My brave face

Firstly, I just want to thank everyone for your support and kind messages after my first blog post. In less than a day, my little blog has made its way around the world, with over 1800 views. New Zealand. Venezuela. Japan. Latvia. Italy. Ireland. Apparently cancer makes you pretty popular. I don’t know who many of those people are, but whoever you are, thanks for stopping by and I hope you continue to do so.

The past few months have been very difficult, to say the least. After my diagnosis, I wanted to kick and/or punch all the happy, healthy people I saw on the streets (don’t worry, I didn’t). Why was everyone just going on with their lives? Why was the world oblivious to what I was dealing with? Why didn’t time stop? I had to make decisions I never thought I would have to make. I had to navigate the world of cancer and oncology, becoming somewhat of an overnight expert on a subject I’d rather not know so much about. I lived a double life, as I juggled endless doctor’s appointments and tests and scans with my regular job, without most of my colleagues realizing I was often answering their emails while sitting in a hospital waiting room. Getting poked with needles, something that used to terrify me, became just another day, another poke. I underwent major surgery, and as a result, major pain. I stayed up at night, overwhelmed by everything I still had to deal with, and wondered if I would be okay. I cut off my long, thick hair, in preparation for the chemotherapy side effects I will have to face very soon. (Although, while it lasts, it turns out I quite enjoy my new ‘do.)

It has been so easy to fall into the “Why Me?” spiral. Why is this happening to me? What did I do? Why not that person, or that person? I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t party. I sleep, a lot. I am an extremely boring, responsible person. I always have been. My husband says, it’s just bad luck. And he is probably right. There is no good answer. Shit happens. Shit happened to me. And now I’m getting through the shit. (Sorry, Mom, for swearing so much.)

People keep saying how brave I have been. I don’t know if I feel particularly brave. I have cried. A lot. The thing is, you can’t cry all the time. Sometimes you just have to laugh. And I have done a lot of that too. I am so grateful for the people in my life who have made me laugh (even after surgery, which hurt like hell, but I laughed anyway because I’m a rebel). Cancer has taken a lot away from me, but it won’t take my humor.

Yes, I have a crappy disease. Yes, I am pissed. Yes, I would prefer not to be dealing with this right now. But ultimately, I am still me. I still laugh. And I still do things like this:


7 thoughts on “My brave face

  1. Dear Steph
    You shouldn’t be surprised by the impact of your well-written, heart-wrenching blog. Your family and their courage in the face of health adversity are legendary. You don’t know me, but I’ve I know a bit about you through your parents and family . My first reaction to discovering the blog was well-anger. Hasn’t your family faced enough? Your dad was the first teenager I knew who faced cancer and I knew from the worried faces and hushed whispers in our kitchen where friends of your grandparents often gathered, that things were not hopeful. Your dad’s victory over lung cancer is legend and an inspiration. Your whole family’s fight with his second cancer and their support for breast cancer fund raising and awareness again are inspiring.
    It is true that bad things happen to good people. I know that you will add your victory over cancer to the family legend and that your attitude and blog will inspire others to have keep their humour and keep fighting.
    I wish you good health, happiness and lots of cupcakes.

  2. Lots of people will call you BRAVE! Get used to it, because the truth is, you are. More people admire you, love you, and are praying for you than you know. Lots of love, Cousin Henry Brooks in Florida.

  3. Hi Steph, Although we’ve only met on a few occasions (we’re cousins from Boston), your parents are very special family to us as were your dad’s parents (as a child I spent all of my summers away from NYC in St. Catharines and Crystal Beach). Marilyn and I just want to say that although it is a very difficult time and there is no adequate answer to the “why me?” question, the love and support of your family and friends as well as your own courage and humor are so important in fighting as you say this “crappy disease.” Thanks for sharing your insights and courage through your blog. Love, Bobby and Marilyn

  4. Hi Stephanie,
    This is Papa Al’s daughter Terri. I am so sorry that you have to go through such a difficult ordeal and am wishing a complete recovery. I had ovarian cancer 14 years ago and can relate to all you said in both blogs. Keep blogging and keep that amazing sense of humour. There is no doubt that these tools will enable you to get better, stronger, and healthy. I have a feeling that you are a pretty special girl and that this situation is going to bring out the very very best in you in the months and years to follow. I am looking forward to your blogs.

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