Thursday, November 15, 2012

Damn denial.

​it's been few weeks since I've written anything, because frankly I don't know how to say all that is happening to me.  I started to take a new direction with my emotions shortly after my first chemo treatment, at the making strides event, and I've been debating whether I should write anything.  I started this blog to inform everyone about my cancer journey, but I also started this blog because writing has been a type of therapy for me. There are many times, when I don't want to verbally talk about my life, where I write it down. It helps me make sense of what is going on around me. Another reason I'm writing this blog is so I don't feel completely alone in journey.  I know most people who read this have never been through cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, and I hope you never will. I know that trying to understand what happens to a person undergoing cancer treatment, both physically and emotionally, is a difficult task, so I am writing about my journey to help you understand, or at least give you some insights. Chemotherapy is such an invasive and public treatment. I can't ignore my cancer, or pretend I'm fine when even strangers know I have cancer, that's one of the perks of being bald. And I had no idea how it was going to all affect me and I have no idea how it will affect me tomorrow.

​Leading up to my first chemo treatment I was looking at cancer like it was another adventure. Ya, I cried when I found out, but then went into " ok, this is gonna be hard but I've done a lot of hard things in my life, so this will be a breeze, I mean c'mon, in less than a year it'll be all over, I served in the peace corps for 2 years, and this is way shorter" mode. So bring it on, let's get this going! That's what's called denial. And I exploded out of denial at the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk, a week after my first chemo treatment. In public. In front of the entire making strides crowd.

​I was excited for the walk. I was going to meet a whole bunch of women who went or are going through exactly what I'm going through, it'd be great. I imagined running into other women wearing the survivor sash and we'd hug each other and form an instant sisterhood for life. I imagined lots of stories of inspiration and leave feeling uplifted and energized for my next chemo treatment. That happened on some levels, there was a lot of energy, inspiration, support, but it was incredibly overwhelming for me. When It came time to recognize the survivors, story after story was told. It was like they were telling my story, except im not a survivor. I haven't made it the other side yet. The survivor sash suddenly seemed false, and I wanted to take it off. I quickly realized I have a lot more to accomplish before I'm considered a survivor and I've only just barely begun my journey.  I started sobbing. I didnt want this adventure anymore, I want to ET ( early terminate - a term used in the Peace Corps when someone quits). I calmed myself down, and then a few minutes later they called all the survivors to the tent to receive a medal.  There i was, facing the crowd, watching all these women walk up with huge smiles on their faces as they get their medal and I can't help but to think, This is not me, I'm not one of them. But we are all wearing the same sash, same medal and decked out in as much pink a we could possibly find. I was staring cancer in the faces of these 50 or so other women, and it was staring right back at me. I tried to stop it, but the tears just rolled right onto my face again and I stood there crying, facing the entire making strides crowd. I was trapped on all sides by these happy smiling women and there was no escape without rudely pushing someone out of the way or making a bigger scene, but they deserved this moment without me ruining it.  within a few minutes I see a familiar face pushing her way though the crowd and making her way up to me. Mrs clifford was still waiting in line for her medal when she saw me sobbing. She broke from the line, wedged herself beside me and wrapped her arms around me. There we stood, side by side, a newly diagnosed and breast cancer veteran of 17 years, hugging and connected forever by our defects.

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