I’ve been struggling emotionally as of lately. I have made friends in the cancer community, and some of them have had their cancer come back recently. When you see someone go through cancer multiple times, it’s a silent reminder of what your future may look like and it’s hard to not get sucked into a dark place when it comes to mind.
A friend of mine’s mom was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. When I saw the post, I sat down and wrote out a card for her mom. I’ve never met her mom, but I wanted her to know she isn’t alone. Cancer is so fucking lonely. I wanted her to know everything I wish someone would have whispered to me. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to ask questions. I had to navigate through emotions and information and pamphlets on my own, all while trying to keep my shit together because I didn’t want anyone to know I was sick. It was so fucking hard. All I wanted last Fall, was for someone to look me in the eyes and say “this isn’t you’re fault.” I didn’t hear those words until months later in a doctors officer.
Today a client asked me how she could reach out to her friend who lives out of town and is going through breast cancer. She said she “didn’t want to annoy her, but is genuinely concerned and would like to check in on her”. Can you guess my response? I said “send her funny memes, trust me, it’s magic”. She laughed at that response. I told her every Thursday is my chemo day, and my friends automatically flood my phone with memes now. It may seem small, but laughing is the best thing you can do with someone who is fighting for their life. I also shared with her that I understand where she’s coming from. A few years ago, I had a good friend’s dad pass away from cancer. I’m not a very emotional person, and to be blunt, I suck at showing empathy. I think a couple months into treatment, I sent her a text apologizing for not being more understanding. I told her I wish I would have been more supportive or listened better. Cancer is teaching me a lot, whether I wanted the lesson or not.
I hope that the people that had word vomit with me, will also choose to be more open to learning. To the person that asked if I’m going to hurry up and get pregnant, or the person that asked if I was afraid my boyfriend would leave me, or the person that joked about the free boob job I’ll be getting, I hope you read these blog entries and choose to learn. There’s no need for an apology or some defensive story about why you had the word vomit, or why you ghosted your friend during their cancer treatment because you were afraid. Instead look at this as an opportunity to grow and do better and learn from the situation.