I guess the teenagers do this little “to be honest” game on their facebook accounts. I always advise people to tell the truth, and I tell the truth – even when it’s uncomfortable.
I call myself a “cancer coach.” Or, if necessary, a cheerleader. Or, just a listener.
So, here’s the truth.
– In 2011, I had a bilateral mastectomy.
– My son’s immediate response to my diagnosis was “are you going to die?” Once I said “no,” he felt comfortable.
– My daughter bottled everything up, until she blew up in a sushi restaurant one week before surgery. She didn’t ask, like my son did, she shouted “I don’t want you die.”
– My other half, “Lara the Tumour Raider,” calls me champ. We listened frequently to Eye of the Tiger and I yelled “Adrian” from time to time.
– I am a fighter.
– I am a survivor.
– Sometimes, the fear can still grab me by the throat.
– When I was taken to the operating room that first time, for my first surgery in my entire life, I was shivering with fear. Those shivers were so violent it looked like a seizure.
– Before I let them switch me to the operating table, I said a Hail Mary. No sooner had I said “Amen,” than I looked at my nurse and anesthesiologist and said “Holy f*ck, I’m scared.”
– I quit chemotherapy, against medical advice, every two weeks: right after each infusion. I finished the entire course my oncologist wanted me to take, quitting all the way.
– Lies I told myself? The rules didn’t apply to me. I wouldn’t have chemo fog. I wouldn’t have to take a long time recovering.
– I pushed. I fought. It still took two years before I was ready to race again.
– Sometimes, I still flinch when I see myself in the mirror. The scars are fading (a lot, actually!), but there are many days that I can see this is not the body I knew.
I suppose after 34 years one way, it might take more than ALMOST four years to get used to the new me.
– My son has become very gentle with me. We used to roughhouse, but he treats me like I’m fragile. This bothers me. So, I tickle torture him.
– My daughter is only just starting to face the fear now. With each year, she verbalizes more. That’s a painful thing. She had me halfway in the grave.
I am victorious.
When I am honest, I know it’s my fragility that has made me strong.
Blessings and health to you all. Happy #Monday.