This is a list, in no particular order, of some random thoughts I've had since I was diagnosed. Remember that this is just my experience, in no way, shape, or form do I speak for all cancer patients.
1. Cancer sucks. Literally, it sucks the life right out of you. Duh.
2. Some people suck. Not many, just a few. Most people are awesome, caring and compassionate. Every once in a while though, I run across someone, be it a "friend", a nurse, a tech, another patient, who just sucks. I'm glad to report that I have effectively eliminated most of those people from my life. I can't do anything about folks out in the world, but when it comes to my circle, I don't have to let the sucky people in anymore.
3. Cancer has freed me. I have always, always been very cautious by nature. I don't take risks, I don't put myself in situations where there could be danger, either to my body or my psyche. Not anymore. Not that I am going to go out and scale a rockface or jump out of an airplane, but I am looking forward to taking a few risks, putting myself out there. This blog has been the first step. I've always wanted to write but I never wanted to put myself out there to be open to criticism. But if not me, who will document this? I have no idea what it will lead to, but it is getting me out of my comfort zone.
4. I don't care what people think. This sort of started with me when I hit my 40's. I realized that I had spent far too long worrying about other people and not worrying enough about what I thought about me. Since my diagnosis and subsequent surgeries and treatments, I REALLY don't care what people think. Of course, my friends and family are important and I value their opinions, but really, the only opinion that really matters is my own. I have to be true to me, to my values and core ideals. I might need to figure out what those values and ideals are now, as I really think they have probably shifted in the last year, but that is part of the process.
5. Everybody has a story. And...every body has a story. I know that I have often been quick to judge people based on their appearances, I think we all do it, especially about people who stand out from the crowd, people who are different. I was always one of those blenders, never really stood out from the crowd too much. The only thing different about me was my height, or lack of it. But now, my body has a different story. I have scars, very visible scars. For now, I have a trach. (Let's keep our fingers crossed that this goes away soon!) My speech can be hard to understand at times and I have to keep a towel with me to spit into every few minutes. So yeah, now I don't blend, I stand out. And I have quite a story to tell. I am so appreciative now of the people who ask, instead of giving me the side-eye or quickly looking away if they accidentally make eye contact with me. One of my favorite moments happened at Trader Joe's a few weeks after my second surgery, when I had finally made it back into the world. The checker started emptying my cart without really looking at me, and when she finally looked up, she broke into a big grin. "My nephew has a trach," she said. "Do you hate it as much as he does?" That's it. Ice breaker. She wanted to know my story.
6. I hate when people tell me I am brave. Or that they don't know how I am getting through it. I know they are saying this out of love and I'm sure that I have said this to people in the past. The truth is, I'm not brave. I'm scared shitless and I have been since the moment I found out I needed a biopsy. Do I put on a brave face? Yes. I have to, I have three kids. Not that I'm not honest with them. I've told them, in varying degrees dependent on their ages, that I'm scared. And that it is okay to be scared when scary things happen. But will it help them to find me sobbing on the bathroom floor? Nope. So I don't do it. I save my tears for the shower and sappy commercials. And about getting through it? Honestly people, do I have another choice? No one has given me the option of walking away from this, so from my perspective, the only thing I CAN do is to get through it. Sometimes it is minute by minute, hour by hour. Sometimes it is a day at a time. The way I see it, the only other choice is to give up...which would not have spectacularly good results.
7. Side effects should be presented like a menu and you should get to pick and choose. I know, total fantasy, but a girl can dream! I would have given up my hair in an instant to not deal with my icky sticky glue issue. Instead, I got big glue issues with just a little hair loss thrown in for good measure.
Okay, I guess that's it for today's random thoughts. I'm sure there are more percolating somewhere down deep and when they bubble to the surface, I will undoubtedly share them.
Love and sparkles,