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The Aftermath

aftermathAt 5am this morning I woke up, briefly (long enough to eat a bowl of cereal and watch an episode of Silicon Valley on my iPhone). Recently I’ve been sick, exhausted, nauseated, and so physically uncomfortable that when I’m awake I long to go to sleep again.

But this morning, for a brief moment and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel so bad. The whistling of the wind through the trees outside my bedroom sounded almost like the ocean.

It reminded me of when, a few years ago, I stayed in a beachside cabana on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua in a small town called Playa Gigante (about a year later I bought my own little piece of Nicaraguan land a few miles North in Chacocente). I would sleep in, sip coffee and eat chocolate chip pancakes with the other travelers at the restaurant next door, then surf, then eat nachos, then surf, then eat, drink, and play ukulele with my new friends into the night. This morning, for a moment, I wasn’t in my shitty, painful life. For a moment, I got to be somewhere else.

As I wrote about in my post a few weeks ago, last month I was besieged with a series of events so bizarre that they would almost be comical if not so tragic (maybe, someday, I’ll laugh).

First, my paranoid, heartless, and not-mentally-sane landlord informed me and Peter that she would not be renewing our lease and was making us move. (Yes, she knew I had cancer. No, she didn’t care). She waited until the last moment to tell us and rebuffed our appeals to let us stay via a series of cold certified letters, having stopped returning our phone calls long before. She told us she was moving back into the house, although that same day I saw it listed online as available for lease the day after she was kicking us out — for a significantly higher rent.

In the weeks before we had to move, she started stalking the house, slowly driving around the block dozens of times to peer inside, accused us of threatening her, called the police on us, and then in the culmination of insanity, hired private detectives to do background investigations on us and tail us for two days straight. (Yes, in some cabinet somewhere there exists a file on me with surreptitiously-acquired information, including photos of me doing such salacious things as picking up the mail and getting into Uber cars to go to chemo). In their defense, when the whole thing came out, the detectives were apologetic, having realized they were hired by a crazy person for no good reason at all. One of them had even read my blog, and was very complimentary.

Oh, and she also refused to return our very large security deposit, charging us with $8000 worth of damage. One hundred dollars to remove a sticker from the garage, $2000 to plant new trees, $450 to put in a new sprinkler system, $150 for a new fireplace grate, $107 for a broken bunny tassel, etc…

What the fuck is a bunny tassel?!

(P.s. — If you are a lawyer familiar with California landlord-tenant law and wouldn’t mind giving me some advice, I would sure appreciate it).

Then — yes, there’s a “then” — the house that Peter and I were supposed to move into fell through the night before the move due to a series of bizarre problems, so when the movers came in the morning, there was nowhere for us to go. I frantically arranged for the movers to take our stuff to a storage unit. For the few days I stayed at a hotel room. Then I moved into the house of my incredibly kind and generous cousin, where I’ve been staying for the last month.

And as many of you figured out from my last post, Peter and I are no longer together. When our housing situation fell through, it forced us to confront that our relationship had been unraveling for a while. I won’t write about the details here, except to say Peter is a good person, but our 5-year relationship could not weather the stress of my cancer diagnosis. The whole thing just broke us apart.

Yes, this all happened. No, I did not steal this story from the plot of a bad Lifetime movie.

What else is there to say? I thought having cancer would be the worst part about having cancer, but it’s not.

Fuck you, cancer. I’m going to bed.

***

Photo by Gary Laurzon

Comments

  1. Dearest Elana,
    My nightly prayers for you continue even though you’d been silent since late March. Somehow you’ve now endured not just cancer and treatments on-going, but the rest of the crap that life has just thrown your way. Thank God for your cousin. Maybe one of my prayers helped with that move in happening. If so, thank you God, although I do believe now Elana needs some of your kindness in the weeks and months ahead. (I’ll add that to my prayers for you now)
    The card I resent to your office at the hospital where you work was not returned this time, as I had your office # on it. So, I do hope you did receive it.
    Blessings from Vancouver. If I lived closer I’d come over and make you some herbal tea and sit and just ‘be’ with you for awhile.
    Wendy

    • Hi Elana! Ive never replied to any of your posts before even though I have been reading your blog for several months now.. It is funny because on Monday I was checking my email and came across an old post of yours that I specially liked

      “I have cancer, but I’m realizing this is not just a story about cancer. And I am sad, but this is not just a sad story.
      This is it! This is what life is like. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s shit. I’ll still go to bed tonight (probably too late), wake up in the morning, and hope the next day is a little bit better than the last.”

