What will I wear when I don’t have any hair?
Will my smile fade when the chemo invades?
How do I talk to those who’ve been through it when I don’t even know how I’m going to do it?
How will I keep feeling inspired when I feel incessantly tired?
Which side effect will be the worst for me… the nausea, the vomiting, the neuropathy?
Will people stare or look out of sorts when they spot the bump from my port?
How will I feel when the camera flashes after the treatment takes my lashes?
Will I need to hide my face from the crowds when I’ve lost all my brows?
How will I blog or write a book when I won’t have energy to even clean or cook?
Will I never again have a full night’s sleep because I’m terrified and thinking too deep?
How will my parents, in-laws, and family deal as I have to receive treatment to heal?
When my nails start to peel and groove how will my beauty find its way to you?
How can I go out and be in public with the constant threat of getting sick?
Will people feel awkward and sorry for me because I got cancer when I was thirty-three?
How will our boys’ lives be transformed because this is so different from the norm?
How will the intensity of my fear ever really disappear?
What will my before-life become when this cancer treatment is done?
How will my people react to me when I still have fears but am cancer-free?
How will my husband do it all when I just want to curl up in a ball?
What will I think of the rest of me when they take my breasts from me?
How will I ever find beauty in life when my innocence is taken by this strife?
Will I ever be myself again? Will I lose my family and my friends?
What if it goes away and comes back and then there’s no science left for attack?
Is there cancer everywhere? Will I die within the year?
How will my boys make it through if they lose the mother who first they knew?
Who will become their new mom and see them at graduation and prom?
I asked all these questions and hoped for the answers when I was first diagnosed with cancer.
But now I’m not scared every day. Now I live in the fullest way. I know that my boys love me just the same. I know that my beauty lies inside my frame. I know that my husband can take the reigns. And we can all help one another through emotional pains. I know that it truly takes a team to rip apart cancer at the seams. I know that sharing is my best way to make it and be grateful for each beautiful day. I know my doctors and team are the best to take on this visitor in my breast. I know that the side effects have to go on in order to get the cancer gone. I know that my friends, family, and more will drop everything to be at my door. I know that this thing that might seem life-messing is oddly bringing me goodness and blessings. I now know that a diagnosis can’t steal my smile. And I hope upon hopes I’ll be around for awhile. I know I can always sit and pray when I feel I can’t handle the hardest of days. The worry, the fear, and all the unknowns, I now know I don’t have to face alone.
I’ve learned that each and every day is a beautiful thing and no one knows what any will bring. So now I can see so much I couldn’t before when I started this journey and fell deep to the floor. I will laugh. I will smile. I will have good and bad days. My Mister and I will take whatever comes our way. I will dance. I will write. I will tell people how I feel. I will love. I will thrive. I will always be real.
But the most important thing I didn’t know the day of my first test and the thing that has changed and is the best of the best…
I now can say that I believe there will be… a me that is me but cancer-free.
If you’re just starting your journey and you feel terrified. If you’re certain it’s everywhere and that you will die. If you are going through tests and are waiting to hear the words “malignant” or “you’re in the clear.” If you are scared, and sad, and feel so alone… and never pictured this is how your life would go… I’ve been where you are… I’ve sat in your seat… I’ve taken the tests… and felt defeat. I’ve received call after call that were all bad news. I’ve felt broken inside and emotionally bruised.
It gets better from the place you’re in… the sky will look clear and brighter again. You will wake up each day, you will get out of bed. You will first go through the motions and then one day, instead… you will find yourself kicking it, rocking it, thriving. And you will realize even before it’s even gone, you’re surviving.
You can do this, survivor. I believe in you. You may have cancer. But it can’t have you.