A funny thing happened on the way to stage IV. Back in 2011, when I was dealing with a fairly contained case of the breast cancer (minus, of course, infected lymph nodes and a larger than comfortable mass), I faced that challenge as if it were a limited period of time, after which cancer would be in my rear view mirror…permanently.
The Universe had other plans though and now I am chronic. I won’t say terminal although I think about it that way sometimes (Probably best to shift that mindset eventually).
When everything started, I resisted support groups – actually I went to a couple and never went back. I turned away opportunities to talk about what was going on…when I was bald, a woman came up to me at a Starbucks, and asked about treatment. Granted it was not the most appropriate way to approach a stranger but, looking back, she was probably trying to forge sisterhood with someone who understood.
In those days, talking about cancer with people who had cancer was not uplifting. Every time I connected with someone who was going through something similar, it felt like I was connecting with the disease. And, my God, I wanted to be normal.
Now I feel less normal or, at least, like I have to shift my concept of normal. I used to forget I had cancer for long stretches of time and now it’s most of what I think about. My guess is I’m still in shock. It’s been 6 months since I found out about the recurrence and I’ve been surfing the waves of grief for all that time, hitting everything from denial, anger, bargaining, depression…so now I’m ready for a little acceptance. The hope is that writing this blog will assist in that shift.
EverythingLeadsToThis already symbolizes a significant change from the first time around…I’m writing about cancer and my experience. I’m talking about this thing I didn’t want to talk about, which means I am now open to finding a sense of community. In fact, it’s something I’d like to find. And as much as I don’t want to want that, there it is.