      I realized I haven’t gotten any new blog updates lately so I googled you to go to your website and saw that there was nothing new and I was wondering how you were doing, is funny because I don’t really know you. So I was happy to see a new update today, unfortunately it wasn’t good news, it sucks when life seems to hit you in all possible levels, you start asking why is this all happening now?, I wish I had good answers or wise advice to give, but I know from my own experience that nothing people say can make you feel any better when life seems to be working against you!.. All I can say is, hang in there! be sad, be angry, be tired, or whatever it is that you feel, but just hang in there! it will pass!
      It is amazing how you have all this people who genuinely care about you, many (including myself) who have never even met you and probably never will, but have been touched by the honesty of your posts and relate in some way to your struggles and the way you see life.
      Hope this horrible storm going on in your life goes away very soon, in the meantime I will send you all my very best vibes from Mexico all the way to where you are! :)

  2. Sandy Grace says:

    Yes! Fuck you cancer. You are going to bed to escape your pain and pitiful existence. In the meantime, the universe aligns perfectly for you to be ‘homeless’ at exactly the moment the wind calls to you “Playa Gigante”, “Playa Gigante”, “Playa Gigante”.
    Play big, my friend. With heartfelt love.
    xo

  3. I am a stranger, someone who was drawn to your writing, and your raw heart on the screen. My heart broke at your last post…and on reading this, it continues to. Please know that you are not alone. You deserve some kindness from the world, and maybe a perfect stranger is where it should come from. I send you my hand to clasp, my shoulder to cry on, my ears to hear you…and the knowledge that someone out here does hear you. Better days must come.

    • Kristin says:

      Dear Elena, Im also a stranger but whould you allow me to send you some money? Perhaps we can all send some money so Elena can get a good lawyer? Love Kristin

  4. Elana,
    I know this isn’t your biggest problem right now – or maybe it is – but wow, do I remember the thing about crazy sadistic L.A. landlords (I swear I know who yours is from your story!!! – msg me when you feel a bit stronger) … and you can get TRIPLE damages for wrongful withholding of your deposit – wow, I got PTSD just hearing your story- terrible and insensitive … hang in there, and think about La Playa, girl – sending you strength-
    a loving reader…
    - Jan

  5. Elana,
    You have been through so much and you continue to put one foot in front of the other. That is the ultimate show of strength. You mentioned not wanting to be a “cancer hero.” You are so much more than that. Nobody expects you to put on a false smile and shake pom poms and talk about how *great* everything is. We want you to take care of yourself. We want you to gain health and peace and equilibrium, and it certainly is clear that these have not been coming easily for you lately.

    I am no attorney, and certainly do not know about CA landlord-tenant laws, but I am a landlord in Arizona. There is actually a publication in our state that landlords are required to advise their tenants of that explicitly tell the tenants what their rights and responsibilities are. Here is the California website: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/index.shtml

    Have someone go through this with you. Also, double check to see if you have any records of what the condition of the house was when you moved in (e.g. Photos or a written record of damages). This is something that I do with new tenants when they move in so that everyone is on the same page regarding damages/condition. Also, try to have someone see if she has a record of treating her tenants this way. Lastly, give that crazy bitch the royal bird.

    My prayers are that you are surrounded by love and light and for your spirits to be lifted. I also pray that your medical staff receives insight into what will be the most effective and comfortable (if that’s possible) treatment to rid your body of this cancer once and for all so that you may lead a long, happy, healthy, fulfilling life. And I pray that the crazy lady gets punched between the eyes.

  6. Lauren Schiller says:

    Elana-
    Cancer is such a bitch. Don’t let her steal your personhood. Much easier said than done. However, only briefly meeting you, I could tell you had a strong spirit and much wisdom. I’ve been following your blog and your writing continues to inspire me. I can relate on so many levels. If you have time to meet up to chat sometime, I’d love to catch up. If you need someone to vent to, I’m here.
    So sorry you had to go through this treacherous moving situation in the midst of your treatment. I’m also very sorry things didn’t work out with you and Peter. Cancer sadly is a raw realization of many relationships in your life. Some people can’t handle it and the relationship deteriorates. Other new people often step into your life in unexpected ways.
    Sending thoughts of peace and tranquility your way.

