Over the last few days, I have opened my computer excitedly with thousands of thoughts that I wanted to bring to life through my words. Each time I looked at a blank page, paired with the blinking cursor, the thoughts were swirling through my head, but I’ve failed to be able to commit to the words that usually come so easily to me. It’s been a week and a half since I was told that my cancer has departed, for now. Within each second of every day, I have been trying to wrap my head around what this means and how I will move forward with my life, a life that will now be of quality, which was the goal all along. They say that pigeons swiftly acquaint the pushing of a lever with reaping a reward. With that, the pigeons continue to push the lever and every 30 seconds receive the reward of food, leaving the pigeons to wonder what they have done to be worthy of the gift. I am like the pigeon. What did I do to be rewarded this second chance at life; remission?
Often times when you are in the middle of a battle, whether it is war, a natural disaster, a violent attack or other life-threatening events, you become so focused on fighting back that you don’t take the time to also tend to the mental struggles that the battle brings forth. For almost a year, I had a specific map to which I had to follow in order to finish the race. Each step was pertinent to my recovery and my concentration was specifically on the cancer, my tumors and working tirelessly to physically rid my body of this ugly disease. Undeniably, I put my fists up and thrived to oppose my reality as a cancer patient, yet I aborted the fact that there were mental struggles that needed to be worked out as well.
During my last stint in the hospital, shortly after I found out about my “remission”, my Doctor felt it necessary to have a heart to heart. Having gone through this journey and trusting her with my life, I was open to anything she had to say. As she cleared her throat, she proceeded to praise me for being strong through all of the events that had taken place in the last several months, but then ensued to advise me that although I had been compliant with showing up to appointments, foregoing with all of my MRIs and scans, as well as chemotherapy, I was non-compliant when it came to dealing with the psychological aspects of cancer. The Doctor reminded me that it is nearly impossible to go through such a harrowing event and come out unscathed. Initially I was cross about her uprightness. In my mind, I was an A+ cancer patient and assumed that because I wasn’t seeking help, it meant that I was handling and managing my diagnosis like a champ. After all, I had a wonderful support system, the best family and friends and my blog, which allowed me to write my feelings and connect with so many others in a similar situation. What I didn’t realize was that once the appointments, chemo sessions and anything cancer related ended, I would find myself in a pool of psychological problems.
Nearly every day since I have been advised of my disease free state, I have failed to feel the happiness that I had expected to feel upon achieving this type of news. Suddenly, I felt as though I was dropped off on an Island, somewhere in the middle of the deep blue sea and rescue was nowhere in sight. Every time I had these feelings of gloom, it would immediately be followed up by a surmounting level of guilt; here I am, now in a temporary remission and fortunate enough to get back to life and I was feeling unsatisfied. What kind of ungrateful person must I be? I asked myself over and over again.
As the weekend approached, Steve had setup a get together with all of my friends to celebrate my new found freedom from cancer and an overall celebration of life; he called it Remission Celebration. I had been looking forward to a night out with all of my wonderful friends and supporters in one place and through my cloudy thoughts of the week leading up to it, the thought of the celebration kept me together. Arriving at the destination for the celebration, I became eager to kick off my heels and have a perfect night. The bar was packed and as I looked through the crowd, most of the people were there for me. I was in awe of how many wonderful, supportive people I had in my corner and suddenly it all made sense. It may not be clear as to why I was given this second chance, but I will gladly accept the reward.
In the meantime, I realize that I have a lot of healing to do and seeking out help does not make you weak. It is my goal to get busy living. I may not be the person that I was prior to my diagnosis and I doubt I will ever be that person again, for I have transformed in so many ways, but just the same I want to enjoy every second that this life has to offer. Through some heavy soul searching and self-acceptance, I am certain that I will find my purpose and the reason why I have been given the wonderful opportunity to be ALIVE.
Thank you again to all of my incredible friends who helped me to celebrate my great news, as well as my family for being endless backers. I will continue to keep the blog updated with my thoughts and happenings. Cheers, loves!