were going to egg a car. Plus the line: Between us, we have five legs, four eyes, two and a half pairs of working lungs, and two dozen eggs. So I would suggest you get out of the way.

There were definitely parts of the movie I didn’t understand. And parts of the movie that I would have left out. But I could feel that the movie (or the storyline at least) was written by someone who had passed through the loss that comes with chronic illness and comes before death. And now that I think about it, it makes sense. John and Hank Green are a working example of two brothers supporting each other, making up for each other’s deficiencies, and supporting each other’s curiosities. Hank’s been very frank about his long journey with Crohn’s disease and the way in which society affects us and we them. It’s lovely to see John’s perspective on the issue, particularly in the form of entertainment.

I might just have to start reading the book! Molly, I sense a visit to the library or the bookstore in the very near future.

Abigail

A casual update

Things have been a little crazy over here in Abigail-land. Mostly I’ve just been really overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at work, with medical stuff, with chores, with whatever. A lot of things are sliding, including getting things done at work, actually going to counseling, paying bills on time, following up with St. Jude doctors, etc, etc.

Please pray for stability and for peace and for community.

Honestly,
Abigail

Cruise: back in port

We’ve just completed our tour of the world (okay, not really but still) and now we’re back in the great U S of A. Surprisingly enough, the disembarkation process talks about 4 hours, and for some reason, we’re in owne of the very last zones to be dismissed. More hours of cruise time: here we come!

Yesterday, in addition to sleeping a lot, I managed to eat brunch twice (woohoo) and finally test out the water slide. I’m unfortunately blind without my glasses, but it turns out that as long as you hold them during the actual sliding part, you can use them to climb the winding staircase to the top. It was pretty awesome.

Alana and I found every single photo opportunity yesterday and the day before. Which meant the we spent a lot of time browsing the ahots yesterday. I found two that I really liked and so I got them for my parents. My mom’s only regret of homeschooling us is that we don’t have very many professional photos. I figured this would be the one time in my life when I’d literally have hundreds of shots to choose from.

Alana says it’s breakfast time, so stay tuned for more details later.

Abigail

Cruise: day four

It’s the last full day of our cruise, and I’m sitting in the restaurant waitingfor brunch to be served.

Yesterday we explored the Bahamas a little and bought a few souvenirs. It took us a while to find or way around, particularly since we visited the non-tourist section first. We did get to visit the jail turned library. Plus we got invited to do drugs out by the old monastery. So I guess that’s the true native experience!

We’ve been having a blast, mostly just enjoying the lack of chores and the infinite ability to sleep. We’ve had some fun posing for formal photos, but so far only one or two have really turned out. Plus, our budget is pretty non-existent.

Off to enjoy the view,
Abigail

Cruise: day two

So far, I’ve been loving the cruise. The food is actually pretty amazing, which is saying something considering that I usually could care less about food and forget meals and the like. The chef has been fairly accommodating, which is excellent for someone with food allergies.

Alana amd I make quite the interesting pair since she is recovering from a concussion and I from a hip dislocation. The sangeee of us falling is high, and we’ve had quite a few near misses, me more than her.

That said, we’ve been sleeping the majority of the time. Today I did get to it to the pool and hot tub which is good for my hip. I also managef to finish reading a book I started the day before. Tonight was the elegant night, so aafter dinner we got our photos taken around some of the backdrops. Then we came back to the room for a movie.

Tomorrow is aan early day on land, so as our maitre-d’ likes to say: ciao for now!

Abigail

Ready for a roadtrip

image

Ready to go (they have less to pack)

I’m headed to the clinic of St. Jude tomorrow. I’m ready for this to be my last trip but I’m excited to see Bethany and Alana and my favorite musician.

Then I’ll get to go on my first cruise.

So much more exciting than today. Or at least more fun and relaxing.

I found out this afternoon that one of the reasons I had been feeling particularly terrible these past few days is because I had a dislocated femur. Ugh, some days I hate having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Anyhow, after I got home from getting that reset, I found that Alana had just got home from the ER where she had been treating after smashing her head into a slab of concrete. I guess that can also be considered exciting but it’s the kind of drama I can live without. Seriously, I think it’s time for a vacation. Don’t you think?

Back to packing,
Abigail Cashelle