Sunday 22nd January 2017,
The Liz Army

Each moment is bittersweet

Liz celebrating 32nd birthday hearing Hello Kitty t-shirt and holding a balloon

I just turned 32.

It has been almost three years since I experienced the first significant symptom that I had brain cancer.

It was one week after my 29th birthday that I lost consciousness at work, suffered a grand mal seizure, convulsed uncontrollably for five minutes, then peed my pants in front of the boss. I had no history of epilepsy and was 29 years old.

If only one in three adults diagnosed today with a malignant brain tumor will be alive five years from now… then I am more than half way through the waiting period.

I stopped Temodar three months ago and I think I am feeling normal again. Sometimes I wonder if cancer aged me (I like going to sleep early, even on weekends), but then again I could be feeling this way because I am getting older.

I started the process of getting a huge, cancer-inspired tattoo last weekend. It is going to take two months to be done (I will post pictures when it is complete). Some of my older friends wonder why I am still getting tattoos at my age and I like to remind them that 1.) I am not old and 2.) if there was a possibility you could die sooner than all the people you know, wouldn’t you live your life to the fullest (and not worry about having tattoos when you are old)?

Brett and I have fallen into a routine where we come home from work, make dinner and then watch two episodes of Star Trek on DVD before bed. Sometimes I wonder if we are wasting time by watching TV and being less active, but there is something comforting about being curled up next to Brett that I find very satisfying. We don’t just sit next to each other–our arms and legs are wrapped around one another like we are one person. We don’t want to be apart.

I asked him the other day if he feels like I do; we sit with each other like that because, in the back of our minds, we can’t get enough of each other.

Are you ever afraid that one day I will be dead and you wish you cuddled me more?

His answer is yes.

We feel the same way. We constantly want to be together. Maybe it is unhealthy to spend so much time together–if I didn’t have cancer I think we’d spend more time with other people, exploring more hobbies. But we are both scared that there isn’t enough time.

This fear doesn’t stop us from living our lives. But if we have the choice to be alone reading a book or be in the same room reading the book, we read in the same room on the same couch with our feet touching.

Brett still takes care of me to almost the same level as he did after brain surgery. He does all the cooking, he refuses help, and maybe this is just the way he’d be normally as a married partner. Or maybe he still “babies” me because he wants my life to be worry-free. I tell him I want him to have a break too, but he truly gets comfort about of taking care of me.

Brett isn’t as outgoing as I am so staying home is natural for him. But I have friends who want to hang out with me and they roll their eyes when I mention Brett coming along. They don’t realize how precious each moment is to us. It’s not like, “Oh, now that we are married no one else matters.” It’s just that each moment is bittersweet.

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  • Edward Slas

     Hey my b-day is in July (9th) too. Nice balloon. Stats can be misleading. The average age of BT diagnosis is over well over 50.  A young trekie like you is sure to beat the average.

    • Liz


    • Liz

      P.S. Happy birthday, Ed!

  • Alicia

    having known brett almost my entire life, i truly believe that he would take care of you this exact same way – cancer or not. <3

  • Elizabeth

    I totally agree about the bittersweet feeling.  My husband and I have been together for 20 years, married for almost 16 and we spend whatever time we can together.  Last summer after my surgery he did everything around the house.  Now, I’ve taken back some of the chores because I wanted to feel like I was doing my share, not because he wanted me to do them.  I am so glad that he and I have been able to spend so much time together.  
    I read this the day you posted it but – forgot that I wanted to send you a note about it until now.  My memory = horrible.   I hope that your Birthday was terrific.
    I sort of feel like cancer aged me.  I was 36 when I showed my first symptoms.  It was only a month before my 37th birthday.  Am 38 now and am in bed by 8-8:30.  I used to be such a night owl.  I also have consistent aches and pains I never had before.  I might not look much older but I feel older.

  • Sky

    and here I am to prove Ed’s theory — dx’d with GBM IV at 30 and turned 40 in June.  love your blog, so open and honest — I am also a blogger.  It’s called “Sky’s The Limit” (, started it right after I found out the tumor I thought was gone was back, residing in the same ol’ hole as the one in 2002!  You rock, thank you for the advice on how to be cool in the face of cancer.

  • Raechal

    This post made me cry. I was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2011 at 30 and I’m on my last cycle of Temodor now. This is EXACTLY how I feel about my husband! Thanks for putting it so beautifully.

    • Liz

      It makes me cry whenever I re-read it!