Monday, November 21, 2016

#WhenIsDefinitelyNow

It's been a year. A whole year. A year since everything changed. Everything and nothing. 

Exactly a year ago, my mom and I sat in a room and heard words we never thought we'd hear. I had cancer. I have cancer. I still have cancer. I'm living with cancer. LIVING. Try guessing how lucky I feel? It's unquantifiable. 

People wonder how you can feel lucky waking up every day knowing you have cancer. I believe that question belongs only to the fortunate ones who've never had to consider the possibility of not waking up in the morning. 

I know lots of people get quite upset and correct me when I say I still have cancer. They prefer to file it under 'past' or stick it in the big box labelled 'scary shit I don't like to talk about', but the truth is we won't know until follow up scans in January if the cancer has actually left the building that is my body. 

Even then, we might have to wait for more answers. People talk about 'The Big C'. They should be more frightened of 'The Big W'. Waiting can kill you. 

So, instead of rehashing the past, let's look at the present. What's happened in a year? 

Very little. 

Life continued as normal. I got a brilliant new job and a new home that I adore. But that's just stuff and things. 

I got to witness amazing things happen to people I love. Engagements, weddings, babies. That was significant. 

I gained a couple of friends. I think I also lost a couple of friends. 

But I choose to focus on the friends that showed up in hospital wards they really didn't want to be in, the ones who called me before and after every single doctor's appointment, the ones that let me have a big soggy cry and then never allowed doubt to creep in again. The friends who didn't allow too much distance to form even though we had nothing in common at that moment. The ones who didn't pretend to know what I was going through, but found other people for me to talk to who did. I am in friend debt for life and forever schooled in what it means to REALLY be there for someone. 

And my family. My very tiny amazing family. You never got tired of my incessant cancer planning. You never made my story about you. You never competed. You never banked in on my drama, even though you were so deeply rooted in it. You want only the very best things in the world for me. You made so many amazing memories for me this year. Not just 'in case I don't make it' memories, but memories that brought us closer to each other, not because we might lose each other, but rather because we are glued together forever. I fiercely love you and I will beat a thousand baddies with a thousand flip flops for a thousand years, just to keep you all safe. 

I learnt that if anyone was going to truly step up for you in life, now would be the time. So, those who didn't, it's ok. I'm able to put a full stop at the end of our chapter. Thank you. It's freeing. 

Most of all, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading my posts and reaching out to me. Cancer doesn't make for the most appetizing reading material, but being able to share my story has been incredibly cathartic and grounding. You will never understand how touched I have been by your messages, your stories, even your countless offers of medical marijuana! (Seriously, I got so many offers, I could have started some kind of cartel.)

I have lost count of all the things that make me lucky, but I know for sure that I'm lucky that I feel great, that there's no pain, that my cancer is treatable, that people chose not to treat me like I was sick, that, besides a few exceptions, the 'cancer face' part of this saga is over, and that I have largely been able to carry on with my life as 'normal'. 

This will be difficult for many to understand, but in a lot of ways, I'm glad this happened.

I was asleep. I wasn't present. I was passing time. Now, I'm wide awake and I'm showing up for life every damn day. 

Dear Universe, thank you for the lesson. 

#WhenIsNow
#FuckCancer
#FierceAsFuck

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