Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Nobody and I mean nobody looks forward to receiving the news they have cancer. I know I didn't! A cancer diagnosis is a serious life-altering business no matter how low the "grade" or how great you feel at the moment. Once you hear the phrase "I'm sorry we found something on your scan" or the biopsy came back confirming.... your life instantly changes. I can remember wanting to hold in my fears and not show an ounce of fear when my doctor slowly walked back in the exam room. A nurse followed her in wearing a grave expression on her face. Her expression could have been just a lousy poker face, but just seeing her made my eyebrows itch and my nerves set on edge. I tried to remain as stoic as I was when I walked into that cold room and striped my upper half-naked. But the moment the words left her lips, I crumbled. The grave faced nurse was there to catch with tissues and all. And then everything starts to swirl and speed up extremely fast.
After a good cry or two or three and having to face my family with this scary news. I put away the tissues and got back to business. And by that, I mean the business of living. Bills still had to be paid, work still had to be done, and I had a family to take care of like many of you. Initially, I found myself spending too much time thinking about what if's. Such time-consuming activities proved way too harmful to my fragile psyche and physically tiring. Not to mention fruitless and meaningless. Of course, scenarios bombarded me of life and death, debilitating painful treatments, and agony over the possibility of losing my hair, aka my sexiness, wore me out. I was fascinated by the thought of losing my breast or being so deformed my husband would cringe at the sight of me. Eventually, I realized that since the world was still turning around and life had to continue anyway, I might as well get out of my depression and get back to the land of the immediate living.
I won't say my mental transition was instant, but I will say it happened a lot faster than I ever imagined a shift could happen. Just one sentence from my son changed my whole perspective from being lost and down in the dumps to back in action, mom. I bet you are curious to know exactly what cataclysmic magical phrase he said to make me spring into action. Well, I'll tell you. My sweet 16-year teenage son looked me right in the eye after I had been in my room crying and asking GOD to take away this thing from my chest. And he said, " Hey Mom did you forget I have football practice today. It's 3:15 pm already. Hurry up or I'm going to be late, and you know coach will make me run extra." I stopped thinking about my own self serving depression and realized that being depressed didn't even make me feel better. I wiped my eyes and grabbed a jacket, a water bottle, and my keys, and ran down the stairs. We made it to practice on time and as he got out of the car he turned to me and said "Thanks Mom. I love you". Can we have Chipotle for dinner?"
In that instance I realized my journey was not over yet. No matter what the diagnosis was or is, I still had things to do. Tonight, it was getting to football practice on time and grabbing dinner, tomorrow who knows. Focusing on the task at hand slowly and surely helped me fully come to terms with my breast cancer. Being sad and depressed and feeling as if I had no one to share this burden with, made me lose sight of some important things in my life right then and there. My son needed a mother, my husband still needed a wife, and I still needed them. Quite a few other things needed my attention as well. So I made the immediate decision to stop hating myself for being diagnosed with cancer and instead changed my tune to walk this journey freely. I decided I would live my life to the fullest and for the better, giving my whole self to the things that mattered most to me, my family. My journey has just begun, and I am not afraid of the fight. I already understand I can not do this alone! I plan to battle this out and make it to the other side one way or another with my family sharing their strength, love in my heart, and my spiritual peace as my weapons of choice.
What about your journey? What are you using to fight, and who is on the battlefield with you?