throwback thursday

When you wake up one day
and big chunks of your hair are falling out
because you’ve had your first dose of chemotherapy
and your chest aches
and it is hard to move freely
because you’ve had your breasts removed
and you have ugly scars all over the place
and you know everything is about to get a lot worse
you can crawl into the corner and put a bag over your head and scream

or you can put on a really cheesy pop song
and dance really poorly
even though your plastic surgeon would probably not be too pleased

Sometimes, you just make a choice.

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: