“Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.” -Carl Jung
Most days I’m wearing my brave face. I’ll banter and laugh, listen to your stories, go to work, and when someone asks me how I am I’ll respond with “hanging in there.” And for the most part I am keeping it together because what else is there for me to do? Life goes on for me and everyone else around me. It’s difficult most days to walk around in the world knowing that something as terrible as cancer is inside me. In small pockets, I forget and it’s a jolt when I remember- “oh yeah, I have cancer!”
I’m sick but I’m not sick. I was just going about my usual life, getting my annual pap smear, when wham! the doctor found cancer. I didn’t and don’t feel sick. I had and haven’t had any symptoms attributed to cervical cancer. It’s terrifying to realize you can be walking around thinking you’re all healthy with your paleo diet, your yoga and dancing, your vitamins, and your therapy. . . and you’re not. I’m struggling with not letting this little bit of cancer change my view of myself in a negative way. I’m having a very difficult time not giving into hopelessness and fear. If I didn’t even know I had cancer before and now I do, how can I know that there isn’t more cancer? How can I not wonder if every pang or sensation is cancer spreading through my body?
I know. I know. That kind of blown-out-of-proportion type of thinking will only get me panic attacks, acne, and bags under my eyes. For all my brave facing, there are nights when it all crumbles and I lose myself to despair and fear and sorrow. I cry and get mad. I want to just be a bride! Not a bride worried about stupid cancer! It’s not fair, I wail. This sucks, I bemoan. I wish this wasn’t happening, I cry. I’m forced to be vulnerable and cracked open and raw. I don’t like it but I’m getting more accustomed to it even if I find it utterly exhausting.
This is not the worst thing that could happen to a person. Worse things are happening to wonderful people all over the world right this minute. It’s just that this is my worst thing. It’s the scariest, shittiest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. It rivals my father’s death when I was 19 which, twenty years later, I’m just finding some peace with.
When things like this happen to you, you don’t come out unscathed or unchanged. The world does not look the same to me already and I’m only at the start of the journey. There is a blessing in all of this, I know. Many blessings. But as much as I like to be positive, I’m also a realist. And this shit sucks you guys. That’s it in a poignant nutshell.