I truly do not know what the hell I was thinking to "challenge" myself to blog every day this breast cancer awareness month - my first as someone who has/had breast cancer.
Today is the eve of the last day, I guess and tomorrow is Old Hallow's Eve (?) right? So maybe there is some symmetry to this stupid idea of mine.
When I say "stupid" it is with a smile - I love to write but as I am working on this daily blog post, I am also working on my first novel i-am-writing.html and looking for a new job when-god-closes-a-door-he-opens-a-window.html oh and I went away on my own for the first time in over a decade to focus on ME being-a-woman-or-how-a-local-charitable-organization-marys-place-by-the-sea-has-boots-on-the-ground-toes-in-the-sand-helping-women-cancer-patients.html.
I recognize that my words help others - my website unique visitors count shows me that on a daily basis and the folks who do reach out to me solidify that what I am doing "matters" or "helps" the other 1 in 8 women who are facing a diagnosis of breast cancer,
As I write this, 67 people have been on my blog TODAY and 1495 this week. Words have power and sharing my story helps me manage it and deal with it. I will not lie, though - as much as I smile and focus on today, there are fears. Fears that my cancer will come back, fear that it will become terminal (by spreading to other organs or metastasizing). Last night, when I returned from my weekend away at Mary's Place by the Sea, I felt thrumming with emotions. I had uncovered so many things about me and how I feel and what I feel that it was like too much - sensory overload. I had tears coming and part of it was from the fear - the fear that I will die before my time.
I want to tell you it is easy to move past these fears but it is not. However, once you realize that YOU are still HERE you have to shake it off (in the words of the immortal Taylor Swift). I let those fears and tears fall, then I said, "Pray, hope and don't worry!" because that is my mantra, it is what works for me. The truth is, no one knows what the future brings and I say this to myself over and over again. It just hit me hard in the gut, though, that I would have cancer. That I would be in a situation where I was truly, honestly "sick" after really being one of the healthiest people I know.
Why was I so healthy way back when - because I did listen to my body. When I was tired or run down, I stayed home and did not put on my low cut shirts and go out to flirt and party. When I felt icky, I missed a day from work and rested in bed. I was born old - I say this all the time and it's true. Even this weekend with my new friends at Mary's Place by the Sea, at dinner I was like, "Whoa, it's 8:15pm, I got to go to bed!" Everyone made fun of me (in a sweet way but I can take it, I have been teased about this stuff for years!) and I was one of the first (and youngest) ones to get to bed.
I experienced so many emotions this weekend but no fear until I got home - I let it hit me that of the other guests with breast cancer, mine was the most advanced stage AND I was the youngest. Statistically speaking, this is sobering. As 1/3 of breast cancer patients wind up with stage 4, I allowed the fear in to think wow, it would be me in this situation. I pray and hope and not worry about it because if I give in to the fear, then I am already dead, right.
So, I experienced my emotions and then I let them go. I cannot harbor them. I must be who I am - I am the person who smiles and laughs in life's hardships. I am the person who gets up every morning and when my feet hit the ground the Devil goes "Oh shit, she's up! RUN!" I am strong, I am healthy (all things considered) and I will take my cancer and deal with it because that is what I do.
I will love more and be nicer to my husband and I will never forget the lesson that I must make time for me and my life and to be present in it and enjoy the people who are in it who love me (and I love them).
And all things considered, I will focus on the good. The good is that my cancer WAS caught, I was still considered "early stage" and that I can do what I need to do and the rest, is not up to me. It is up to something else - I keep following my doctor's advice and LIVE each day because that is all any of us could do.
But seriously, fuck cancer and fuck 31 day blogging challenges. This is what I do and think in the time between.
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