  7. Your story isn’t like a lifetime movie, it’s real, and you are wayyyyyy bigger and better than any protagonist could ever be on one of those shows ( just saying). I seriously look up to you Elana ( this began when you shared your picking psych as a career advice ), thank you for sharing your story, the good-the bad-the crazy ( seriously bunny tassles wtf!? ).
    You sound stronger, you’re able to tell us about all this, you’re stronger than you were when you couldn’t. Im rootin for yah Elana, we all are!

    Nubia

  8. Yoni maron says:

    Dear Elena
    Stay strong for you. She who is most important. Good people will come your way and help as well.
    We most forgive our loved ones and hold no anger.
    I had to say goodby to the love of my life so i can battle MS after years of neglect. It has tremendouse weight on them as well. Transforming them as well into the caos we are in. Keep strong n remember you are wonderful. I am Winning MS with natural remedies. I win. So shell you

  9. Elana – SHE returns! I’ve thought about you so many times, prayed for you (not sure if that’s good or bad these days and I TOTALLY get that) – BUT YOU’VE RETURNED! In spite of it all – the loss of a lifetime of well placed identity in the most, unbelievable, shitty ways possible – YOU, my lady, have returned and it’s GLORIOUS! I’m just going to bask in the glow that this fabulous being that is YOU is becoming this rising Phoenix before our eyes! You are rising from the ashes, my friend! And with the fiery spirit we know and love.

    And you were so right, fuck you, cancer. Right back at ‘cha. Elana rises! Joyful, joyful day!!

  10. So happy to hear you had that brief moment of feeling okay! What a blessing. Your courage and strength continues to inspire me. May you have many more okay, good moments. I love your writing! You could have your cousin help you file a small claims case against the landlord. Go to the superior court website for your county, click on small claims and do an efiling. They explain on the website how to do the procedure. I think you could do a Fee Waiver Application and Order to waive the filing fee. The superior court clerk can even serve her the paperwork by mail, I think. I think you would definitely win and get your deposit back. I don’t think you would have to go to court if you explained your health circumstances. I worked for superior court in CA and I saw people’s paperwork excusing them from court because of their health.

  11. If one my dearest poets is right and the wound is the place where the Light enters you, then my dear you are all exposed for it. And even though you might feel you are in a dark hole right now, don’t forget about all the little rays of light out there. Your writing has touched and enlightened so many of us, there must be some reward coming in your way. Benefits come both from on high and from the humble you uplifted. And although it’s not what you truly need or hoped for right now and definitely can’t replace the true love of a partner, don’t forget you are in so many thoughts, prayers and hearts. May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within!

  12. I am so sorry for all that you are going through. I wish I knew what to do or say to help you feel better. All I can do is speak from my heart. I hope and pray that you find the strength and courage that you need to keep going, to keep fighting that stupid cancer. I hope and pray that you are surrounded by people, family and friends who will lift you up when you feel like you can’t do it on your own. And lastly, I hope and pray that you kick cancer’s ass and get back on track with your life as soon as possible.

    Take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself and savor any and all the good stuff that comes into your life each day, be it a perfect sunny day, a good laugh with a friend or listening to your favorite song. And always remember that you have a lot of people whom you’ve never even met wishing you all the best, praying that you recover quickly and hoping that despite all the crap and bullshit that you have been through that you will come out the other side and find the happiness that you so very much deserve.

    Ever so sincerely,
    Lea

  13. Espère Aube says:

    Heaven knows I do not have the words, and I don’t know that there are words, to heal the soul, but if I had them I would give them to you. I am sure you have heard/read every platitude in the world. I am not going to piss on your leg and tell you it’s raining. You know this is all crap. This ish SUCKS! The love for life you must exude to continue your fight should be your only focus, but for some reason the universe is testing your strength. I have only been following you since December, but your resolve is inspiring. Your raw expression uplifting, even if it breaks my heart to know one person faces so much adversity. I send you thoughts of wellness and I pray your journey is filled with more sunshine and less “rain”. I pray you rest well this evening and wake with another beautiful memory of great days to fuel your love of life. I also send up some frivolous thoughts that you will meet a sexy, nice, and single doctor. A little eye candy never hurts.

