I live in a "new reality"- I am not one to complain and in fact, I am not much of someone who can sit around feeling sorry for myself either.
Life drew me a card and the card is cancer - it sucks but I often found a way in the past to "hide" behind any raw deal I thought I had and to use it as a "trump" (no pun officially intended) card like, "Of course I could not do that, I am busy with XX!" (XX being anything that was, at the time, seemingly insurmountable, stressful and just all around bad - ha, in retrospect, it was just a minor blip, nothing serious, etc.).
When you hear the words, "It is cancer." everything else stops. You realize you would do anything to have those old problems back and you have a choice, I guess. Your choice is to either face it with all of your fury and smile in the face of this fucked up thing or you can cower and hide and "run" metaphorically into other emotions.
I did not feel I had a "choice" - I just naturally went with the first option - just try and kill me, you stupid cancer, I will kill you and all that. Ultimately, though, I am not stupid - I do know that whichever attitude you choose to take in your cancer plot twist does not mean you are either cured or not. The true thing is that there is no answer as to why 1/3 of breast cancer patients get stage 4 cancer (which is not curable and is a death sentence).
I do not "mind" when people tell me I am a fighter or to keep fighting but I DO. You see, no matter what I do including being positive and smiley and farting rainbows, etc, there is still a chance that I could die from this disease. I could (God forbid) have this "good cancer" (HA!) kill me and there is no crystal ball that I or anyone can use to say "YES/NO/OUTLOOK IS GRIMM".
All my girls who ask me, "Are you okay now?" I love you all and I get it - there is this overarching narrative that "early detection is key" and that "Breast Cancer is fuzzy and the 'good' kind to have" - all of that sounds lovely but my early detection came at Stage 3A - I had no risk factors, warning signs or other indicators that would even lead me to think I could get breast cancer (what-is-your-breast-cancer-risk.html).
I wrote about it for Vice Magazine, too (what-it-means-to-say-you-beat-cancer-media-portrayal-of-cancer.html) that there is this confusion as to what having cancer really means and what it means to "beat" cancer. I plan on beating cancer but ultimately there is not much in my control. For my sisters who wind up metatastic, I get it - there is NOTHING you could have done to avoid it. Cancer is like that - it wants to spread and no matter what even doing operations, chemotherapy and radiation, eating beets only, eating veggies only, stopping smoking, smoking pot, no matter what there is this 1/3 of us that wind up having it spread and if it does then no one did anything to "deserve" it.
It is chance and for me, statistics and chance are things I try to avoid thinking about. We cannot control what the future brings - for me, I just listen to my doctors, stay out of my own head and focus on today because tomorrow is promised to no one.
This is what I do in the time between...
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