You have cancer. Breast C-A-N-C-E-R. Words you never thought YOU would hear. It is something that YOU only hear of other people having. This time though, it was me. I have cancer. I don’t care to give cancer, nor the type of cancer I have, capital letters like you may sometimes see – Breast Cancer – because I feel that it gives the words too much power. Too much recognition. Too much control. And while they are words that carry a lot of power, recognition, and control, for me they are just words. They do have a meaning and a strong one at that, .but I’m stronger.
In life you are given hundreds of choices each day. To go to work, to not go to work. To greet the person you see on the street, or to not. To hold open the door for someone, let them get it themselves. Pick up the phone when your grandmother calls, silence it and call her back when you’re finished watching that IG story. And while those things seem like no brainers and yes we SHOULD do each of them in the ‘to’ tense verses ‘to not’, there are many other choices we make each day too. Right there in our own minds. About our own selves. About our own response. About our own life.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer it certainly wasn’t a good day, but it wasn’t the worst day either. Looking back on it, the worst day would have been when I was told I wasn’t going to live. That would have been the worst day. Now mind you, there were many more bad days after that day and there are still bad days to come. But without the bad we wouldn’t have the good. And you learn to appreciate that when you’ve been through such a thing as cancer. It limits you due to the treatments, procedures, and appointments from tickling your kids because you’re too fatigued, or making pancakes with your daughter because you can’t stand the smell of food, or wash clothes because you don’t have the energy. It limits you. It traps you. And it changes you.
Once you have experienced it you don’t go back. You don’t go back to who you once were. You show compassion to someone else that’s been diagnosed because you know what it is like. Once you have cancer, you do the simpler things in life. You smile when that car let’s you walk in front of them at the four way stop. You help that person who has their hands full but can’t get the door open. You speak nicely to someone when you see that they are having a bad day. Even when they aren’t, you speak nicely. You treat people with respect. You help others. You hug someone if it is needed. Or heck, just hug someone. When you have cancer, you look it in the eye and you don’t blink. You show it who’s boss. You show it that it won’t own you. You take it and you kick it, spit on it, crush it, and throw it as far as you can. And if it comes back, you do it all again because you, you are worth it. I am worth it.
You cannot control the world. You cannot control getting cancer but you can control you and how you approach it. You are here today. You are alive. You are breathing. Live the life you want to live. Life is too short. It is too fragile. This is your life. Now live it.