A little About myself

My name is Liz Rowan and I am 3X time cancer survivor, currently working on the fourth from Vancouver Washington.
I have an amazing twin sister, who's been my rock. Our mom died from breast cancer when we were 6. We grew up without a MOM, but always knew she was in our hearts.
My cancer battle began when I was 16, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma of the jaw then we found out I had two forms of Breast Cancer. Then, on my 21st birthday I ended up in the hospital with low blood counts and two days later I was diagnosed with complex Leukemia.(AML). ...and here we are!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Life without my other half

This BLOG was Liz's personal connection to a vast often anonymous, world and I’ve wondered what to do with it now that she is gone. Liz was a passionate soul and I have dreamed of a way to create a legacy that embodies her spirited nature. I know that I cannot replace her, but somehow writing here makes me feel a closeness to her that I tend to be losing these days. The other day I was asked, “What do I do when I miss her the most?” I didn’t know how to answer that question till I chewed on it for a days. the answer it seems, is to write. I will do my best if you’re willing to come along. Also, please share your feedback with me. 

BATTLE - To fight a battle with no tangible opposition is no battle at all, thus does such a wager mean you’re actually fighting a losing effort because that battle lacks outside validation. I guess that is something I’ve felt since we lost Liz. Cancer was such an ominous foe, yet Liz fought it hard and kept a strong spirit. 

Without my twin, I have come to know Grief. Grief is a lonely companion and it never really seems to leave your side or provide a respite from the twirling mindful memories. In ugly terms, grief offers a pissing match between, competing for the highest level of pain that no one else can bear witness to and a void of loneliness that few understand. This is the human experience. I realize it is temporary, but a necessary threshold. 

I have discovered that music has a way of helping. I can hear a song and suddenly my life is transformed. Literally, the brain finds those memories that are joyful and filled with good emotions. I am thankful for that. 

I love the people in my life who truly rose to the occasion and am very grateful. The last few weeks have been overwhelming with other aspects of losing someone so close. My mind has been spinning where peoples kindness almost confuses you, finding words to answer simple questions is a feat, yet the feeling is unbeatable. A perfect storm; beautiful strangers came by my side to help me stand when I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. 

I never lost hope in my life, I simply lost my rock. Liz wasn’t perfect. She was good at driving me crazy, but she was my crazy. I miss my wild and crazy Liz. My other half. At times liz seemed self centered, but I think that was an act, or a front to hide her pain. The day the doctors wanted to put her back on life support she laid in bed gasping for breath. She looked at the doctor and said she was tired. I had been hiding behind the team of doctors. She then cocked her head to see me. (I thought I was hiding my pain quite well.) She then looked back at the doctor and said, "But I can't leave you see, Julia, she needs me." That is where I lost my strength. That was her equivalent of taking a bullet for me. Offering to keep suffering for a chance at survival, only to be there for me. The sentiment that was offered was truly touching. I could not let her suffer. I urged her to make the decision that was right for her and she did.  She wanted me to tell that world how she never gave up, she always fought and she did. Saturday when I took her to the hospital, the doctor told my father and I she wouldn't make it through the night. She did. She survived through the week. 

I love her for that final gift. I promise this blog will not stay sad because as many of you know she had a rule in her hospital room... NO Tears! Instead I will update with interesting happenings, and the memories of liz that made her so special to all of us. MY promise today is next weeks post will be happy. However, This blog is changing to surviving without my twin.. A deep look at grief. The tone of this blog will be happy, but informative and talk about the debilitating side of grief that seems to be a secret.

Its funny, I used to tell people, "yea, I know Liz will die of cancer... its just simply a question of when"  Boy, I was wrong I knew she would die, yes. However, I never imagined life without her because in doing so it would cause an irrevocable pain. So I simply ignored the future and lived solely in the present. Nothing could've prepared me for the following weeks. That is why I feel this blog has a new importance. Not that you need to relive the pain with me, but simply a look at the ugly face of grief and how each day I learn to overcome it. 

Love all of you, 

This is a quote that came to me shortly after liz died
 "We didn't lose another person on Nov. 29th, a lighthouse crumbled. A beacon of strength and passion was lost forever"


Darla said...

Julz... This is truly beautiful and from your heart. I look forward to your writings.

Vicki Eggleston said...

Thank you for sharing. I think of Liz very often. I miss her on Facebook and this blog. I look forward to your future writings. God bless you and your family and the angel that Liz has become.

Unknown said...

Very beautiful and perfect. She would have loved it. Look forward to more posts. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful and a lovely tribute to your beloved sister. God Bless You!

Anonymous said...

Something both you and Liz have in common. ..a beautiful soul. I'm so glad you got those last few days with Liz, as hard as they were, you being there is why she survived one more week. All our love <3