This piece is based on personal experiences and stories that I have heard. Cancer is a topic that I’ve been dealing with for a long time now, and something I feel very strongly about. Break the taboo and talk about your experiences. Take the necessary measures to get yourself checked.
That’s the first step in bringing down this monster.
There is so much that I could say about this, but where would I start?
I remember that day clearly. Getting the news, not knowing what to do. Not knowing who to turn to or where/(when) life was going to end. Finding out that you had the one disease you were afraid of because you had seen it bring the pillars of your life down to their knees.
That would be a sliver of what I had been feeling at that time.
Cancer has been something I’ve dealt with in my life for such a long time. Seeing my mother go through her personal journey, seeing how it affected my family. Developing an irrational, almost child-like fear of hospitals and diagnoses.
Having that fear being replayed in the exact way I had hoped it would never have.
And the worst part of it was knowing why exactly this had happened.
Knowing that this was one journey that I had to go through alone.
In retrospect, I couldn’t tell you how I survived those few months.
There were so many other things going on in my life at that time. A heart break, an ailing parent. Work. Responsibilities. Carrying this massive burden and a body ridden with a disease you wished you could just scrape out from underneath your skin.
Trudging through treatments, trudging through lies. One lie after another to explain the weight loss, the tiredness, the lack of sleep, the constant heart ache.
I won’t go into the details, because they’re a dark, messy blur of early mornings, tears and physical pain.
It helped that I’d seen my mother fight this monster.
Fight, fight, fight.
Chemotherapy sessions that used to leave her so weak, and yet, she’d soldier on. One lost strand of hair at a time.
It helped that I’d taken care of my aunt through days of bedridden ailments, where she couldn’t move from the lethargy.
Fight, fight, fight.
Even if it was just to leave her bed to get a glass of water.
It helped that I’d seen these women cry, wipe their tears, stand up, and go through the process again.
I’d seen their hair grow back, their smiles light their faces.
I knew there would be hope at the end of this perilous journey, no matter how hard it was to see it when you felt like that there was no way out.
Even if hope meant leaving this diseased body and moving on to another Life.
Trapped in a weak body, and a weaker mind. Maybe that was the toughest fight of all. Toughest fight yet. A fight I still struggle with today.
Today, I’m writing this to you. This may be my story, and yours, and yours over there as well. It’s a story of a daily struggle that few care to remember, because it’s mostly a battle that happens within. It happened to my mother, it happened to me, it could very well happen to a 14 year old girl next.
It could happen to your sister, your wife, or your grand daughter.
Before it gets any worse, before it starts to bring you and your family down, take the necessary precautions.
Are you the lady who’s rescheduled her mammogram for the 4th time? Stop procrastinating and do it now. It could very well save your life. Are you the girl who’s trying to figure out if she should go on the pill? Make sure you know what the side effects are and how they could affect your health. Are you the wife who’s been feeling pain in certain parts of your chest and just brushing it aside? Go see your personal physician and do the necessary tests.
If you’ve been through this journey, or if you’re struggling through it as so many of us are, find us. Find a community and know that you’re not struggling on your own. It is a battle, but it is a battle that can be won.With a strong mind, and a stronger heart. With hands to hold, and words to encourage you when you’re drowning in despair. Write your experience, share your journey. Give words of advice or wisdom or cry out your sorrow to someone who is willing to listen.
Don’t ever forget that you’re not alone.
Look at Cancer in the eye, and say, Hello.
You are not going to get the better of me.