These are the things I need to say so they stop swirling around in my head.
Maybe one day I’ll find the courage to let go, truly let go, of what I cannot change. I don’t think this week is that day, though.
Earlier this week, I heard someone say that people with cancer shouldn’t expect to do anything but die from it. It’s a terminal, fatal disease. They should accept their fate.
My mouth dropped. I couldn’t help but exclaiming, “Hey!” because I’m a person with cancer, and I hope, everyday, mine is not terminal. I hope everyday I live long enough to see S and AJ grow up. I hope everyday this becomes a memory instead of a companion.
I see stories everyday of women with breast cancer who had early stage and went Stage 4. I see stories everyday about someone being diagnosed with cancer, someone fighting cancer, someone dying from cancer.
I can’t accept this is my end. If I have to, I guess I will, but right now, I can’t accept that this is how I go…which leads to the next thing I need to get out of my head.
I can’t stop the cancer from returning. If it comes back, it comes back. Yes, there are lifestyle changes I can, and am or have, made. I never smoked. I watched my grandfather die of lung cancer from smoking. I was eight. I swore I would never smoke. So, I don’t. I did drink some, but I don’t anymore. That’s something simple for me to give up, so I gave it up. It’s not like I drank a lot or often. I didn’t. Now, I just don’t. It’s not worth the risk. I eat a little better. I need to work, a lot, on this area, but I do eat better. I still need to lose another thirty pounds on top of the thirty I lost last year. The weight isn’t coming off as easily as it did, but that’s because I don’t exercise the way I should. That’s another change I need to make. I need to exercise. Now that we’re in our new house, I have no excuse. We live on the lake. I love being around water. There’s no excuse for me not to make the trek from our house to the lake and back…except snakes, but even that might not be a bad thing. Sighting a snake would definitely make me start running. I don’t drink nearly the amount of soda I once drank. I drank upwards of 5 Coca Colas a day. Now, on a bad day, I might drink two Dr. Peppers. And, God, how I beat myself up when I slip and drink a soda.
My headgame is both better and worse. The election did a number on my headgame. Whether you agree with me or not, whether you like me saying this or not, I still cannot help but feel my family and friends who voted for the president-elect cast a vote against my life. My struggles over the last year and a half didn’t mean enough to them to think about what a vote for him could do to me. Or, worse, they did think about it and did it anyway. Thanksgiving has the potential to be very uneasy for me. My father in law voted for the president-elect. If politics comes up, I won’t be quiet. I can’t be. I matter. My feelings matter.
I can’t control the cancer, whether it stays gone, whether it comes back, whether it’s already back and I just don’t know it. I can’t control people who say ridiculous things about cancer. And, knowing that, my headgame is better. Saying this, getting this off my chest, like I had my cancerous breast and its guilty-by-association partner breast, helps some.
Writing has always been my outlet, even when it’s not easy, even why it hurts me or someone else. Writing is my outlet. Writing is what I do. Writing heals me. If time can’t heal me, maybe writing can. Maybe writing will.