  14. Dear Elana, I cannot say it better than everyone else here, but what transpire from this last post is that your spirit is totally where it should be. You are back, stronger, more determined and you are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life with no edit! Thinking of you

  15. Caitlin says:

    I hate that this is happening to you, but I am very grateful that you are still sharing. I hope that life turns around shortly and puts you in a place better than you ever could have imagined. A place of great health and beautiful relationships that will fill you with joy. I have been through some very tough shit myself and it changed my entire life. I hated it when it was happening (sometimes I still do) but I love the person that grew from all that crap and hardship. I hope that the same happens for you.
    I also lost a long-term relationship when I was sick – it actually still is the most significant intimate relationship I’ve ever had. My long-term and severe illness was not something we could weather together. He was a good person too and I understand his reasons for moving on very well. Even though the break-up was better for both of us in the long run, there were still times when I was very bitter about him and hated him for ‘abandoning’ me. I think if you ever happen to have those thoughts as well, that you can go easy on yourself. It’s hard to be understanding of people’s actions when you’re hating what’s happening to you… that’s just in case you ever feel like that.
    Thank you again for sharing your story, even when it gets ugly. (Especially when it gets ugly.)

  16. Laura Khait says:

    Elana,

    You are such a brave woman. Thank you for sharing your experience so candidly. I don’t know why some of some life’s lessons are wrapped in teflon sometimes and some are just rainbows that fall from the sky. All I know is that you are a warrior here in our colossal Earth school and we are all learning together. Thank you for being an exceptional student and bearing the torch even when the light feels dim. Wishing you much healing, relief, abundance, and above all, an undying belief in miracles. Be well, brave one.

    Laura

  17. Tracy Kritz says:

    As far as your issue with your deposit there are very clear laws in CA. I can run you through them if you want to email me. She cannot just randomly charge what she desires. The law and statues are beyond clear in this matter… She’s going to owe you a lot of money very soon. On another note, I am sad to hear of your break up but if your partner is not cancer survival material unfortunately they will get left behind. Painful, awful, agonizing? Yes… But so true. I left a marriage of 13 years which had survived med school residencies, a fellowship and two kids just because I realized I’d rather battle breast cancer alone with my friends beside me than spend another wasted moment with this man. The cancer turned out to be a scare but the line had already been drawn- he was not cancer worthy and I divorced him soon after. Life sucks frequently. Landlords suck. Cancer sucks but at least you aren’t wasting another moment of your life with the wrong man. Small comfort right now I know but it does matter in the long run…

  18. Glad to read that you enjoyed a brief mental vacation to paradise; hoping it’s a sign that ALL things will be improving for you soon. Seventeen years later, I sometimes use my cancer experience as a benchmark for “how bad does my life suck now / how much more can I endure?” Tripped, fell, and awkwardly caught my dominant hand against the sofa last night – either dislocating, spraining or perhaps breaking my thumb. Iced and wrapped it before bed, but it’s swollen and hurts like a sonamabitch this morning. I’ll head to urgent care after dropping my daughter at school. After only a few hours, I really miss having two fully functional hands .. but .. fuck cancer. I can do this. Hugs to you.

  19. What a vibrant voice you have in telling this story, Elana. Thank you, and may love surround you.

  20. Lynn Blaney Hess says:

    Fuck you cancer, indeed. And I know it doesn’t make the melting any less painful, but as I have observed life and my own and other people’s experiences, it sure does seem like the bigger the life meltdown, the bigger the rebirth and potential reward. If that is the case, then you’re in store for some good shit later, lady! (Hopefully soon!)

    Big love to you!

  21. You are held in many hearts, Elena. I hope you feel that buoyancy.

  22. Just another stranger sending you strength from the Midwest.

  23. jdubyba says:

    OMFG; this is all so awful it did make me laugh; i’m so sorry Elana. The picture almost says it all, but then we get your spin–thankfully. Oy. xo

  24. Dear Elana – I do know your pain and frustration over these terrible events. I admire that you are able to honestly share what has happened. I, too, have suffered at the hands of crazies, jerks and outright assholes during my cancer treatment. But you know what? Assigning the blame to cancer lets them off the hook. The fact of the matter is, they would still be crazies, jerks and assholes, of this I can assure you. That said, I pray that your mind takes you to your little slice of heaven as frequently as you need it. Whatever brings you comfort and yes, even joy.

  25. Christine says:

    It is always darkest before the dawn. Your dawn is coming.

