I have cancer.
That’s such a simple sentence.
Direct and to the point.
The reality of the diagnosis is not so simple.
The reality is complicated and frustrating.
It is overthinking every small symptom and hoping it has a simple reason for being. It is praying that this isn’t connected to the bigger war my body is fighting.
It is blood draws and hospital gowns.
It is research protocols, and government health studies – because even if they can’t help me, I hope that what they find will help someone else.
It’s an endless barrage of MRI’s, Pet scans, CT scans, ultrasounds, X-rays, and a whole host of other tests that they see fit.
It is knowing I light up the screen like a Christmas tree and seeing the look of pity in the rad tech’s face as she assists you.
It is all about the hurry up and wait.
It is seeing the side of people who have lost touch with their humanity – having forgotten that I am not sitting in this hospital for the fun of it.
It’s seeing those who still haven’t lost that humanity and who do all in their power to make me comfortable.
It is hoping for a ‘no change’ since last visit because stability is the only hope there is.
It’s weeks of anxiety waiting for the results.
It’s not telling my friends and coworkers because I once read a quote from Lou Holtz that said,
“Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.”
It’s knowing that at least one person out there is glad I have this problem.
It’s knowing what my ending will be like because I’ve seen it happen to so many that I love. Watched them wither away in hospital beds until the disease overcame everything that they once were.
It’s knowing that I’ve attended more funerals than weddings or birthdays.
The reality is pretending this isn’t my reality until I absolutely must.
It’s going about my days as if nothing is wrong. Getting out of bed and living my life because that is the only option I have.
It’s fighting my depression because the only thing worse than letting my body fail me is to let my mind fail me first.
It’s also giving in to my depression, because sometimes there is comfort in the darkness.
It’s fighting for who I am and what I stand for.
It’s the constant and never-ending struggle to come out on top.
I may have cancer, but that does not define who I am.
I am more than my diagnosis.
I am more than my prognosis.
I am more than this.