Episode 1.3: The Cancer Menace ~The dark side… and the light~

“Remember: Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

When faced with your mortality, you find yourself in a whole new reality.  It changes you.  You see things differently, are more aware, and….  Suddenly, I was becoming aware of what the word “mortality” really meant.  Was this the thing that was going to destroy me?  I did not know what my future held other than that I was going to go through a battle like I could never have imagined I’d go through in life.  I have always been a positive person, but that first week of not knowing what was going to happen was debilitating.  There was fear and anger.  The dark side.

I suppose everyone has a different reaction when they are faced with a terrifying medical issue.  On top of being upset, I reacted by thinking and thinking and thinking.  I am an introvert, so I think A LOT! What I couldn’t do was to go online and read about breast cancer and the potential treatments I’d have.  I just couldn’t do it.  So, I had a week of thinking over and over about what was going to happen to me and I swear I went through every possible iteration of what may happen.  How bad was it?  Did I sign a death sentence by not getting a second opinion right away when I first found the lump?  How would this affect my daily life?  Will I be able to work and function normally? Would it turn out to be as simple as removing the tumor and I wouldn’t have to tell anyone?  That’s what I hoped.  I did not want to tell anyone what was going on with me.

What I learned was that my journey was not going to be that simple, however.  I was relieved to find out that my cancer was not in an advanced stage.  THANK GOODNESS.  I had some light back in my life.  However, my treatment plan included chemotherapy and then surgery.  Then, depending on the type of surgery, possibly radiation.  Chemotherapy, though…  I was not expecting that.  My tumor was both estrogen receptor positive and HER2 positive.  Like, thanks A LOT estrogen for turning against me!!  Not cool!

What I also learned in those first moments, days, and weeks was that I had to let myself be upset.  I had to go through those emotions of being afraid of what would happen to me and angry that I was having to go through it.  Clearly, I had a right to be upset!  But one thing I would not let myself do was pity myself.  Yes, this happened.  There was really no reason for it to happen, but it happened…  However, I wasn’t going to allow myself to sit there and think, “Why me, why me…”  I think that would have been the worst thing I could have done.  I HAD to accept that this happened to me.  I HAD to tell myself that I would survive this.  This acceptance and the positive attitude I regained helped me focus on getting better and powering through all the difficult things that were happening and going to happen.  I truly believe that has gotten me through this journey so far.

Side note: My hope for this blog is that people will read this and find that there is positivity and hope to be found even in the darkest of circumstances.  I have cancer, but this could be applied to a billion other situations.  This is something that I will continue to address in my blog posts.  Do. Not. Give. Up.

Coming up – Episode 2: Attack of the Chemo



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