  26. Michelle says:

    This may not be the right thing to say right now, but as a relatively new reader who doesn’t know you at all, I had to comment as I feel struck by the level of certainty I feel in what I’m about to say next: you’ve got this. And it’s because of that certainty I can say with enthusiasm that would otherwise be disgustingly ironic: I can’t wait to see where life takes you next. I am very sorry life is piling so much on you to allow your Phoenix to rise, but from the outside looking in I can see very logically how anything less would not be a true test of the resolve of someone as strong as you. (And alongside you, I weep with the part of you that never asked to be so damned strong.) I am so grateful you’ve given us a rare opportunity to watch realtime as miracles unfold.

  27. Carol Warren says:

    Cancer sucks and sometimes life sucks, unfortunately it all came at the same time for you. But your writing shows your spirit is still strong and you know life is worth fighting for. You have touched so many with your words, what a gift you have given to us. Hugs from a stranger in Colorado,

  28. Elizabeth says:

    I was thinking about you last night , as I do frequently, and rereading your last post. (You must have been writing your latest post at the time) You have touched so many people with your story. There are no words to make you feel better right now, but your resilience is remarkable. I always think of the process of pruning, and how painful it must be at the time, but how lush and verdant the growth is, afterwards. Sending love, light and peace to your heart.

  29. Wow. Girl I wish I lived in Cali, because you deserve a few drinks to say the least. Karma is a bitch for your landlord. My heart breaks for you and Peter. I hate when life throws everything at you at once. Where are you in your treatment plan? Almost done? You continue to inspire so many. Your strength and wit are extraordinary. Many good vibes coming your way!

  30. Nicole Cleary says:

    Big love to you. Cancer is a bastard that robs and robs and robs. But you are bigger than cancer. I can see it in your writing. The only way to get to the other side of the cancer treatment valley is to go through it. Wishing you the ease of occasional moments like you write about this morning to allow you to rest along the way. There are many of us who have been through similar treatment valleys and we are all cheering you on, beautiful woman.

  31. Melissa L. says:

    Hello, lovely Elana…
    So sorry about – well, everything – but specifically landlord issues.
    Briefly – yes, technically you can get 3x the disputed amount if the landlord is found at fault (in California). However, it is up to the judge to determine and award, and typically they will just award the disputed amount. Then, once you have the judgment, you are on your own to collect it.
    How do I know? I’ve been in the same situation. Been to court three times, every judge is scornful of the hateful landlord, but in the end, there’s not much they can do. Judgments do last 10 years, and interest is compounded, which is good… you just have to be able to attach it to something.
    Hate to be the bearer of bummer news… perhaps if you can get a lawyer to help you will have more success than I have had. I, too, had to fight my landlord while dealing with cancer. It sucks. So far, for me, the landlord is winning, but the cancer is losing.
    Sending love your way.

  32. You are not alone. I read all of your posts and as someone who has spent the last 9 months in The Shit with Stupid Fucking Cancer your words have helped me feel less alone. Your presence and clarity are inspiring. I am grateful to you for that. I hold you in my heart and in the light.

    in case you are bored, my story is here: http://bustednut.wordpress.com

  33. Hi Elana,
    Desperately sorry that you are going through all this at once, and hope things settle soon for you. Maybe a break in your spot in Nicaragua?

    And astonished by the co-incidences here. We too had our landlady want to move back in so were given sudden notice, also whilst I had cancer and was going through debilitating treatment, which she knew, making no allowances at all. She too stalked us, we assumed to ensure we were packing & progressing with moving out. And ditto charged us for ‘damages’ – that we were unable to even see, and had been meticulous in keeping her place in good order while we were there. Also had trouble getting the deposit back. We did find somewhere else but it wasn’t yet ready so also needed to use, & pay for, storage. Managed to stay with sister-in-law for the while.

    I found it a desperately difficult time, emotionally all over the place as well as dealing with the cancer. Happily there came up sides, which I trust there will be for you. We much prefer the house we are now in for one! And the area & neighbours :)

    Take care, and I hope things work out better for you soon :)

  34. I was so worried when there was silence from you this past couple of months. I am relieved to see your words again, but sad about all that you have been through on top of Cancer. May you remember that there are many of us out in this universe that are pulling for you, sending you prayers, karma, good thoughts and warm hugs. I know many of us wish we could circle you with bright light from all the far corners we come from…
    Thinking of you and wishing that things get better little by little.

  35. I predict you will soon be enjoying that giant beach in Nicaragua again and it will be even better than you remember. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since you painted such an amazing picture (perhaps seeing it with new eyes?).

    You are amazing and you will prevail over all this adversity. Need I mention your next trip to Nicaragua will be courtesy of a certain crazy landlady who will rue the day she crossed Elana Miller!

    I hope you have more and more pain-free and restful days and nights.

    Cheryl

  36. Diana B. says:

    Did you find an attorney yet? If not, contact me!

  37. “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.
    Lou Holtz

    I agree with an earlier comment – you’ve got this. You haven’t survived med school and residency and the other many things in life to have it all implode now. When I was having a difficult time about a year ago (not nearly the hell you’ve been dealing with but it felt pretty overwhelming), my best friend of 30 years talked me off the ledge. Her advice? Small pieces. She told me not to tackle everything at once, just what needed to be dealt with in that moment, that hour, that day. Break it down and let your girlfriends surround you with love and support. I have no doubt you’d do the same for them in a heartbeat.

  38. Lindsey says:

    Elana-

    I became a reader of your blog a few months before you became diagnosed with cancer. Please know that I too have family and friends have struggled with this and that you are not alone. We are all here for you. Fuck cancer, fuck the crazy landlord and know you will get through this, you are strong and you are extremely resilient.

    Hugs and love.

  39. You had me at “nachos”.

  40. Shoshana Simon says:

    Re: Crazy Landlord (who will return in the next life as a cockroach–oh wait, that was her last life),

    Hopefully you took pictures of the rental when you moved out. If so, and you can show how unreasonable the bitch is, sue her in small claims court. The pictures will make all the difference. Having sat as a small claims judge, I can tell you that the tenant most often wins with this kind of evidence. If you are not up to it, have Peter do it.

    If you didn’t take pictures, you may want to take her to small claims court anyway. Otherwise, chalk it up to “life tuition” and take pictures when you move in to a rental and when you move out. Lots of pictures. You can always destroy them if they are no longer needed.

    Good luck. I hate litigation even though I have a license to malpractice in any court in California.

  41. Elana,

    You are a gifted, gifted writer. Please keep writing Elana. There is a grand life waiting for you at the end of all this.

    Heartfelt love,

    Rose

  42. Dear Elana,
    I am sorry for all the difficulties you had to go through recently. I am amazed that through all this you kept your strength, even when you though you had none left, and a sense of self, even when you felt that it was lost completely. I hope that things turn around for you in the nearest future.

    Here is a useful link with the information about a housing right center for Los Angeles County residents. I hope you find it useful. They offer free consultations and counseling for the tenants. What your landlady did was crazy and senseless, and possibly illegal.

    http://www.baldwinpark.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=1641&Itemid=218&mode=view

    Best of luck,
    Lilia

  43. Stay positive for all you can… Each day is a new challenge but for us with cancer at least it is a new day ( :

  44. Elana,

    Tenants are entitled to “peaceful enjoyment” of the property, and if the PI’s were bothering you you might be able to raise that issue along with the money part. I learned that in my “crazy landlady” story of my own. . . . but SURELY, the judge will award you the full judgment just based on the BUNNY TASSEL listing. I mean, one couldn’t make that stuff up!

    In the meantime, your writing on being in Nicaragua was so clear, positive, gastro/solar/surfing-centric I just have to think that maybe you could find a bit of that in CA? Do you live near the coast? maybe a coffee, chocolate chip pancakes and a blanket and tent on the beach somewhere if the nausea is low?

    Meanwhile – you gave a profound statement I will never forget (I thought cancer would be the worst thing about having cancer, but it’s not), and I thank you for that insight.

    Thank you for taking the time and energy to post again (never feel obligated, of course), and I really have a sense that there is a shift occurring – and certainly hope it is . . . and that you will have more and more moments of not feeling so bad.

    Deb.

  45. Sending my love and prayers of strength to you ♥ I hold you in the Light

  46. Cocoafairy says:

    Hi Elana,

    I am so moved by this post that I must comment. I really enjoy reading your blog, and this is my first time commenting on a post, however, this time I felt compelled. I have noticed you were missing a while and I figured something had went down I didn’t know it was to this extent. How life works, how people, how people change, and how things change….constantly. I always wondered myself why certain things happen……and even as I get older I am never able to figure this journey called life out. I have simply submitted to a spiritual course, not subscribing to the hero nor the anti hero, because it can become too much of a burden sometimes. As I have wrestled back and forth with my illness, this is what I’ve taken from it. I really appreciate your honesty and for you exposing your raw, unfiltered truth. Too many among us sugar coat hardships, and paint them in rainbows and lollipops, when they are really daggers and swords that cut us deep to the bone.

  47. Mei-Mei Cheng says:

    Dear Dr. Miller:

    I am so sorry this is all happening to you and wish you nothing but peace and happiness. I’m not sure you remember me but I am one of your former patients from UCLA. You showed me incredible kindness in my time of need. I actually am a lawyer and
    M

  48. Mei-Mei Cheng says:

    Sorry – I got cut off! I was saying I am a lawyer and if you had any questions would do my best to answer them.

    Keep on fighting!!

  49. Hi Elana,
    I am so sorry for the tough time you have endured. You don’t deserve it. You deserve more moments like that one in the morning, like the ones in Nicaragua playing the ukelele, free, happy and loved. Thanks for sharing your reality. I feel so touched to meet you in this place you are right now. Thank God for your gracious cousin. You are very courageous and I feel inspired by your raw honesty. Lots of Love Maria

  50. Elana:

    We’ve never met, we are strangers. We “met” thru my reading your blog. I do feel as though I do know you and have known you for years. Your blog is so well written, and so very real.

    My heart breaks for what life is making you experience right now. Please know that you have been and will continue to be in my daily prayers. I pray for health, strength, comfort, peace of mind, and anything else that is in your heart and soul.

    Love and light to you.
    Blanca

  51. Many of us “wounded warriors” have your back. Take a deep breath in, and let it out with a loud sigh. You are an amazingly strong woman.

    Illness sucks, and I’m glad to see someone finally admit it – it’s good to get the frustration out to help you move on. The most important thing when we fall is to keep getting up, no matter how hard it is. Keep riding the wave with your beautiful thoughts and determination. We know you’ll get through it!

  52. I am an apartment building manager in Santa Monica. You HAVE to take her to small claims court immediately. You cannot charge a tenant for frivolous items like new trees and new sprinklers. She could charge for things like cleaning or unpaid rent or perhaps even broken items that were new when you moved in, but she can’t renovate the place and charge you!

  53. Where’s that damn EASY button we see in the commercials all the time?! Oh, wait, what? – there is no such thing?! Well, I’ll…Be….Damn. Shoulda figgered that I guess. :-)

    Thanks for being authentic and raw and vulnerable. Thanks for sharing.

    I just read a bunch of comments on your site and if there was ever a day to say you are blessed – it is today. Feeling crappy makes it hard to appreciate but you are blessed – and so are we to be a part of your story – may it get better as we turn the pages.

    I continue to follow your story with tender feelings of affection and hope -

    Jeff
    St. Louis, MO

  54. Sending love and good vibes to you, Elana. So many of us out here are rooting for all the good things for you.

  55. Melanie says:

    Like other folks have noticed, I can feel it too, Elana. You’re getting your spunk back! Positive energy is exuding from your post! If I may, I recommend that you get a Vita-Mix or another heavy duty blender. It’s an easy way to get concentrated phytonutrients and fiber to help you heal. Plus, the drinks are easy to digest. I make delicious concoctions of mostly veggies with a little fruit to balance out the flavors. I’ve heard from other cancer survivors that the first year is the worst with all the surgeries and treatments you have to deal with. There’s strength in numbers, and a lot of us are pulling for you. We’re all in this together. Soon you’ll be back on track with your medical career – keep the momentum going!

    Happy days are ahead!
    Melanie

  56. Sending positive, healing prayers your way. Our love is with you.

  57. You are so loved. Sending you even more.

  58. Elana,
    I have been reading your blog since day one and something about you and your story just gripped at my heart. I was in the medical field, like you. I worked at UCLA briefly in the psychiatric ward. I was full of life and then hit with one medical diagnosis after the other. There are days I think “why me?” I can’t possibly imagine though what you are going through and to lose your partner at the same time is sad. But, I can tell you this. I believe everything happens for a reason and there is a plan for you. You will beat this and you will live a life much fuller and richer then you ever anticipated. I would love to meet you and help you get through this journey if you’d love a new friend. Stay strong and know that there are people out there rooting for you. It’s ok to be negative and pissed off and sad at times. but remember that cancer feeds off it so try to let it pass quickly (easier said then done). You are an incredibly woman and we all can’t wait to celebrate the day when you are cancer free and living your life again. xo

    • @ Lori- Just a gentle reminder: Telling a cancer patient to not feel their emotions may not be helpful, IMHO. The idea that cancer feeds off negative emotions is pseudoscience. When I had cancer I really disliked hearing that I shouldn’t feel bad or express my fear, pain and anxiety because I would be “feeding the cancer”. I sense you mean well though so I don’t want this to sound harsh.

      Elana, I admire your raw courage to tell the world just how much the collision of shitty things happening at once really sucks. Like other readers, I also sense something Phoenix-like in your writing: an emergence from the ashes. I remember my cancer experience and bone-marrow transplant as a rocky road; a lot of ups and down with a slow upward trend that eventually took hold. Baby steps.

      • @ Robin…I never told her not to feel her emotions. I said “it’s ok to be negative and pissed off and sad at times”. She should absolutely be able to feel every emotion. Maybe I was wrong to say that negativity can make her condition worse and for that I apologize. I have been wrought with one medical diagnoses after the other for the past 5-10 years and every doctor has told me that negativity and stress makes it worse. I was simply trying to help….not hurt. Would never do that.

  59. Elana!

    Thank you so much for writing. I really felt like I just got an email from a friend. I think about you often, pray for you daily, and really care, as bizarre as that is! I never follow posts like this! I think something I have found so marvelous about you is that even when things are so rough, you aren’t actually hopeless. You may have bouts of hopelessness, but even when you think you’re hopeless its so obvious to me that you’re not. In my living with kidney disease I have scoured the internet for peoples stories, but everything is so damn depressing I just stopped looking. It’s just not how I plan to see myself or my life, even though I have low moments.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I am glad to hear you had a moment where you felt almost as if you were back in Nicaragua, where I am confident you will be again. I am so sorry to hear about the absurdity and cruelty of your former landlord, and heartbroken about Peter. That is so hard. I also broke up with someone after 5 years together, and its just really hard. Things that are really hard come up in life, like illness, and loss, and its so important to have a partner and a relationship that will withstand it, and I guess we can’t know that until it happens. I am so hopeful that you will have love, health, life, surfing and long hot central american afternoons to live and love again. It will be different because you will be different. But I think you will be even more beautiful, wise and stronger than you ever thought you were (and its clear you were already all of those things).

    May every struggle in this deepen your depths, strengthen your strengths and sharpen your beauty.

    And may there be so much health, love and life bursting forth more and more very soon!

    All the best

  60. Barbara Snow says:

    Sadness and anger for all the crap you’re going through (as if cancer wasn’t enough). I join others here in saying you appear to have the strength to get through this. Now just get some free legal advice to help with the nut job landlord.
    Beaming you peace, deep sleep (for healing) and love.
    Barb in Minnesota

  61. Thank you for your stark honesty of what you are going through, Elana!

    My mom once told me a story about after several years of struggling with hepatitis C (she got it from a blood transfusion before they knew about C), she was crossing the street and suddenly stopped, because she realized she felt normal! Of course it didn’t last, and it was a while after that before she did completely recover, but that moment of being okay reminded her of feeling good again and gave her the encouragement and the hope for the better future that she eventually reached!

  62. Linda Hunter says:

    Dear Elana,

    Not long ago a word came to me that I’ve used often–Fuckarama. It’s simply a fucking fuckarama! Nothing else much captures my feelings about the experiences.

    Love to you,
    Linda

  63. Elana,

    I am deeply touched by the compassion and loving words others have written for you. I too have wondered about having not see a recent post from you, especially in light of your last post being filled with pain and disappointment. I don’t understand why you are being tested so, yet you are responding with grace and raw honesty. It is clear that you are surrounded by loving light and best wishes, and I am adding my own to urge you to know that you are not alone. Blessings to you as you navigate this difficult journey.

  64. Hey Elana, how are you doing? My heart breaks for you after reading this post. I’m sorry for your loss(es) in so many areas, I have no words. Although you probably don’t need sympathy, I feel an indomitable strength from your words shining through. I’ve been showing your blog to people in my family, it’s helped us gain some perspective on a difficult time that I won’t dive into. Just want to say thank you :)

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  66. Jennifer Ulie-Wells says:

    Elana,

    I have followed your blog since before you became ill and realized today that there hasn’t been a post in awhile. I am thinking of you. I hope all is well.

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